Cover photo for Ralph Leroy Robinson, Jr.'s Obituary
Ralph Leroy Robinson, Jr. Profile Photo

Ralph Leroy Robinson, Jr.

February 20, 1941 — June 1, 2023

Ralph Leroy Robinson, Jr.

Ralph L. Robinson, Jr., passed away peacefully on June 1, 2023 at the age of 82. He was born on February 20, 1941 in Livonia, Michigan to Ralph L. Robinson and Irene R. (née Hurkett) Robinson. He was the youngest of four children.

A graduate of Bentley High School, Class of '59, he met the love of his life, Laurie Ann Dondzila, on a blind date.  They married on August 26, 1961 and recently celebrated their 61st anniversary.

Ralph's boyhood passions for car racing and RC airplane models propelled him towards a career in the automotive industry beginning work at Ford Motor Company in 1966. He received his degree from Lawrence Institute of Technology. As an Advanced Electrical Design Engineer, Ralph's contributions to Ford's EEC (Electronic Engine Control) project gained international recognition, affording him and Laurie a chance to see the world while sharing his team's work. After retiring from Ford, he served as a technical consultant at U of M Transportation Research Institute with Michigan DOT.

He was a skilled handyman (his father was a builder) who fulfilled a lifelong dream when he built his and Laurie's dream home on beautiful wooded acreage just west of Plymouth in Salem Township, working tirelessly after work and on weekends with the help of Laurie's brother, Joseph Dondzila, to construct the home with his own two hands.

In retirement, Ralph enjoyed summering at Sandy Pines Campground in Western Michigan, where he and Laurie, along with their dog "Cookie", spent many leisurely days cruising the lake on their pontoon boat with family and friends. He enjoyed being socially active, attending family events, and bonding with others over shared interests. He golfed regularly, often hitting the links with his co-workers in the company league or enjoying a round with his wife and sons. Come Saturday nights, Ralph could often be found shooting pool or playing board games and cards with his sister-in-law, Judy (Dondzila) Borieo, and her husband, Eugene Borieo.

He also enjoyed supporting his sons' creative ventures. He was proud to help his eldest son, Rob, and daughter-in-law, Debra, in their film company in Los Angeles, while also assisting his youngest son, Jeff, in his award-winning craft brewery, Third Monk Brewing Company. Ralph delighted in serving as the brewery's quality control tester.

Ralph was a good listener who was always interested in the welfare of those around him. Despite his struggle with Parkinson's in his final years, Ralph remained affable and inquisitive, and his spirit and ability to laugh were never dampened. He will be missed dearly by everyone he touched.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Laurie Ann Robinson, his sons, Ralph L. (Rob) Robinson, III (Debra) and Jeffrey S. (Jeff) Robinson, sister in-law Judy (Eugene) Borieo, brothers in-law Joseph Dondzila and Ronald (Kathy) Dondzila, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Laurie's parents, his sister, Arlene (Robinson) McKeon and her husband Stephen,  as well as his half-brother, Edward Robinson and his wife Eleanor, half-sister, Mary Robinson and brother in-law Walter Dondzila.

Visitation with family at the Schrader-Howell Funeral Home, located at 280 South Main Street, Plymouth, Michigan on Saturday, June 10 from 3pm to 7pm and Sunday, June 11 from noon to 3pm with a Celebration of Life immediately after.

There will be a private Burial at Riverside Cemetery on Monday.

For those who wish to honor Ralph's memory, please consider making a contribution to the Michigan Parkinson Foundation, 30400 Telegraph Rd #150, Bingham Farms, MI 48025 or online at Michigan Parkinson Foundation

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, P.O. Box 5014 Hagerstown, MD 21741 or online at Michael J. Fox Parkinson Foundation or the charity of your choice.

Contribution envelopes will be available at the Funeral Home.

 

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ralph Leroy Robinson, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, June 10, 2023

3:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Schrader-Howell Funeral Home

280 S. Main St, Plymouth, MI 48170

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Sunday, June 11, 2023

12:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Schrader-Howell Funeral Home

280 S. Main St, Plymouth, MI 48170

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Schrader-Howell Funeral Home

280 S. Main St, Plymouth, MI 48170

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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