Local attorney remembered for his integrity

·4 min read

Dec. 17—LENOIR

Robert J. "Bob" Robbins, Jr. is fondly remembered by all who knew him as a smart, thoughtful lawyer. However, few people were aware Robbins had died on Nov. 24th. He died peacefully, surrounded by family at his bedside, according to his obituary.

Robbins, 71, suffered a stroke a few years ago, and shortly thereafter was involved in a car accident. Due to his failing health, he was forced to retire. His wife, Susan M. Robbins, began taking care of him, and she continually updated his associates about his physical health and well-being.

Sadly, Susan passed away on Aug. 13th, just a couple months before her husband.

Bob Robbins began operating as an attorney in Caldwell County in the late 1970s. Those who worked with him remember him as an intelligent, discerning, and fair lawyer who kept his client's best interests at heart.

"I always enjoyed being in cases with him," said Joseph Delk IV, currently a lawyer at Delk 4 Law in Lenoir. "He was easy to work with and laid back, but when needed, he was a fierce advocate and a hell of a lawyer. The one thing I remember most about him: every morning, coming into the courthouse, he 'had' to buy a pack of Famous Amos cookies from the courthouse vending machine and have a cup of coffee before he would talk to anyone about any case. It was his daily habit and we often teased him about it, but it was seemingly his way of getting into the right frame of mind to prosecute cases and defend those in need."

Joseph Delk IV's father, Joe Delk III, had worked closely with Robbins as a law partner. According to Delk IV, Robbins started in the district attorney's office, specializing in sex offenses and other serious crimes. Later, he moved into private practice working on similar cases.

Regina Reid, a retired paralegal, remembers Robbins as a clever and caring lawyer.

"Bob was very intelligent," Reid said. "Super to work for, all around good person. A fun-loving guy."

Reid met Robbins at the office of Beverly T. Beal in the late 1970s. Later, she worked with Robbins when he created his own private practice in the early 1980s. Then, in 1989, Robbins joined the law firm Flaherty, Robbins, Swanson, and Hartshorn. Reid worked with Robbins in various offices until 2003. She retired in 2019.

Jennifer Mathews currently works at the DA's office, and she remembers Robbins helping her transition into her new position in the county. She moved from a district court position in another county to the superior court in Caldwell County. Her first three jury trials in Caldwell County were with Robbins.

"He was a good advocate and came up with sensible solutions. He was very decisive and wise about his cases," Mathews said. "He definitely helped welcome me into superior court. I learned a lot very quickly, trial by fire, but he was fair about it."

After his stroke, "the bar reached out to check on him, send him cards," Mathews continued, "so folks definitely thought well of him and kept him in mind after his accident."

Retired Superior Court Judge Beverly T. Beal recalls Robbins as a skilled attorney who argued well for his clients. Beal had worked with Robbins since the late 1970s and retired in December 2012.

"Bob was very cerebral," said Beal. "He was good and he was fair, a man of high integrity. He had a little bit of an usual schedule: you'd find him working late at night, but he would not be the first person in the office in the morning. I miss him. He was always good to be around; he really was an asset to our community."

According to his obituary, Robbins was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Patricia Robbins; his wife, Susan M. Robbins; and his step-son, Monty White. Robbins is survived by his sister, Roxanne Robbins; daughter, Kimberly Robbins; step-daughter, Stephanie Isenhour, and her husband, Matt Isenhour; step-son, Jason White, and his wife, Cindi White; grandchildren Monica Freeman, Hailey Rostan, Katie Green, Courtney Shell, Gracie White, and Tristin White; and a great-grandchild, Beckham Shell.

Bob Robbin's memorial service is today, Dec. 18th, at 10 a.m. at the Bass-Smith Funeral Home, 334 2nd St. NW in Hickory, with the Rev. Paul Scott, Big Springs Baptist Church, officiating.

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