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Raymond B. Robins

1921 - 2016

Raymond B. Robins, a much beloved husband, father, and grandfather died peacefully on November 19, 2016. Loyal, compassionate, and curious, Ray was a man of integrity. People were drawn to him; he liked to hear their stories and tell his own. In 2006, he published a memoir entitled My Stories, a series of vignettes. His relatives and loved ones frequently described him as their “second dad” and “favorite uncle.” He was deeply loved and will be missed by his family and friends.

Ray was born January 12, 1921, in Detroit, Michigan to Louis and Ida Robins. Growing up he enjoyed the affections of his three older sisters Sally (Jaffe), Marian (Lebowitz), and Sylvia (Goode). He graduated from Detroit Central High School, where he was the newspaper’s news editor, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, where he earned his DDS in the summer of 1944.

After graduating, Ray opened his first practice in Willow Run Village, a town founded to house workers brought to the area to build B-24 bombers during World War II. His father hired an Italian artisan to paint Ray’s name in gold letters on his first office door. Ray practiced dentistry in the Detroit area for forty years.

Ray met Barbara, his wife and cherished partner, at the annual convention of Alpha Omega, an international dental fraternity, which was held in Detroit in December of 1946. They married in 1948. Their daughter, Nancy, was born the next year. Ray and Barbara were married a remarkable 68 years. As a couple, they enjoyed a rare marital contentment, and exuded love and affection for each other.

While in dental school, Ray was drafted into the Army Specialized Training Program. Accordingly, in February of 1952, Ray went to the Far East to serve as a captain in the Dental Corps of the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He returned in April of 1953. Their son, James (Max), was born a year later.

In 1976, Ray and Barbara moved, initially part time, to Santa Barbara, where they made many new friends and embraced the city’s business and cultural life. A savvy negotiator, Ray enjoyed a second career in commercial real estate development with his late partners, Marty Gilbar and Andy Dunn. Together the trio formed the Rametto Company. Ray supported the Music Academy of the West, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Film Festival, where he was an early board member, the Santa Barbara Community College Library, the Parkinson’s Association of Santa Barbara, and UCSB Arts and Lectures. He also took great joy in supporting college students.

Ray was a sports enthusiast. He was a lifelong Detroit Tigers and University of Michigan fan. (Go Blue!) For many decades he played tennis with fellow Santa Barbarans who called themselves the “MUTS,” which stood for municipal unemployed tennis seniors. Until two weeks before he died, he was a Pilates devotee.

Ray was predeceased by his parents and three sisters. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; children, James (Max) Robins and Nancy Robins; son-in-law Scott Tevis; grandchildren Maria, Jack, and Grace Robins-Somerville, and Britt Tevis; treasured house manager Elida Mata; and many nieces, nephews, and loving friends. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the charity of your choice.

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