Flora Robinson, one of Elizabeth City’s oldest citizens and a longtime contributor to the city’s religious and cultural life, died Wednesday at age 106.
Harriett Hornthal said she appreciated Robinson’s dedication to Christ Episcopal Church.
“She was such a gracious lady and she was a pillar of the Episcopal Church,” Hornthal said.
Anyone who needed information about the church or the history of Elizabeth City — including details such as previous names that streets were known by and the histories of local families — could always get answers from Robinson, she said.
“She is going to be greatly missed,” Hornthal said. “She was there for whatever was needed.”
Hornthal said Robinson prepared and served meals at the church when that was needed, scrubbed floors at the church and did anything else that needed to be done.
“She was wherever there was something going on where she could contribute,” Hornthal said. “No job was too big or too little.”
Robinson also knew everybody in the community, Hornthal said.
“Her memory was wonderful,” she said.
Don Pendergraft, director of regional museums for the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, said Robinson was a longtime supporter of museum programs.
“Mrs. Flora was gracious to all with a keen sense of humor,” he said. “She was a great supporter, in fact a charter and founding member of the museum.”
Pendergraft recalled one event in particular that showcased Robinson’s depth of commitment to the museum and its projects.
“In the early days of PBS’ Antique Roadshow, the Friends Of the Museum sponsored a lecture by an appraiser from the show,” Pendergraft recalled. “He spoke to our members about his role on the show and importance of Colonial furniture from northeastern North Carolina. After the presentation the group was invited to Mrs. Flora’s house for a social hour. She was on point and the most gracious host. She was a wealth of knowledge and hospitality.”
Robinson lived in the large white house on Main Street across the street from the Pasquotank County Courthouse. Because of social distancing restrictions, friends gave her a drive-by birthday parade there in September on her 106th birthday.
Jim McGee, an Episcopal priest and Elizabeth City native, mentioned Robinson’s love for the church and dedication to its programs and ministries.
“At Christ Church she has been an institution for many, many years,” McGee said. “She was always there. She was a faithful worshiper. She was such a sweet lady and just a friend to everybody and always ready to help.”
Robinson’s son, Charlie Robinson, said Nags Head was always an important part of his mother’s life. She took her first step at Nags Head in 1915, he said, noting there wasn’t much down there at that time.
But her family spent summers at the Outer Banks community as she was growing up, and the tradition continued as both he and his brother were growing up, he said.
Flora Robinson went to school in Elizabeth City and then attended St. Mary’s College in Raleigh and later the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her son noted there were very few women who attended UNC at that time and they had to transfer in from other colleges.
Flora Robinson was interested in the museum, served on a number of boards and foundations in the community, and also did a lot of work behind the scenes, her son said.
“She didn’t want people to know that she was responsible (for many of her contributions),” he said. “No plaque and that sort of thing.”
He said she always supported him and his brother in basketball, Boy Scouts and other endeavors, and also insisted that they finish their school work before playing sports.
“She was a great mom,” he said.
In the interest of safety, Robinson’s family is planning a private service. In lieu of flowers and in remembrance of her life, the family asks that memorial donations be made to Christ Episcopal Church, 200 South McMorrine St., Elizabeth City, NC 27909; Albemarle Home Care and Hospice, 1507 North Road St., Suite 2, Elizabeth City, NC 27909; or the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina, 102 Enterprise Drive, Elizabeth City, NC 27909.
Twiford Funeral Home’s Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.