NORFOLK—Palmer Robbins, a Christmas baby born December 24, 1921, left on his final voyage July 14, 2017, at Sentara Nursing Center, Norfolk. After an active 95 years and a short illness, his earthly body finally wore out.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jeanette; daughter, Judy; sister, Mary and brothers, Wallace, Raymond, John Jr. and Harry.
He is survived by his grandson, Derek Hoyt; son-in-law, Steve Hoyt; sister, Sara Douglas; brother, Meredith Robbins, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Born in White Stone, the son of John and Annie Robbins, he was the second oldest of eight children and a lifelong resident of Southeast Virginia.
In his early years, Palmer picked tomatoes and helped the watermen along the Rappahannock River, fishing and crabbing. At 16, he left home to follow his older brother, Raymond, on the Bay Line Steamers.
This started a lifelong career as a U. S. Merchant Marine, where he sailed on tankers at the start of World War II. His brother, Raymond, died when a German U-boat sank the tanker he was aboard.
Palmer’s mother made him promise to join the U.S. Coast Guard as a safer alternative. Once the war was over, he returned to the life of a Merchant Marine where he remained until 1959.
At that time, he took a job in the Marine Department at Southern Materials Corporation in Norfolk. There he remained for over 25 years until he retired. During his retirement, he continued to help family and friends for the remainder of his life.
He will be missed.
A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 20, at White Stone United Methodist Church Cemetery, White Stone, Va. Family will receive friends from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Currie Funeral Home, Kilmarnock.