William C. “Bill” Robbins

William C. “Bill” Robbins

William C. “Bill” Robbins, 84, of Madison, died August 5, 2012 at home. Born in Kenosha, Wis., on Oct. 19, 1927, he was the son of Violet & Willard Robbins. He volunteered to join the U.S. Army in 1945 at the age of 17 and served in Italy, Austria and Germany. He was discharged as a first lieutenant.

He enjoyed a newspaper career of 45 years at the Wisconsin State Journal and Madison Newspapers, starting while a student at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Over the years, he was a reporter for all areas of the paper. He was named editorial page editor in 1962, managing editor in 1967 and executive editor in 1975. In 1967, he attended Stanford University on a Ford Foundation Fellowship.

In 1990, he became promotions and community relations director of Madison Newspapers. He appreciated the critical role of newspapers in American society and was editor of books of famous front pages during the history of both the State Journal and The Capital Times.

He enjoyed supporting many community organizations. His favorites were the Vilas Park Zoo, the Crazylegs Classic Run & Walk, and Jerry’s Race Against Muscular Dystrophy. He served on the board of the Henry Vilas Park Zoo, helping start Halloween at the Zoo.

He enjoyed working for the Empty Stocking Club and Youth Services, Inc., the State Journal’s charity for needy children, serving on its board of directors and board president. In 1999, he was named Volunteer Fund-Raiser of the Year by the Madison National Chapter of Fund Raising Executives.

He was a long-time member of the Madison Downtown Rotary Club, serving 30years as program chairman. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow five times and awarded the Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Service Award, the club’s highest recognition for outstanding service.

Survivors include his wife, Martha Ann; two daughters, Julie (Gary) Larsen, Peshtigo, and Peggy Robbins, Madison; son, Brian Robbins, Madison; and
grandsons, Nate and Matt Larsen, Peshtigo; and his sister, Mrs. Joyce Haertel, Racine.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Empty Stocking Club, Madison Rotary Foundation or Vilas Park Zoological Society.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 405 S. Owen Dr., Madison, on Friday, August 10, 2011, at 11:30 a.m. with Msgr. Kenneth J. Fiedler presiding. Interment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. A visitation will be held at church from 10:00 a.m. until time of the mass.