In their 71 years of marriage, Randy and Carolyn Robison lived in more than 40 different places and visited all 50 states. They saw much of the world during Robison's 30 years as a military officer. They saw much of the United States from behind the wheel of an Oldsmobile.
"They drove their Oldsmobile Cutlass from Florida to Alaska, and another trip from Florida to Mexico," said Jim Robison, their son. "Mom would pack water, peanut butter, apples and bread. No jelly."
Their road trips across America would often last four to six weeks at a time, documented by the postcards Carolyn sent back home to relatives. Orlando became their home base for adventure.
Their homes in Orlando would be decorated with artwork from their travels abroad: the Alps, Paris, Berlin. Carolyn's dinner settings and silverware would be imported, subversively, from places they lived or visited overseas. She didn't like paying import duty taxes.
"Oh, yeah, she was a smuggler," said Robison, 61, of Casselberry.
From the moment they met 75 years ago while Randy was studying engineering at the University of Florida and Carolyn majored in education at Florida State University, the Robisons were as much a team as a couple.
When Randy started building homes in Orlando, following his retirement as an Air Force colonel in 1966, he catered to retired military officers with help from his wife.
"He understood what retired military officers could afford and what their wives would want," Robison said. "Dad would build a house she [Carolyn] said she would live in."
So the homes built in the 1960s and early '70s by Randy Robison had large yards for the men and big kitchens for the women. And lots of closet space. That included the dream home he built for his wife in the Southern Oaks subdivision of Orlando.
"The entire hallway was lined with closets for all of Mom's stuff," Robison said.
As a couple, they complemented each other. Carolyn loved to entertain and Randy liked to stay home. He was an introvert, she was outgoing. She was exuberant, he was buttoned-down. A tall, slim man with blue eyes, Randy Robison dressed in khaki pants, long-sleeve blue shirts, and brown leather shoes. Never shorts, never sneakers, seldom jeans.
"He was a senior statesman. He didn't demand respect, but his position commanded it," said Randy Robison's nephew Jon Berry, 58, of Naples. "He was military, but with a kind touch and a caring heart."
Berry said his uncle wasn't a very talkative man, but when he spoke, people listened. The man was a wonderful storyteller. He regaled family members with tales of spending summers as a boy in the north Georgia mountains, sledding on a piece of cardboard downhill through the leaves and running over bottles left behind by bootleggers.
"He came from a family of gifted storytellers," Robison said.
In their travels together, Carolyn brought home souvenirs. Randy brought back stories.
During a lifetime together, if they weren't home, they were somewhere on the road, in a plane or on a cruise, sharing another adventure.
In addition to Jim, Randy Robison is survived by his son, George Robison of Austin, Texas; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Woodlawn Memorial Park & Funeral Home, Gotha, is handling arrangements.
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