10/22/1935 – 05/20/2023
Peter Thacher Robinson was born on October 22, 1935, to Dr. Miles Hadley Robinson and Ruth Ann Johlin Robinson. He grew up on a small farm in Walla Walla, Washington which inspired him to eventually devote his life to farming. Peter was also inspired by one of The Wright brothers, Orville Wright, who he met as a young boy. Like Orville Wright, Peter desired to invent something that would enter him into the world’s memory forever.
As a young boy, it became apparent that Peter was brilliant. Before graduating from high school, he entered Stanford University at the age of sixteen. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, Peter worked at Motorola in Phoenix, Arizona. There he ran his own lab and earned five patents, including one contributing to the invention of transistors. He was an intrepid dreamer. He spent his entire life developing inventions of all sorts to better planet earth. Among other inventions, he invented a way to sequester carbon with the hope of contributing to the effort to curb global warming. He sent his patent ideas to President Obama, President Biden, and Elon Musk. Peter’s penchant and passion for developing patents lasted his entire life.
In 1970, Peter decided to fulfil his dream of being a farmer by leaving Motorola and purchasing a 115-acre ranch in Northern Arizona, that he named Rancho Verde. On the farm, Peter did everything. He was a jack of all trades. He completely rebuilt the ranch house with his own hands, having his daughters carry the main beam through the house. He acted as the vet for his cows, horses, goats, pigs, dogs, and chickens. He attended the birth of calves; planted and harvested rye and wheat as well as alfalfa for hay bales; cured corned beef for the Arcosanti fair and raised organic beef that he distributed to various restaurants in Tempe, Arizona. He also ground whole grain wheat and rye to bake bread; dug a well; replaced huge tractor tires; set up milking machines for his cows and protected his farm from the encroaching Verde River. Peter was a renaissance man for sure.
In 1980, Peter moved to Tucson, Arizona and founded Robinson Engineering. Under that umbrella, he fixed refrigeration equipment at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and various grocery stores, restaurants, and trains.
As a loving father, he desired to provide for his children and give them the opportunity to have a good education. He believed that an education was paramount. His love for his children also led him to be the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and to give his children chocolate filled velvet Valentine hearts.
Peter was predeceased by his first wife, Marion Winn Robinson and his son, Peter Thacher Robinson, Jr. He is survived by his two brothers, James Johlin Robinson and Hadley Robinson; his subsequent seven wives; his three daughters: Ruth Lindsey, Rachael Marion Lee (David Stuart Lee), Chrissie Seals (Robert Seals, Jr), six grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. Peter passed away on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at the age of 87. He is truly loved by his family and is greatly miss.