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  • Writer's pictureJaya Koilpillai Bohlmann

Honoring a human rights advocate, a loving uncle, the epitome of leadership

“…life is not fair, but unending in its capacity to change us; …compassion is fair and feeling is just;…we are not responsible for all that befalls us, only for how we receive it and for how we hold each other up along the way.”   Mark Nepo

KOILPILLAI, Robinson Aged 92, of Edmonton, Alberta passed away peacefully at Saint Vincent’s Nursing Home, Halifax on April 27, 2016.

Born in Prakasapuram, India, Robinson’s first introduction to North America was in 1954 when he studied in the US under a Fulbright Scholarship. He came to his beloved Canada in 1960 and, with his wife Helen and their three children, made a home first in Athabasca, Alberta and then in Edmonton. As a stalwart in education he had an exemplary career, which took him from being a teacher to vice- principal, and then finally to the position of principal with the Edmonton school board. But teaching was not his only passion. Robinson will always be remembered for his commitment to community, multiculturalism and human rights. He held positions as a member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and chairman of numerous organizations including the Edmonton Taxi Cab Commission, Edmonton Race Relations Council, Alberta Heritage Council, Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation and the National Association of Canadians of Origin in India. He used his fundraising skills to provide funding for the Anantha Ashram Orphanage and Clinic in India, for a women’s shelter in Nepal and a fund for children in South Africa. For these and other efforts he received numerous awards culminating with the Order of Canada in 1996.

He was a great believer in the importance of family. He and Helen endured the untimely death of their children Michael and Susan in 1989 and 2001 respectively. They hosted grand get-togethers of extended family and eagerly attended other family gatherings. Robinson will be missed and fondly remembered by Helen, son Chris, daughter- in-law Anuradha, granddaughters Priya, Renuka and Kiran, Fayanne Perry, mother of Kiran, all members of his extended family and many dear friends.

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