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West Maui community loses Gordon Robinson

By Staff | Nov 2, 2017


The young adults of the Greatest Generation were defined by the hard work and the respect they exhibited to the world around them – especially to their fellow human beings and particularly to the children they raised. Arnette “Bud” and Elizabeth (Cockett) Robinson raised their five children in this manner.

Born to Bud and Elizabeth on Dec. 20, 1948, Gordon Robinson was a child of an idyllic upbringing in the lush Manoa Valley. He was their third of five children and attended public and parochial schools for most of their childhood years and received the best of both worlds in regard to the Hawaiian/Haole influences in their home and in the surrounding community.

Gordon grew up quickly and matured into an independent thinking man. He had met his future wife, Carlotta Taitano, at Roosevelt High School, and at the age of 18 saw his pathway after high school graduation to be in the military.

The Manoa boy enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was soon headed to South Carolina for basic training. He spent four years in the Corps stationed in California, Florida and Hawaii before his discharge from the service with specialized training in electronics. He also found an interest in racecars at this time.

He and Carlotta married, moved to Maui, and the couple had a son, Keola. Gordon continued his education with an AA Degree from Maui Community College and then transferred to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he studied Hawaiian history and economics and lectured there in those subjects.

Robinson became a vital part of the management team of TS Restaurants of California and Hawaii. He helped open the company’s flagship store in Lahaina. But it was not all work and no play for Gordon during these hey days of Maui. His love of ocean sports – surfing and canoe paddling – blossomed. He became a member of Lahaina Canoe Club and was a vital piece of the revival of the oldest organization on the West Side of the revered Hawaiian sport.

The Kapalua Grill and Bar was a huge success, and Gordon Robinson was a major player in this prosperity. He had also met a blues singer from Canada by the name of Blue Williams. They later married and had a daughter, Kelly.

An accident in the Grill & Bar left him to an early retirement and a life of leisure at his family beachfront property at Kahana. Kelly and her husband, Mark Pamat, cared for him, and Sandra Dee Peterson provided warm companionship in regular visits to him. He also had long lasting friendships with Linda and Tule and maintained communication with them over the years.

Gordon went to sleep on Friday, Oct. 13, and never regained consciousness. He was 68 years old. He is predeceased by his parents and survived by former wives Carlotta and Blue; son Keola (Cianna) Robinson; daughter Kelly (Mark Pamat) Robinson; grandkids Makenna, Kalae and Nalu; siblings Cathlen Zarko, Arnette (Giles) Forsythe, James (Lorraine) Robinson, and William (Tanya) Robinson; and many nieces and nephews.

The family of Gordon Robinson expresses its sincere gratitude to Island Hospice and to his countless friends for their love throughout the years. A celebration of life and ash scattering will be held at the Robinson property in Kahana on Nov. 5, 2017, at 11 a.m.

One of Gordon’s last reflections: “The important factor for me is to raise good children. My biggest achievement in life is being able to provide the right tools and support for my kids to have success.”