HANFORD — Local businessman and philanthropist Mike Robinson died on May 25 at the age of 66.
“There’s been an outpouring from the community. I can’t tell you how many folks have called or texted or stopped by. He was an amazing guy and he touched a lot of people. He had a unique ability to do that,” the businessman’s son, Rusty Robinson, said.
The elder Robinson owned Robinson's Interiors in Hanford for 39 years, Robinson's Flooring in Fresno, Visalia Adventure Park and was a partner at Thomasville at River Park Home Furnishings in Fresno.
In addition to his successful business endeavors, Robinson served as president of the Hanford Community Hospital Foundation, as well as serving as vice president of the Kings County Board of Education; He was the founding president of the Hanford West Athletic Boosters, served on the Chamber of Commerce and Hanford Recreation Committees, among many other things.
Among the many awards on his proverbial mantle, Robinson was the recipient of “Sam Walton Business Leader Award,” Adventist Health's “Bridwell Humanitarian Award,” McCarthy School's “Distinguished Alumni Award,” Hanford's “Man of the Year Award,” and the College of the Sequoias Board of Trustees' “Giant of the Year Award,” among other honors.
“My dad just loved people – and particularly the people of Hanford,” Rusty, the eldest of four sons, said.
Rusty described his father as “a major proponent of Hanford, especially its young people.” It’s that devotion to the young people of the Valley that led to much of Robin’s charitable work in the community, as well as establishing the beacon of fun and youthful energy known as Visalia Adventure Park.
“I don’t think that’s something you go into or stay in if you don’t have a love of kids,” Rusty said of the amusement park.
While the Robinson patriarch was involved in many projects with aspirations to help his community grow, including co-founding the Kings Literacy Pact recently, he took his day jobs as seriously as ever, Rusty said.
“I don’t know if my dad knows what the meaning of retirement is,” Rusty said, laughing. “He was working the whole time and would have stayed working. He enjoyed working and he enjoyed the people he worked with at all of his various businesses.”
Mike is survived by his wife, Barbara – the couple were married in 1981 -- and four sons.
Of the sons, Sam is a Marine that lives in Oceanside while Jake and Luke live in Hanford and are involved in the family business of Robinson’s Interiors. Luke is also involved in Adventure Park. Both have backgrounds in accounting. Rusty, after following in his father’s footsteps by working for his grandparents Gordon and Pat Blue at Hanford Furniture, eventually partnered with his family on the Fresno location -- Thomasville at River Park Home Furnishings in Fresno.
In what little downtime he had, the elder Robinson enjoyed spending time with his 12 grandchildren and working on the family ranch.
“He would work more. Physical work, that was his outlet,” he said. “He was something. He was a good guy, that guy.”
A linebacker for Hanford High School from 1967-1970, football had a “huge impact” on the man that Rusty’s father would become, he said.
“I think football helped to formulate his take on life,” he said. “Like a football game, you win some, you lose some and you always play your hardest and do your best. I think he lived by that.”
Many of Mike’s teammates became lifelong friends. The team’s other linebacker would go on to become Rusty’s godfather.
The elder Robinson detailed the influence of the game on his professional Linkedin page as follows:
“My personal philosophy is that life and business is like a football game. When I see the tunnel, I go.”