Pictured: Clarke Robinson with his four children at his 90th birthday. Left to right: Sarah Michael, Philip Robinson, Clarke Robinson (center, seated), Jim Robinson, and Becky Reeve.
Clarke Robinson held many titles in his life: student, Harvard-educated lawyer, husband, father, church leader, quilter, rare book collector, history enthusiast, and early childhood education advocate. As one of the founding members of One Hope United’s Scofield-Gibbs Society, Clarke’s spirit of service will continue through his charitable major trust. Because of Clarke’s generosity and commitment to One Hope United’s mission, the organization will have the resources it needs to serve thousands of children and families for years to come.
Clarke’s passion for giving back began at an early age. After moving from New England to Mount Prospect, Illinois as a child, his family soon became active in the Baptist Church in their neighborhood. Clarke also met his wife of 56 years, Lucia, through her father, who was the pastor at their church. For many years, Clarke’s church supported the Central Baptist Orphanage – the organization that would one day be known as One Hope United.
Becky Reeve, Clarke’s daughter, shared, “My dad was a humble servant throughout his entire life. He always did what he could to help people, often quietly and without seeking recognition. He understood that in life, you plant seeds, often without knowing what will come of your efforts – but you plant seeds for future growth and happiness for your loved ones, and for your community.”
After attending Harvard Law School, Clarke returned home to Illinois, where he served as a Probate and Estate Planning Lawyer in Chicago for over 40 years. Through their church and philanthropic involvement, Clarke and Lucia learned more about foster care, and even though they had four biological children already, they answered the call to become foster parents. Their teenage foster son was with them for five years, and their foster son later shared that he felt their family “saved his life.” He served in the United States Marine Corps and has built a happy life with his wife and three children. Years later, he spoke at a One Hope United board meeting about his experiences in foster care. He shared that when he was growing up, he heard a lot of kids say they wanted to be a police officer, fire fighter, or teacher. What he wanted was to be a parent like Clarke.
Soon after welcoming his foster son into his family, Clarke joined the Central Baptist Children’s Home’s Board of Directors. He served as Chairman of the Board for many years, and saw the organization through several periods of growth, including the organization’s expansion into early learning. Clarke became closely involved with OHU’s preschool programs, developing an interest in the connection between early learning and children’s future academic development.
Clarke said, “I grew my understanding of the needs of children, and I’m generally very satisfied with what I’ve seen and what I’ve been able to do with One Hope United.” He also shared that one of his favorite aspects of his involvement with OHU was bringing members of his church to tour and read to children at the Elgin Early Learning Center.
Clarke’s daughter, Becky, shared that Clarke was able to accomplish so much in his life because he had a loving partner standing beside him. “A lot of what he was able to do at OHU was done with and because of mom,” Becky said. “They showed us kids the importance of giving what we could to our community.” The Robinson family also enjoyed supporting and volunteering at many One Hope United events throughout the years, including the Annual Charity Golf Outing.
“Clarke was humble and unassuming, considering all he accomplished personally and professionally,” said Joyce Heneberry, Planned Giving Officer at One Hope United. “He approached our early learning programs with such intellect and curiosity. I admire him so much.”
RJ Young, former Chairman of One Hope United’s Board of Directors, and Joyce Heneberry felt privileged to present One Hope United’s Life Director Award to Clarke at his church. Clarke passed away in March of 2021. He is survived by four children, eleven grandchildren, and seventeen great-grandchildren. One Hope United is grateful for the spirit of love, service, and generosity Clarke shared with our organization, and the impact he continues to have in the lives of the children and families we serve.
Learn how you can make an impact for One Hope United through a planned gift.