Spencer Robbins, age 93, of Boone, passed away Friday, November 13, 2020 at Watauga Medical Center.
Spencer was an entrepreneur, developer, and visionary leader of tourism, whose ability to create lasting impressions lives on in the places he helped to build, manage, and influence throughout his life. Working alongside his brothers, Grover and Harry, Spencer brought a number of landmark businesses to his beloved High Country, including Tweetsie Railroad, the Land of Oz, Beech Mountain, Linville Land Harbor, Hound Ears Club, and Elk River Club.
In addition to bringing thousands of jobs, creating residential neighborhoods like University Village in Boone, and resurrecting historical properties like The Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock, he worked to improve the quality of life for everyone in this area, and was a huge advocate for elevating health care options. He served a number of years on the Board of Directors for Watauga Medical Center. And, following their brother Grover’s death in 1970, Spencer and Harry initiated the annual Grover C. Robbins Memorial Golf Tournament, which has raised more than $10 million to support the creation of the Cancer Imaging Center at the hospital.
In the 1960s, he spent a number of years as general manager of Pine Needles Lodge and Club in Southern Pines, and along with his brothers, he managed a theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and what was Goldrush Junction is now Dollywood.
The son of Grover C. Robbins, Sr. and Lena Miller Robbins, he was born in the family home in downtown Blowing Rock, which today is home to the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, and he proudly served his country in World War II, aboard a navy ship stationed out of the Philippines.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Grace Macauley Robbins, and their unwavering devotion to one another has served as an inspiration to their family, friends, and all who had the joy of witnessing their remarkable love.
He was a beloved father who leaves his children and grandchildren with amazing memories and the gifts of facing each day with optimism, faith, hope, humor, and resilience. His surviving children and their spouses are Rob and Pat Robbins of Fernandina Beach, FL; Rick and Ginger Robbins of Leland, NC; Connie and Jim Gentry of Wake Forest, NC; Scott and Kristina Robbins of Spartanburg, SC; and Shane and Lori Robbins of Sugar Grove, NC. Nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren follow in his footsteps.
Spencer is also survived by two sisters, Peggy Sellers, of Blowing Rock, and Ruth Botzis, of Greenville, SC, as well as numerous nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents, the two older brothers, Grover and Harry, and his sister, Lena Brooks.
A celebration of his life and legacy will be held when Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted and it is safe to gather. Until then, the family is planning a private graveside memorial service.
“In lieu of flowers, the family asks that individuals make donations to a charity of their choice, or to one of the places that Spencer suggested: the pastor’s discretionary fund at Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church in Blowing Rock; Wake Forest Care at Home Hospice Wilkes; or Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation (PO Box 2600, Boone NC 28607, 828-262-4391) for the capital campaign to support the new Watauga Medical Center expansion.”
Online condolences may be sent to the Robbins family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com
Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.