Dennis Edward Robinson, 77, of Winfield, died peacefully on Friday, July 5, 2019 at Geisinger Home Health and Hospice at Maria Hall, Danville.
He was born March 24, 1942 in Youngstown, OH, a son of the late Nelson and Alice (Guthridge) Robinson. He and his wife, the late Diana “Dee” Lynn Allen, were married April 14, 1978. Together they celebrated 41 years of marriage.
Dennis was a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a multi-disciplinary degree focusing on physical geography, conservation and planning. He also undertook additional postgraduate studies at his alma mater and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He started his career working seven years as a consultant for TEC-SEARCH, Inc. and E.B.A.S.C.O. Industries. Dennis later became co-owner and partner in Environetic Research, a planning, management and engineering consulting firm based in Chicago.
He would later leave the private sector and join SEDA-COG in 1973 as Director of Physical Resource Planning and Development, and would become the organization’s Executive Director just three years later, a position he would hold until he retired 44 years later in 2017. SEDA-COG was formed under the county-collaborative Intergovernmental Cooperation Act 180 in 1972, and under Dennis, it grew from its infancy and transformed into a major force for 11 counties and their municipalities, becoming the largest county council of governments in the commonwealth. During his tenure, the staff grew from 13 to 94 employees. While leading the organization, he steered the organization through evolving times with an entrepreneurial spirit addressing new needs and demands through the 11 counties they served.. His leadership helped transition SEDA-COG from a traditional planning and development organization, to one providing direct services in such areas as business development, financing, export development, procurement, community development, information technology services, housing services, broadband deployment, a seven-county weatherization services for low income and elderly persons, and a multi-county rail authority. In 2016, in recognition of Dennis’ service to his organization and region he, received multiple acknowledgements, including the prestigious John D. Whisman “Vision” Award for economic development from the 13-state Development Directors Association of Appalachia, as well as being named to the “Top 100 People” by Pennsylvania Business Central.
Dennis was very active throughout his working career in many organizations, including the Union Township Planning Commission, the National Association of Development Organizations, the Local Development District Association of Pennsylvania, the Industrial Modernization Center of Central Pennsylvania, the Mid-State Consortium Private Industry Council, the U.S. Penitentiary Community Relations Board, Susquehanna Valley School to Business Partnership, Leadership Susquehanna Valley and Focus Central Pennsylvania.
Beyond his successful working career, Dennis enjoyed fishing and spending countless hours in the car passing on his “words of wisdom” over many road trips with his family. He made sure to spend every lunch hour with his wife during the work week and took great pride in picking out the perfect birthday, anniversary, holiday, or “just because” card and bouquet for her. He was also passionate about his dogs, loved listening to 50’s rock and roll and 60’s folk music, and never forgot to warn his daughter to “be careful!” whenever she left to go anywhere.
Surviving are one son Eric Robinson and his wife, Jennifer, of Sacramento, CA; one daughter, Renée Robinson and her fiancé, Lou Tufillaro IV, of Raleigh, NC; and two grandchildren, Henry and Leigh Robinson.
Friends will be received from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, at Cronrath-Grenoble Funeral Home, S. Second and St. Lewis streets, Lewisburg.
A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday in Lewisburg Cemetery with a celebration of life to follow at 1 p.m. at Campus Theatre, 413 Market St. Lewisburg with Rev. John E. Lee, retired United Methodist minister, officiating.
The family will provide the flowers and suggests contributions in Dennis’ memory be made to SEDA Foundation, Inc. 201 Furnace Road, Lewisburg, PA 17837.