Obituary: Tom Karl Robinson
Tom Karl Robinson, a longtime resident of Montclair, died on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. He was 87.
Mr. Robinson was born in 1934 at Mountainside hospital to Sadie and Benjamin Robinson. He graduated from Montclair High School in 1951.
He served in the U.S. Army as a private first class. After returning to Montclair, he encountered and soon courted the love of his life and future wife, Ada Roberts. They married in 1963 and had a son, Tom Karl Robinson II.
Mr. Robinson’s primary career was as a plant production manager; he worked for many manufacturing companies such as Art Metal and Hartz Mountain. Driven and resourceful, he always sought ways to learn and grow, from owning his own trucking business to investing in real estate; his ingenuity led him down many professional paths.
While pursuing these endeavors and providing for his family, he returned to school, earning both his associate’s degree at Essex County College and his bachelor’s at Rutgers University.
Mr. Robinson had a passion for classic cars. A car aficionado and self-taught master mechanic, he would often recount to family and friends (and all who would listen) learning how to drive at a young age, participating in amateur racing circuits and restoring antique vehicles.
Known to some as the “Buick man,” he was a proud Buick owner who reveled in his personal restoration of at least six of them, the first being a 1942 Buick Special.
His collection also included classic beauties like the 1961 “Deuce and a quarter” Electra 225 and, his pride and joy, the 1941 Buick Limited Limousine, of which he owned one of only seven in the entire country.
From his automobile ardor, Mr. Robinson also founded, along with eight other car enthusiasts, the Nostalgic Automobile Society of Montclair (NASM) and served as the president of the club for 31 years.
In addition to enjoying national car exhibitions and local “cruise nights,” he would often bring his wife and family to parades and cultural events. Sometimes he would convey a bride and groom to their reception in one of his antique cars, including his grandson with his wife.
Married for nearly 60 years, he and his wife set the example for an unbreakable union. This loving bond was on display to all when he was “cruising” with his one and only.
He will be remembered for his great sense of humor, kindness, patience and all of the qualities that are the true attributes of a man of substance and character.
Mr. Robinson is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Ada; their son, Tom Karl Robinson II; a brother, Harry (Denise); grandchildren, Ajani (Dia), Akilah (Jason) and Aminah; a niece/daughter, Gizelle (Robert); a sister-in-law, Stephanie; nephews, Neal, Adam and Chris; niece, Beth, and a host of other family members and friends.
Services were held on Jan. 10, 2022, at Martin’s Home for Service.