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Grant Robbins

Grant Charles Robbins, aged 86, died on June 25, 2020, in Bend, Ore. Grant was with family when he passed.

Funeral services are at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 2 at Spencer, Libby, and Powell Funeral Home, The Dalles, Ore., followed by a reception there. Burial with military honors follows at 1:30 p.m. at Odd Fellows Parklawn Cemetery (Three Mile).

Grant was born June 16, 1934, in Amity, Ore., oldest of four children born to Orile and Rhoda Robbins. He grew up in Whiteson, Vernonia and McMinnville. His father, an accomplished high school coach, died unexpectedly when Grant was 16. This shaped his lifelong sense of responsibility. 

In his youth, Grant developed a love of farming, hunting and fishing. In 1952, he graduated from McMinnville High, where he excelled in baseball. At Oregon State College, he entered ROTC, worked in Roseburg lumber mills, and made regular trips home to hunt with his friends. A favorite trip was to Pasadena in 1957 to see the Beavers in the Rose Bowl.

After earning a degree in animal husbandry, Grant was commissioned as an U.S. Army officer. He attended armor school and always cherished his time in that branch. "Robbie,” as he was called in the Army, greatly enjoyed serving at Fort Lewis and the Yakima Firing Center. During the height of the Cold War, he was stationed in Babenhausen, Germany, for four years. He was a decisive, highly competent leader. While in Germany, Grant met and fell deeply in love with Leonie, his partner through good times and tough times for the rest of his long life. Sons Mike and John were born in Virginia on Army posts. In Vietnam, he became a Major and earned a Bronze Star. He was profoundly affected by his war service.

Grant had a future in the Army, but to him, family and returning to Oregon were more important. Fifty years ago, he and Leonie found ranch property on Seven Mile Hill. He rented a cat to doze in the long driveway to the homesite. They essentially pioneered future settlement up there. The ranch was a great spot for the family. Grant raised wheat, cattle, and alfalfa early on, then sold grass hay locally for many years.

He put together a small wildland fire engine, and at age 55, obtained FAA air crash rescue certification so he could contract to be stationed at remote helibases if needed. Wildfire operations reminded him of the military. He worked part-time for many years as a technician for wind farm developers.  Grant cut, baled, and sold his last hay crop in 2011. After 42 years, it was time to move down off the hill into The Dalles.

Meanwhile, Grant became a proud grandpa (and very recently, a great-grandpa). Tragedy came in 1999 when Mike died while serving overseas in the Army. Grant continued working, bird hunting, and took up golf for a few years. He was a fiercely loyal Beaver fan. He traveled to Corvallis many times for football games, mostly losses for a long time, but eventually a lot of fun wins, too. More recently, he enjoyed watching the success of OSU baseball and women’s basketball on TV.

We love and remember Grant for being so caring and devoted to us. He was our problem solver, always knowing what to do, and what to say. He was an honorable man and he did not lie, ever. Grant already missed living and working on Seven Mile Ranch, but recently agreed to move to Bend near family, for what would be his final months. He knew it was better for himself and for Leonie. This spring, he enjoyed watering his lawn and reviving a strawberry patch, which we are still enjoying. He looked forward to seeing Mike again in Heaven.

Grant was preceded in death by his son, Mike. He is survived by his beloved wife, Leonie; son John and wife Lisa; grandson Joe; granddaughter Christina Robbins-Dahlin; great-grandson Michael; brother Dale Robbins and wife Marcia; sister Carol Weiher and husband Wayne; sister Linda Tuggle; and many nieces and nephews in Oregon and Germany.

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