Veola Robinson of Long Branch passed away on March 6, 2020 at the age of 100.
Born in Vernon, Georgia, on Sept. 14, 1919, to the late Frank and Rachel Sanford Robinson, she was the seventh of 11 chidren. She was raised in the sharecropping communities of Montgomery County, educated in the segregated school system.
At 10 years of age, she began working in the cotton field, earning high praise from her father for clearing rows at top speed. With totals of 50 pounds or more daily, she was his best worker. She paid attention, asked questions, and learned quickly. Her ability to identify wild plants and form perfectly spaced rows by hand demonstrated a natural inclination toward agriculture.
But with little opportunities for social and economic development and amidst growing racial tensions in the Jim Crow South, she joined the Great Migration of Southern Blacks to Northern states.
She arrived in Long Branch in 1944, and found a large demand for domestic workers. She found a position quickly but was determined to find better. Shortly thereafter, she was working as a matron and trained to become a Nurses’ Assistant at Hazard Hospital in Long Branch until it was sold in 1958.
Her commitment to delivering quality care was evident. She was hired at Westwood Hall Hebrew Home and later at Monmouth Countv Convalescent Center. She eventually retired from Witmer House in 1984 after 40 years in the field.
Long before retiring, Veola Robinson showcased her agricultural skiIIs each spring by planting an expansive backyard victory garden.
She was also interested in landscape architecture. Inspired by England’s public gardens, she planned and arranged bordered paths, stunning beds, and majestic rows of vibrant impatiens, zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers around Seaview Manor in a blaze of summer color for the entire community. In autumn, she harvested vegetables and wild-grown fruits, processed them in her kitchen cannery and stored them in the pantry for winter consumption. Sparkling glass jars of jelly, jam preserves, and her signature chow-chow relish lined the shelves.
Robinson was baptized at Waymon Temple AME Church in Mount Vernon. While attending a National Baptist Association District camp meeting, she was converted. She united with Second Baptist Church of Long Branch more than 70 years ago under the pastorate of Rev. C.P.
Williams. She was an active member of the Silver Spray Club, Senior Missionaries, and Senior Choir.
A registered Democrat, she voted consistently since the 1944 presidential election.
Ms. Robinson was the proud mother of six children: Willie Rufus Robinson, Milen Robinson (deceased), Pierre Robinson (Michie), Gloria Brown, Jonathan Robinson, and William Willis Robinson; seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.
She shared her birthday with her fraternal twin sister, Iola Robinson of Mount Vemon, Georgia, who passed three days after her, on March 9, 2020,