Jim “Robbie” Robinson

James “Robbie” Robinson, son of Donald and Lillian (Schuler) Robinson, was born on December 31, 1942, in Yankton, South Dakota and died peacefully surrounded by family at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton on Sunday, June 20, 2021, at the age of 78.

A celebration of his life will be at 1:00 PM, on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at Laddie E. Cimpl Arena on the campus of Mount Marty University in Yankton.  The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, on Wednesday, June 30 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton.

Robbie grew up and lived in Yankton throughout the tenure of his life. He graduated from Yankton High School in 1961, where his love for sports and car racing blossomed. Robbie was a member of the track and field, football and basketball teams for the Bucks. Upon graduating high school, he attended college at the University of Iowa and the University of South Dakota (where he jokingly got his doctorate in BS). After his collegiate days, he married Patty (Nooney) Robinson on July 6, 1963, at Sacred Heart Church in Yankton. During that time, he also owned and operated Jim’s Tap, a 3.2 beer bar in downtown Yankton. The daytime brought Robbie work for Ken Bitterman Ford, as a salesman in the 1970’s. Alongside his wife, Patty, in 1979, the couple purchased a Little King sandwich franchise. They ran the business until 1997. In 1980, Robbie and a partner purchased the dealership and became co-owners.  In 1982, they remodeled and added Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge. 1987 brought them the Jeep franchise. From 1990-97, he owned Gipper’s Lounge and from 1992-96 he also had The Library Restaurant across from the Ford Dealership. After years of success in the automobile industry, Robbie purchased the dealership from his partner and formed Robinson Motors. He served as a board member of Northland Ford and the South Dakota Auto Dealers Association. In 2004, Robbie was named the TIMES South Dakota Quality Auto Dealer of the Year. He owned and operated the dealership until 2013. After ending a 43-year stint in the car business, Robbie played his hand into advertising at KYNT, until 2017.

After battling heart issues, Robbie became the first citizen of South Dakota to receive a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which is a battery-operated mechanical pump on September 11, 2018, in Omaha, NE at University of Nebraska Medical Center. The procedure helped extend his life, as he was able to see the birth of one grandchild and two great-grandchildren.

Robbie was very active in the community of Yankton throughout his life. He was a board member of the Sertoma Club when they built Sertoma Park and started Babe Ruth Baseball. Robbie was a member of Sertoma and Yankton Quarterback Clubs for over 50 years. For 41 years, he was a member of the YHS football “chain gang”. Robbie also helped coach Junior Leader Football, soccer and umpired youth baseball games. He was a longtime chairman of the Hillcrest Pro-Am, president of the Yankton Chamber of Commerce and founding member of the Mount Marty Booster Club. Robbie was also a proud member of the Board of Directors at Mount Marty for six years. In 1993-94, he was inducted as an honorary member of “Y Club”, at Yankton High School. For seven years, Robbie served as the regional director of Ford’s Punt, Pass and Kick program. On February 3, 2005, former South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds deemed the date ‘James “Robbie” Robinson Day’. In 2012, after many years of support, Robbie was inducted into the University of South Dakota Athletic Hall of Fame as a Special Contributor. On June 6, 2016, Sertoma named the northwest little league diamond ‘Jim Robinson Field’ and then on February 10, 2017, he was inducted into the Yankton Baseball Hall of Fame.

Sports – including golfing, hunting and fishing played a foremost role in Robbie’s life. He was a passionate YHS, MMU, USD, Iowa Hawkeyes, Minnesota Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Wild fan. Robbie attended 18 Super Bowls, numerous Final Fours, World Series, an Indy 500 and a PGA Championship. Although he would say attending his children and grandchildren’s events would topple any major event he ever attended. Later in life, Robbie enjoyed playing with his son Matt’s dog – Corona, visiting the ducks at the Westside Park and feeding the birds in his backyard.

Blessed to have shared his life are his survivors, which include his wife, Patty of 58-years; five children: Jamie (Larry) Ryken, Jill (Darin) Podoll, Tricia (Tim) Cody, Nikki (Joe) Vondracek and Matt (Ashley) Robinson; 18 grandchildren: Patrick Ryken, Lilly Ryken, Lance (Ann) Ryken, Mark (Melanie) Ryken, Lisa Ryken, Colby (Tara) Kuchta, Ali (Jarrell) Freitag, Parker Kuchta, Cooper Kuchta, Michaela Podoll, Brooklyn Podoll, Kai Cody, Nick Robinson, Eliana Vondracek, Drake Vondracek, Finn Robinson, Beckett Robinson, Layla Zurcher; nine great-grandchildren: Mellie Kuchta, Penny Kuchta, Caprianha Freitag, Rex Ryken, Rugby Ryken, Mac Ryken, Drew Ryken, Beck Ryken and Albie Ryken.

Robbie was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Lillian; brothers: Bill, Don, and Dick; and special family friend, Tom “T Fitz” Fitzgerald.

The family would prefer memorials be directed to Mount Marty University at 1105 W. 8th St, Yankton High School Booster Club at PO Box 251, Yankton Baseball Association at PO Box 299, or Yankton Sertoma Club at PO Box 753, all in Yankton, SD  57078.



** The final song was My Way by Frank Sinatra but it had to be muted for copyright reason.  Sorry for the inconvenience. **




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22 response to "Jim “Robbie” Robinson"

  1. By: Darrell Mahoney Posted: June 22, 2021

    So sorry for your loss thoughts and prayers for your family.

  2. By: Ron Heglin Posted: June 22, 2021

    Pat and all the family, so sorry for your loss of Robbie. May you find comfort in all the past memories. It was always an “EXPERIENCE” to visit the dealership while Robbie was there. I enjoyed all the trips he set up for tournaments in Mc Cook Ne. Rest in peace Robbie!!

  3. By: Todd and DelRae Abler Posted: June 22, 2021

    Dear Pat and Family,
    We are saddened to learn of Jim’s passing. We’ll always remember his smile and sense of humor. May God’s peace comfort each of you throughout this difficult time.

  4. By: Lance LonSon Posted: June 22, 2021

    Pat, Karen and l send our sincere condolences to you and your family.
    We will always remember the good times together at FDAF events and trips—especially the giant margaritas in Cabo!

  5. By: JamesCarter Posted: June 22, 2021

    My condolences Tricia and the rest of your family on the passing of your father and husband grandfather. May he rest in peace.

  6. By: Julie Edelman Hartmann Posted: June 22, 2021

    I treasurer my memories of working for Robbie, he was a great mentor and friend. Rest well Chief until we meet again!

  7. By: TAMMY DRUMTRA Posted: June 23, 2021

    I am sorry to read of Robbie’s passing. I so enjoyed working for him at the Ford store. He was a very nice man and his family was always kind and loving. Prayers to your family at this time.

  8. By: Todd L. DeBeer Posted: June 23, 2021

    Our condolences to “Robbie’s” Family. I was lucky enough to know Jim on both a personal and professional level and enjoyed the times we got to spend together. Playing golf in the March of Dimes fundraisers was always a laugh a hole. And Jim could “pencil” whip everyone on the course. Remember the great times.

  9. By: Rick and Barb Stahlecker Posted: June 23, 2021

    Pat so sorry for your loss. big personality, good life, godspeed to you and the family.

  10. By: Jerry Novotny Posted: June 23, 2021

    Gosh, Dick, and now Jim. These guys were the core instigators of a lot of improvements and of much progress in Yankton. My time in Yankton, and in the Sertoma family was enriched by knowing these guys. I will carry their memories with me as I go on. JN

  11. By: Michelle Wells Posted: June 24, 2021

    Robbie was a great man. He was a member of the SD Auto Dealers Association for many years. He was a respected car dealer and a friend to many! He will be missed greatly.

  12. By: tom welter Posted: June 24, 2021

    Robbie was just a great Yanktonian at heart. I remember as a child waiting to hear the results of Punt, Pass and Kick. He always was there for YHS. He welcomed me back from Nebraska on multiple occasions for events and he and I had lunch when I came home for them. He was always supportive of athletics and I never forgot that. What a full life with great family and friends, one could only ask for so much life and love.

  13. By: Dan Auch Posted: June 25, 2021

    As hard as your lose might be I know you will find comfort in the many good times and memories you have of Jim. I will always remember him as a great classmate and a personal friend. He was always a kind, caring and helpful person to his family and anyone he knew.

  14. By: ernie ferency Posted: June 25, 2021

    Sad to learn about Jim’s passing. Fondly remember him at Jim’s Tap during my YC days. Spent many evenings (After football season, of course) there. Watched the Super Bowl with him at the bar when the Chiefs became the first AFC team to win the Super Bowl. Might have had THE smallest dance floor in all of America. Many will miss a truly outstanding nice guy who always had a smile on his face and never met a stranger.

  15. By: Jean Fitzgerald Posted: June 25, 2021

    My thoughts and prayers for the entire Robinson Clan. So many memories. Love to all of you during this difficult time. ❤️

  16. By: Gary Boom Posted: June 26, 2021

    Pat and family,
    So sorry to hear about Jim’s passing. I always enjoyed our visits and conversation over the years. You are in my prayers.

  17. By: Ric Zazzi Posted: June 27, 2021

    Patty, my sincere condolences to you and your family. I have never forgotten Jim over these many years since my days at YC. I was fortunate to visit with Jim and Don while at a YC reunion in 2011. In 1965 Jim gave me a job at the Tap during those “lean” years as a student at YC; that job provided me with the essentials I needed to be able to stay in Yankton. I will always have you and Jim in my thoughts and prayers. God bless, Ric Zazzi

  18. By: Todd Anderson Posted: June 27, 2021

    Dear Pat, Jamie, Jill, Tricia, Nikki, and Matt,
    So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. I have many fond memories of Jim and the rest of the uncles at Grandma Nooneys! That group of crazy(and fun)uncles and cousins showed me at a young age what family fun was about! I also remember going to visit Jim and Pat at Jim’s Tap, Little King, and Jim at the the car dealership. Jim was thoughtful enough to give my oldest son and I Vikings training camp tickets that included sideline passes and lunch with the players. My son still talks about the experience today(and he is 30 years old!!) Our entire family extends our deepest thoughts and prayers are with you all as you go through this difficult time.
    Love, Todd, Linda, Matt, and Thomas

  19. By: Nancy and Don Schoenhard Posted: June 29, 2021

    Dear Pat: Don & I have many wonderful memories of the fun we had with you and Robbie as we traveled all over for the nation for the SD auto dealers. We are so sorry for the loss of him to you and all of your family. We know how much Jim loved you all and was so proud of his family. We were thankful when he received the implant in Omaha because we were aware of his heart history….thankfully it gave him a few more years with you all. He will be missed by the Yankton community. We send you our sincere condolences and prayers. Don & Nanc

  20. By: Tina Wysuph Posted: June 30, 2021

    My thoughts and prayers are with Robbie’s family. I was part of the Sertoma group and always enjoyed visiting with him, he always had a story to tell. He will be missed!

  21. By: Carol Anderson Posted: June 30, 2021

    Jim was married to my sister Pat. We sisters referred to our hubbies as the “outlaws “, not the in laws. At family celebrations we always had to get a photo of the outlaws. Fondly remembering the member guest golf tournaments in Yankton. The party wasn’t over till Pat & Jim did the Twist. They always nailed it! Good times! Condolences to all of you during your time of loss. Carol (Nooney) Anderson

  22. By: Chris Hilson Posted: June 30, 2021

    Was blessed to work for Robbie and also be his friend for many years. Loved running in to him and catching up. Rest In Peace my friend. I’m better because I knew you.

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