As Mayor, I am sad to announce the passing of my longtime friend, the Honorable Joseph R. Robison, former Mayor of the City of Laurel, on November 10, 2020, at his home, surrounded by his family.
Joseph “Joe” R. Robison was a man of integrity, action, and commitment. He took civic responsibility and community service seriously and lived these qualities. He served quietly and with a desire to succeed in whatever duties he assumed.
Mayor Robison was elected to serve on the Laurel City Council, Ward 1, March 21, 1988. He was elected Mayor on March 21, 1990 and served until March 21, 1994.
During his time as Mayor, Mr. Robison actively participated with the Maryland Municipal League Fall Conferences and annual Conventions.
Mayor Robison understood the educational value of the Maryland Municipal League. He enjoyed the networking of the Maryland Municipal League and Prince George’s County Municipal Association and appreciated the importance of Cities and Towns coming together to support important matters of Municipal concern.
During Mayor Robison’s term he started the Mandatory Recycling Program in 1990- one of the first programs in Prince George’s County, authorized the use of Factory House by the Laurel Historical Society as a museum in 1991, established a sports park, a new community center was designed and built, and the purchase and renovation of the present City Hall was completed. Mayor Robison created the City’s Task Force on Drugs, Violence and Crime, and a Task Force on Homelessness in the City to name a few.
He first began firefighting with the Maryland State Forestry Department at the age of 14. His application for membership in the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department (LVFD) was accepted in September 1951. Mayor Robison served in all operational offices of the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department and for the last 30+ years served on its Board of Trustees. In 2002 he served as Co-Chair of the 100th Anniversary Committee. He did the research and the compilation of the 100th Anniversary Book.
Mayor Robison was a Past President of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association serving in 1998-1990, Past President of the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association serving from 1968-1969, President of the Maryland Fire Chief’s Association, and many other Fire and Rescue organizations. He was a Charter Member (1952) and Life Member of the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad. He received many department awards including the prestigious Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA) Past President Albin Fairall Award. In 1999, Engine 103 was dedicated to him and another Life member, Louis Luber.
Joe served on the Prince George’s County Fire Commission (PGFC) since its inception in 1970 until he retired in 2003. He served 19 years as Vice Chairman and served four years as its Chairman.
In 2002 Joe, was selected to receive a “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 2002 Governor’s Volunteer and Service Awards Program.
He was a member of both the American Legion and the Korean War Veterans.
In 1988, with over 36 years of service, Joe retired from the United States Postal Headquarters in Washington, D. C. as Quality Control Specialist.
Mayor Robison, until his passing worked to make the City of Laurel a better place to live, work, and play. He was an active member with the Laurel Historical Society, served on the City’s Emergency Services Commission, and several many City, County and State commissions and committees. He was a member of St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church.
The most important thing to Joe was family and friends. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Joann for 65 years and they had two daughters, Bette Anne and Mitzi, sons-in-law, six grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
To recognize Mayor Robison’s service to the City of Laurel, County and State, I have ordered the Flags at half-staff through 5:00 pm on November 19, 2020. Arrangements will be posted on the City’s web site, www.cityoflaurel.org, when they become known.