In Memoriam: Emmet Robbins

Emmet Robbins, Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Toronto, after a lengthy illness died on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at Kensington Gardens Health Centre.

He was son of the late Dr. John E. Robbins and Catherine St Denis Robbins. A graduate of Fisher Park High School in Ottawa, he attended Carleton University, and subsequently graduated from the University of Toronto where he received BA (Honours Classics, 1963), MA (1965), and PhD (1968) degrees. After several years abroad he returned to his alma mater in 1972 and taught at St. Michael’s College; he served from 1990 to 2001 as Chair of the combined Department of Classics. A gifted lecturer, inspiring teacher, meticulous scholar, he was a devoted friend of colleagues and students alike. A talented musician of harpsichord and piano, an accomplished linguist, a perfectionist in all he did, yet modest to the extreme, he was filled with charm and wit and joie de vivre. Emmet is survived by his brother Bernie (Patti) of Ottawa, niece Catherine Robbins of Toronto, nephew John David Robbins also of Ottawa, and grandnephew baby Brandon Robbins.

Emmet’s family expresses sincere gratitude to John Traill and Jay Macpherson, who truly cared for Emmet and acted with compassion and integrity in their capacity as joint guardians during his final years. They also wish to thank the caring staff of Kensington Gardens Health Centre.

A memorial service will be held in his honour at the Department of Classics, University of Toronto, 125 Queen’s Park Crescent, Toronto, M5S 2C7.

The Professor Emmet Robbins Memorial Fund has been established as a permanent legacy at U of T. In lieu of flowers, Professor Robbins’ family and friends have requested donations to be made to this fund for scholarships. For those wishing to honour Professor Robbins in this way, please contact Celeste Richards at (416) 978-0310 orĀ