Jack Robinson Remembered
By Thomas J. Minter
I first became acquainted with Jack in 1998 when I began to seriously inquire into my paternal ancestors’ backgrounds. He was a big help in this effort. Later in 1999 he and Mary Ann (Minter) Pleasant with several others arranged a big Minter family reunion that was held at Pickton, Texas, down the road from Pine Forest. At the same time an association of Pine Forest Minters was formed, of which I became president.
To go along with the Association, a newsletter was published and I was instrumental in setting up two family websites, one devoted to pictures. Jack collaborated with me on these websites. And prying pictures out of family members for the websites was Jack’s specialty. He was tactful and persistent, and was usually successful. He had a wealth of information in his head about the Minters, and his memory was very good up until he passed away on March 13, 2013.
He was always eager and quick to respond to inquiries about the Minter family from descendants and other interested people. When I was a kid growing up in the Pine Forest area, I remember once visiting a big peach orchard in Pine Forest with my Uncle Jack Turner. The owner was fond of bird dogs as I recall. At the time I thought the man had to be a relative from the way he and my uncle were talking, but I didn’t know. I asked Jack about this a couple years before he died. And as “quick as you can say Jack Robinson” he said it was his stepfather, Vester Phillips, and went on to relate several details.
Jack liked a good joke, and he liked to tell one, which sometimes got him in trouble with some folks. I suspect he acquired this taste for a good story from the many years he spent in sales with various firms—Lever Brothers, Life Savers Corporation, Losier Store Fixtures, and R&S Vending among them. Relating a joke to a customer use to be a way of “breaking the ice,” so to speak, in making sales’ calls.
You didn’t have to be around Jack long before you discovered he was very patriotic and proud of his varied career in the military. When he entered the service in 1940, his first assignment was in the Calvary, which was shortly thereafter mechanized. Afterward, he served in various capacities in what was then the Army Air Corp.
Jack was also proud to be a descendant of the Minters. His father died shortly after he was born in 1917, and since his mother, a Minter, and family lived in Pine Forest until Jack was 10 years old, he had ample opportunity to be steeped in the “Minter culture.” Emmett Minter (1882-1945) and Benjamin Hill Minter (1882-1953), were some of the Minters who influenced him as he was growing up. Jack wrote several stories about life in Pine Forest and about family members, which can be found on The Minters of Pine Forest websites.
Jack was a family man. His wife Mary and sons, Pat and Kevin, were never far from his thinking no matter what he was doing. Both Jack and Mary were retired in 1987 when the granddaughter Emma, their only grandchild came along. Thus they got a chance to do some serious spoiling.
I am glad to have known Jack. He helped fill out my identity as a Minter and as a human being. I will miss him.
I have previously written a profile of Jack, which you can find at: www.minterpictures2.homestead.com/profile3.html
The Minters of Pine Forest websites: