With the death Saturday of Dr. O. Preston Robinson at the age of 87, Utah has lost one of its most helpful and accomplished citizens. And the Deseret News has lost a close friend.
From 1950 until 1964, Pres - as he was called by his many friends and admirers - was associated with the Deseret News, becoming editor and general manager of the newspaper as well as manager of its former commercial printing arm.He came to those publishing posts after an already distinguished and broad-ranging career as a scholar, teacher, civic leader and business executive.
His academic career alone took him from posts in retailing at Hofstra College and New York University to Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. With his wife Christine, he co-authored 10 books on religious history and other topics and was himself the writer of a number of publications on marketing, merchandising, salesmanship and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
His service to his community included, among many others, stints as president of the Utah Symphony, president of the Youth Tobacco Action Commission, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army and member of the National Council of the USO and the National Safety Council.
Likewise, his service to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints included work as a missionary, mission president, member of the Sunday School General Board and bishopric member.
This list does not begin to exhaust Pres Robinson's many achievements. One of the less known but most admirable of those accomplishments consisted of his long and loving service to his wife after she became physically incapacitated.
His interests ranged widely - from commerce to religion, from contemporary international politics to ancient history. Well-educated, he never lost his interest in continuing to learn. He traveled widely and studied intensively in the Middle East, seeking a deep and intimate knowledge of the sites and historical background of the Bible.
Always dignified but personable, he inspired confidence with his quiet but firm authority.
Now Pres Robinson is gone. With his passing, his family has lost a kind, loving husband and father, the Deseret News as lost a wise mentor and friend, and this state has lost an outstanding citizen who will continue to lead as long as the memory of his example of service lingers, inspiring others.