Mary Lou Robinson

Mary Lou Robinson, 92, of Amarillo, Texas, devoted daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, women’s rights activist, civic leader, and judge, passed away on January 26, 2019, surrounded by her family. Born to Gerald and Frances Strueber on August 25, 1926, in Dodge City, Kansas, Mary Lou spent most of her life in Amarillo. She met her husband of 42 years, A.J. Robinson, at the University of Texas School of Law, and the couple married in 1949. After moving back home, Mary Lou became enmeshed in the Amarillo legal community. At first, she and A.J. practiced law together under the firm name Robinson & Robinson. In 1955, the Potter County Commissioners appointed Mary Lou, then a young mother, as Judge of the Potter County Court-at-Law. It was one of many “firsts” for this legal pioneer and the beginning of an illustrious 63-year judicial career. Mary Lou had truly found her passion and her calling. In the 1960s and 1970s, Mary Lou could often be found making speeches about women’s rights, helping to effect change in laws that prohibited married women from entering into binding contracts and passage of the Texas Equal Rights Amendment. She became Judge of the 108th District Court, followed by Associate and then Chief Justice of the 7th Court of Appeals. In 1979, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as Judge of the United States District Court, where she served for over 39 years. She will be remembered by the Amarillo legal community as an exceptional, hardworking jurist of the highest integrity.

Although she had a trailblazing and distinguished legal career, she will be remembered by her family and friends for her unending love and devotion. She taught us countless invaluable lessons, including the importance of family, hard work, integrity, and service. Mary Lou was an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she and A.J. taught adult Sunday School classes for many years, and she was on the boards of numerous civic organizations. When Mary Lou wasn’t giving speeches or attending board meetings, she was Mom, Grandmother, and, to her great grandchildren, Grandma Lou. She lived a full life with her family, as well as in her professional career and civic endeavors.

Mary Lou is preceded in death by her husband, A.J., her son-in-law David Gruhlkey, and her brother Mike Strueber and wife Bettie Lou. She leaves behind family and friends who will continue to be inspired by her life well lived, including her children Rebecca McCoy and husband Mark of Amarillo, her daughter Diana Robinson and fiancé Ed Hatchett of Dallas, her son Matthew Robinson and wife Mary of Amarillo; her grandchildren Jeremy Gruhlkey and wife Naeun Rim of Los Angeles, Bradley Gruhlkey of Amarillo, Ashley Kelley and husband Taylor of Amarillo, Rachel Robinson and Joel Lehtinen of Helsinki, Blake Elms and husband Gatlin of Houston, David Tubb and wife Hayley of Dallas, Frances Tubb of Dallas, and granddaughter-in-law Elana Harvey of Amarillo; nine great-grandchildren; and devoted staff, Melba Fenwick and Chuck Freas. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Amarillo Children’s Home, Downtown Women’s Center, or an inclusive charity of your choice.

Services will be at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at Westminster Presbyterian Church with Rev. Joan Gaines officiating.  Burial will be at Llano Cemetery.  Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Monday, January 28, 2019 from 6:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.

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8 Replies to “Mary Lou Robinson”

  1. Having relocated my residence to Colorado, I have only just learned of the passing of Judge Robinson. So sorry to hear of her death, but heartened to read, again, of her amazing career and the great legacy of her family left behind.
    It was a privilege to practice in her court. The trial of any lawsuit is always a momentous, sometimes life-changing, event for attorneys and clients. Judge Robinson ran her court with respect for the importance of the process: With recognition of the sanctity of the relevant law as she saw it, with respectful, but firm control of the proceedings and with a great sense that justice will most often prevail when due process is the first priority. In short, she epitomized what a great judge should be.
    I was also proud to be a fellow Rotarian with Judge Robinson. (When Rotary first opened its membership to women, Judge Robinson was the first female member of the Rotary Club of Amarillo.)
    She was a great citizen of our city, our state and our country.

  2. I was saddened to hear about the loss of this wonderful lady, I only knew her for a short time but she was always kind and considerate. Continued prayers for the family.

  3. Like many lawyers in the Panhandle, I grew up with Judge Robinson as our federal judge. I could not have imagined a better person on the bench, even if I tried. Judge Robinson’s passion was real, as was her sacrifice. I believe there is a great deal of sacrifice to be a federal judge, but Judge Robinson never let that show. She was a class act. Judge Robinson personified integrity. I naively believed that Judge Robinson would “last forever.” My fervent prayer is that those who follow her follow her example. Godspeed, Judge Robinson. You made an incredible difference, all for the good.

  4. God has taken in another angel. Praying 🙏🏾 for strength and peace for the family during your time of grief. God Bless you.

  5. Honorable Judge Mary Lou Robinson, Thank you for placing your hands to the plow and answering the call. You have left a legacy for other women to follow and to pick up the torch. Rest in heavenly peace. My thoughts and prayers for the family and friends of the Honorable Judge Mary Lou Robinson.

  6. We have lost a legal pioneer who served a cause greater than herself. Our thoughts and prayers are with the beloved family and friends of the Honorable Judge Mary Lou Robinson.

  7. Matt, Mary & Robinson family, my heart goes out to each of you! You are all in our thoughts and prayers! We love you!

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