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.
Sign the online guestbook at www.boxwellbrothers.com