Melvina “Ruby” Robinson
August 13th 1943 – March 9th, 2022
Melvina Robinson was born to parents Flossie and Benjamin Smalls on August 13,1943 in Charleston, South Carolina. Melvina, affectionately known as “Ruby,” was born the fourth child of fourteen children. Coming from modest beginnings, she would eventually come into her own defining self, reaching heights unimagined as a small child. Graduating from Bonds-Wilson High School class of 1963 in Charleston, Melvina would shortly after, journey up to New York in pursuit of a better life. Melvina, so akin to water, always found solace crabbing or fishing. Although a long way from the shores of Charleston, she was no fish out of the water. She eventually settled down in Brooklyn and would later find the love of her life, Benjamin Robinson. They were united in matrimony on December 23, 1972 and were blessed to share their love by raising two daughters, Taunya and Latrell.
Melvina’s path towards a more meaningful life continued. She began studying with Jehovah’s witnesses as a young woman and subsequently decided to dedicate her life to Jehovah God. She was baptized in 1980 and became a member of the Brooklyn Bridge Congregation in Brooklyn Heights, NY. Within the same year, Melvina gained employment with the NYC Board of Education. After fulfilling 15 years of service, she went on to pursue other business endeavors.
In 1984, the family relocated to Hempstead, NY, where their newly found suburban life took shape. The family adjusted just fine and Melvina thrived not only in her employment and worship, but also in forging new relationships. She would eventually become a pillar in her community.
In 2000, Ben and “Ruby'' started a childcare business called Ruby’s Love Day Care, where they would share their passion and love for nurturing children. Ruby’s dear husband Ben, departed on June 10, 2012, but she continued the business for nearly 10 years thereafter (2000-2021). Within the span of 21 years, Ruby’s love and robust spirit has impacted numerous children, who till this day, refer to her as “Meema,” and can remember the smell and taste of her specialty pancakes. The term of endearment known as “Meema,” is still adoringly shared by her grandchildren, Coleman, Kori and Jaden.
Melvina lived her life to the fullest. She truly enjoyed living and had many “loves” and hobbies. In the words of her daughters, they jokingly state that her top three “loves” in priority order were #1 Jehovah God, #2 crabbing and fishing, and #3 family and extended family. Fond of music, and always ready to “shake a leg,” Ruby loved to dance. In her most endearing moments, she could be found twirling and two-stepping in the kitchen. Her home and kitchen, inviting with love and good energy, was full of delightfully distinctive aromas. She was well known for her staple dishes of red rice and fried fish, her famous potato salad, Hoppin John peas and rice, or her personal favorite, a pot of crabs that she had just caught, boiling on the stove. Coming from a long line of storytellers, Ruby was also bound to offer a good story or two, but always with a humorous twist.
Throughout the years Melvina faced many serious health challenges but had determination to continue walking in the path of righteousness. She drew strength from her relationship with Jehovah and looked forward to the future life of an earthly paradise that He promises for mankind. She exemplified her faith by being obedient and by clothing herself with the fruitages of God’s spirit. She strived every day to become more Christ-like, showing genuine love in her approach and demeanor. Her servitude extended itself to any heart that she could reach by teaching and encouraging others to draw close to Jehovah and to live by bible principles. Melvina often expressed that worshiping Jehovah in spirit and truth was the key to happiness.
During the final years of her life, Melvina worshiped with the Coes Neck Park Congregation (Long Island). She seldom, if ever, missed her weekly meetings. She always participated and commented during the meetings, especially the weekend Watchtower Study Articles. Her personality is described by her spiritual family as being quiet but strong minded, courageous while speaking with conviction, and having the “stick-to-it-tiv-ness” needed to persevere in her faith. On Sundays she engaged in telephone witnessing via zoom with her fellow brothers and sisters. Prior to 2020, she also had the opportunity to auxiliary pioneer on various occasions. She also expanded her ministry by witnessing with small groups in seldom worked territory in Pennsylvania (2016), West Virginia (2017), and Massachusetts (2018).
Melvina “Ruby” Robinson passed away on March 9, 2022 and will forever be remembered by those who knew and loved her.
She was preceded in death by her beloved late husband, Benjamin Robinson, Parents: Flossie and Ben Smalls, and Siblings: Jacob, Samuel, Franklin and Abraham Smalls, Elizabeth Knox and Susan Chapman.
Melvina leaves to cherish her loving memory, her two Daughters: Taunya Jones and Latrell Robinson, her three grandchildren: Coleman, Kori and Jaden Jones, Siblings: Bertha Stafford, Jefferson Smalls (Karen), Betty Prioleau, Leroy Smalls (Ann), Gloria Monroe (Adrian), Andrew Spann (Sarona) and Henrietta Blakeney (Frank) and a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives, Brothers and Sisters in the faith, and near and dear friends.
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