Augustine Warner Robins passed away quietly on Sunday, March 22, 2020, at his home in Yorktown. He was born in Hampton, Virginia, to Margaret Gordon Edwards and Bartlett Todd Robins on Dec. 11, 1924. He was a devoted husband to Carolyn Paige Hudgins and loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Growing up on his family’s dairy farm adjacent to Langley Field he was able to see everything from balloonists to dirigibles to biplanes flying overhead. He attended Hampton High School and, after serving as a B-17 pilot in WWII, attended Virginia Tech where he earned a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. After graduation in 1949, he joined NACA/NASA at Langley Field in Hampton. He retired in 1980 as Assistant Head of the Supersonics Aerodynamics Branch. Among his many accomplishments was his role as lead author on a NASA paper on supersonic mechanics which has been credited as “the Bible on supersonics.” Robins was also involved in the technical analysis that led to the 747-Orbiter Piggyback Concept used to transport the space shuttle orbiter. After retirement, he remained a consultant to NASA through his employee/subcontractor relationship to Kentron Aerospace Technologies Division’s Planning Research Corporation until 1986. He was inducted into the Virginia Tech Academy of Engineering Excellence in 2011.
His hobbies included travel, antique shopping with Carolyn, genealogy, family beach week at the Outer Banks, and his favorite—sailing. He crewed for a number of excellent skippers in many races along the east coast and cruised the Chesapeake Bay in his own “tub.” He had an endless supply of stories and his birthday limericks were a favorite of every family member. He was a charter member of the Yorktown Rotary Club.
Robins was preceded in death by his wife; his parents; a sister, Mary Seawell Robins Bruce, and his brother, John Edwards Robins. He is survived by his sister, Martha Mallory Sinclair Robins Maclay; children, William Tyler Robins and his wife Jana, Augustine Warner Robins Jr. “Robbie” and his wife Virginia “Gini,” Matthew Todd Robins and his wife Jean, Katherine Hudgins Robins, and Andrew Murray Robins and his wife Karen, as well as 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, July 10, 2021, at 11 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Fairfield Foundation.