With family by her side, Joan (Jody) Robbins passed from this life to the next just past midnight on Friday, January the 5th. She defied all the doctor’s odds and had remained pretty darn lively even after being on dialysis for nearly six years. Mom was born, Maria Santa Joann Bucca, to Italian immigrants on August 15, 1934, in Lynch, Kentucky.
Although she turned 89 last year, she was convinced she was literally ten years younger. No amount of math could persuade her otherwise, so we just nodded and smiled. But she was young at heart, and her life was filled with good friends and beloved family.
She was married in Norton, Virginia, to her high school sweetheart, our dad, Billy Rufus Robbins. He was the football star, and she was the prom queen in that small coal mining town at the edge of the state. It was a match that would last until dad’s passing decades ago. Their life’s journey took them to Hampton Roads, where dad graduated from The Apprentice School at the Newport News Shipyard and built ships while mom stayed home and wrangled four little girls. Together they worked hard to keep clothes on our backs and hair on their heads.
In the early 70s, the pull of the mountains called them back, and they relocated the family to Floyd. A new life began there, and “The Robbins Girls” (by then teenagers) were unleashed on FCHS. Mom was often a substitute teacher at the high school and never balked at handing out extra lunch money to us so we could sneak into town and buy a burger at the drive-in. She and dad both worked at Hollingsworth & Vose for many years.
When she retired she volunteered at Angels in the Attic and brought home more lamps than are on display at Target. She was an avid bridge player and was never far from a deck of cards. She could play bridge with friends, Scopa (an Italian card game) with us, or solitaire when alone. Cards and good friends kept her sharp to the end, and her girls and grandkids kept her active.
She moved from Floyd to English Meadows Senior Living in Blacksburg a year and a half ago. Although reluctant (putting it mildly) to leave Floyd, she eventually settled in and enjoyed new friends, bingo games, trips out with other residents, and of course, playing bridge.
Mom is preceded in death by her husband, Bill Robbins; her father and mother, Frank and Delina Bucca; her brother, Bob Bucca; in-laws, Gifford and Alma Robbins; brothers-in-law, Gip and Joe Robbins, and her much loved son-in-law, Kent Quesenberry. We suspect a riotous party is in progress beyond the Pearly Gates, and for that we apologize.
She leaves behind one brother, Frank, Jr (Connie) Bucca. Mom was adored by her sister-in-law, Joyce Robbins (the Ethel to her Lucy), plus six other sisters and brothers-in-laws, and nieces and nephews spread out from the East Coast to Texas.
Mom especially indulged her grandchildren to the point that their pediatricians were alarmed at their cholesterol levels after a weekend with Nana. But Italian grandmothers feed both the body and the soul, and her grandbabies were no exception. She also leaves behind Allison (Ben) Frye, Galax; Cara (Will) Frye Bumpass, Va; Adelina (David) Asher, Blacksburg; Sean (Shelby) Krayer, Buena Vista, Co; Hanna (pup, Molly) Krayer, Ft. Collins, Co; Billie (Kerry) Quesenberry, Floyd; Jessie (Wes) Turpin, Floyd; plus great-grandchildren, Jackson, Katelyn, Scarlett, Ivy, Henry, Nora, and a new baby boy, due soon.
And, of course, she will be missed every day by her four daughters who inherited her love of food, laughter, life, and the DNA chops for a good argument, Robin (Chris) VanCantfort, Ocean Pines, Md; Dee Dee (Michael) Papit, Brownsburg, Va; Tina (Paul) Krayer, Fairlawn; and Joni (Kent, dec.), Quesenberry, Floyd.
Arrivederci, Mom! The spaghetti water is boiling, and we will lift a glass to you and celebrate your long life. Visitation was held at 11:00 a.m. till 12:00 p.m., Saturday, January 20, with a funeral service that followed immediately at All Saints Roman Catholic Church, Floyd.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomed donations to All Saints Roman Catholic Church in Floyd, one of her favorite places to be.
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