Robeson, Martha Howard

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Martha Howard Robeson died on Oct. 20, 2016 in her condo at the Warm Hearth retirement community.


She was a fan of the Washington Redskins and Virginia Tech, and her caregiver reported that she enjoyed the Thursday night Miami game, won by Tech, and then she had a breathing problem and died. She was 96 years old.

Molly was the daughter of the late Frank Leigh and Mary Matthews Robeson, and was preceded in death by two sisters, Helen M. Robeson, and Mary R. Pendleton. A sister, Amenta R. Sjogren, Locust Grove, Virginia, and a brother, Andrew Robeson, Blacksburg, survive.

Molly grew up in Blacksburg, where her father was on the faculty at V.P.I.. She graduated from Blacksburg High School in 1938, and from V.P.I. in 1942. Her major was physics, and she was immediately hired and went to work as a test engineer for Wright Aeronautical Corporation in Paterson, New Jersey. Her job for four years was testing engines for B-17 Flying Fortresses.

After the war, she returned to Blacksburg, but shortly afterward she took a job with Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, which was established to gather data on bomb victims.

She flew from Washington to Anchorage and then to Tokyo. After two years in Japan, she returned home by ship, traveling west to Singapore, Bombay and Suez. On her desk was a picture of her and two traveling companions on camels with the Pyramids in the background.

Molly, after a brief stay in Blacksburg, began her career in Washington, where she became a staff secretary with the World Bank. Whenever the opportunity arose, she traveled. In her accumulated collections, pamphlets, guide books and other travel items, were more than fifteen European, Far Eastern, and Asian countries, when she retired, she continued to travel.

Moscow and St. Petersburg: Holland, Australia, and New Zealand. In Australia, she rode the train with a Blacksburg friend, across from the east to the west (Indian Ocean). She remarked that she lost a day when she sailed home from Japan, and on one of her last trips. She flew to Singapore and traveled by boat to Hong Kong via Saigon. Coming home, she recovered her lost day.

A Memorial Gathering for Molly will be held in the Social Room of Christ Episcopal Church at 2 p.m. Monday. Family, caregivers and friends are invited to attend.