Clinton Lee Robinson was born August 20, 1947, to the late John Lacy and Willa Saloon Moore Robinson in Dunn, North Carolina. Affectionately called “Red” as a child, Clinton was born as the 8th of 10 children. God called him home to rest on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, after being transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
In 1963, while still in high school, he participated in the United States Civil Rights Movement. He was jailed for several days for participating in a “sit-in” at an establishment that refused to serve Black people at its counter. After that day he became an advocate of the call for justice and equality for African Americans.
After graduating from Harnett High School of Dunn, NC in 1965, he attended Fayetteville State College (University) for a brief period. He was drafted into the United States Army where he completed a tour in the Vietnam conflict for which he received a certificate of achievement for duties served. After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the military, in 1968, he married his high school sweetheart, Mary Alice Newkirk. From this union, their son, Norbert Lee was born. Later, he along with his wife and son moved to New Haven, CT.
At an early age, Clinton accepted Christ in the AME church and attended Trinity AME Zion in Dunn, NC. In 1970 Clinton and his family became members of Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hamden, CT where he served God by working in many capacities. Clinton was a “We Are One” Ministry Group Leader helping the Pastor identify and meet the congregation’s spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. He served as a chairperson of the Deacon board prior to its renaming to the Diaconate Ministry. In 2022, he was elected as chairperson of the Diaconate Ministry, which he served until his transition. He was also a member of the Faith in Action Ministry, Wellness Ministry, Joshua Generation Ministry, and Christian Education Ministry. He also served as Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church’s Summer Camp Youth Leader.
In 1977, Clinton received a certificate from Waterbury State Technical College in Waterbury, CT for completing a Communication for Management and Business course. Because the importance of education was passed down from his parents, he went back to school. In 1979, he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University (formerly “Southern Connecticut State College”) in New Haven, CT. He completed a course of study at the New Mexico Center for conflict resolution in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1991. He used his training in his volunteer work with Juvenile Matters of New Haven for several years, and during those years he was a big brother to at-risk youth.
On May 6, 1979, Clinton was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated (Mu Psi Chapter). He spent many years serving as an active member of the brotherhood in New Haven (Eta Alpha Lambda) and served as chapter president. Clinton was also a member of the NAACP and served on the scholarship committee, voter registration drive, and souvenir journal for the Annual Freedom Fund Dinner. He received a Certificate of Life Membership award from the NAACP in May 1996. Clinton was a founding member of the Amistad Committee, Incorporated — a group organized to commemorate the work of the first Amistad Committee, which raised funds for the legal defense and the return voyage of freed Africans involved in the 1839 Amistad incident. He fervently served on the executive board for 45 years. Clinton served on the Peace Commission of New Haven, traveling to Russia with a nationwide delegation of peace activists. He was also the president of the Connecticut African American Historical Society. Clinton received multiple awards in his lifetime in recognition of his unwavering service including the 2002 Greater New Haven NAACP Rev. Dr. Edwin Edmonds Community Service Award, and the West Haven Black Coalition Community Service Award in 2010 and 2020.
He was employed at New Haven Manufacturing Company as a supervisor and a senior planner, Community Mediation, Inc. as a Peer Mediation Trainer, and New Haven Family Alliance, Inc. as a Case Manager. In 2013 he retired from Yale University School of Medicine as a Child Advocate for Child Development–Community Policing Program. After retirement, he continued to work as a substitute teacher in New Haven Public Schools until he transitioned.
Clinton was a very loving husband, father, grandfather and uncle. He was sociable and had a great sense of humor. Passionate about youth development, Clinton poured into his granddaughters, but would also often be found engaging with youth in the community and encouraging them to strive for their best. He was very active in youth programs at his church and in the community.
When he was not working, Clinton could be found listening to music and watching Westerns or debating about sports and politics. During the pandemic, he discovered his love for art and could be found coloring on his phone or doing “scratch art”. He also encouraged kids in the classroom to express themselves through drawing.
To cherish his memories he leaves his wife, Mary, son Norbert Lee, daughter in love Kelley Ph.D., and three granddaughters, Niara, Marietta, GA, Niya, and Nadia, Baltimore, MD. Godson, Byron A. Roberts, New Haven, CT. Three sisters, Willia George, Marietta, GA, Cleta Still, Triangle, VA, Elnora DeRenzo, Chester, PA. Four brothers, Willie C. Robinson Ph.D., Miami FL, Karl E. Robinson (June) Southington, CT, Lonnie Robinson (Debra), Miami Lakes, FL, Neill D. Robinson (Deborah, DNP) Miami Lakes, FL. Nine nephews, eight nieces, many grand nieces, grand nephews, and a host of cousins and friends.
He is pre-deceased by two brothers, John T. Robinson and Frederick D. Robinson, and one nephew Bernard DeRenzo.
“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 NCV
A celebration of Mr. Robinson’s life and dlegacy will be held Friday, July 28, 2023 at 11:00 A.M.* at Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church, 782 Orchard St., New Haven. A viewing will be held at the church from 9:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. Burial will be in Beaverdale Memorial Park, 90 Pine Rock Ave., New Haven.
A scholarship has been established in Clinton Robinson’s name. Please consider contributing to this fund to support the education of New Haven youth that Clinton loved so much.
Contributions can be sent to Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church (CTBC) in Hamden, CT via check or @Givelify https://giv.li/4cr85l PLEASE INDICATE:CLINTON LEE ROBINSON Scholarship in the notes.
*The Service will be livestreamed. Please click on one of the following links to view the livestream: