Walter Stitt Robinson

Memorial service for Walter Stitt Robinson, 96, Lawrence, KS will be held 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at First United Methodist Church. Private inurnment will be held at Pioneer Cemetery

Stitt was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1917. He graduated from Central High School of Charlotte and completed his B.A. degree at Davidson College, 1939 summa cum laude. He received his M.A. degree in history at the University of Virginia before entering military service for four years in November 1941. He rose to the rank of Captain in the82nd Airborne Division and engaged in combat in an airborne glider unit in the invasion of Southern France in August 1944, the Battle of the Bulge, and the airborne crossing of the Rhine in Germany in March 1945. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Germany. He was a member of the faculty of Northwest Alabama University, 1946-48, before completing his Ph.D. in history at the University of Virginia in 1950. He then joined the faculty of the University of Kansas where he served as chair of the Department of History, 1968-73, before retiring in 1988.

He published eleven books and over thirty articles. Among his publications were The Southern Colonial Frontier, 1607-1763 in the Histories of the American Frontier, a biography of Governor James Glen of Colonial South Carolina, and five volumes of Indian Treaties in Early American Indian Documents: Treaties and Laws, 1607-1789. In support of his work, he received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council, the American Philosophical Society, and the General Research Fund of the University of Kansas. He was a Fellow of the Institute for Advance Study in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1983. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Scholarship Award at the University of Kansas, 1976. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Raven Society of the University of Virginia, and the honor society of History, Phi Alpha Theta, where he served as international president, 1984-86. In his professional career, he was affiliated with the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the Southern Historical Association. He was also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha social fraternity and American Legion.

Among other professional and community services, he served on the National Civil War Centennial Commission. He was president of the Kansas State Historical Society, the Kansas School of Religion, and the Douglas County Historical Society. He was chair of the Program Committee for the national meeting of the Organization of American Historians in 1959 and chair of the Kansas Committee for the Humanities, 1975-78 (now the Kansas Humanities Council). He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Lawrence and participated regularly on a rotating team of Sunday School teachers for over fifty years.

Survivors include his wife, Constance Mock Robinson, a daughter, Barry Robinson Cook and husband,Bob, of Leawood, Kansas, a son, Walter Lee, and a grandson, Trevor Lee of Seattle, Washington. Also surviving is his sister, Barry Hemby of Charlotte, North Carolina; and numerous nephews and nieces.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the KU Endowment Association in memory of Walter Stitt Robinson or First United Methodist Church and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

6 Condolences

  1. dan holt on June 24, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Dear Connie and family: We were greatly saddened to learn of Stitt’s passing. He was a fine man, as well as someone who shared so much with his colleagues and students. We feel grateful to have known him. Our sympathy to you, his family. Sincerely, Dan and Marilyn Holt

  2. Mary Lou Reece on June 24, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Connie and Walter,
    Many blessings follow such a good man in a good life. I am so thankful to have had Stitt as a teacher and a friend. I loved him. May God grant you peace and comfort in your difficult times ahead. What a gracious man he was, what a good life he led. Blessings on each of you and the rest of the family.
    In Christ,
    Mary Lou Reece

  3. James A. Thomas on June 25, 2014 at 5:05 am

    To the family of Walter “Stitt” Robinson:

    Kansas and History has lost one of its most honored sons, a man who devoted his life to scholarship and reverence of our storied past. As fellow member of the Board of the Kansas Historical Foundation, and Phi Alpha Theta, I know Stitt’s contribution to the study and preservation of the history of the American early frontier, Native American treaties and the Civil War will long be remembered. He was gracious and humble being loved by his peers and students. May God wrap His loving embrace about you at this time of sorrow. We all shall miss Stitt’s smile and candor.

  4. Jeff Bandle on June 25, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Dear Connie –
    I am so sorry on hearing of the passing of Stitt. I admired him greatly as he was always able to share his wisdom and good cheer whenever I had the chance to talk to him. I especially enjoyed the discussions we would have at the Sunday school sessions I had the privilege to lead. He was a fine man and you two have been a fantastic couple. Please don’t hesitate to contact Cris or myself if you need anything. We will keep you and your family in our prayers…Jeff Bandle

  5. Peter Mancall on June 27, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Dear Connie and family,

    I am so sorry to hear of Stitt’s passing. When Lisa and I arrived at KU in 1989 he and you were so welcoming to us. He was a wonderful historian and a gracious senior colleague to me. We will always remember him with deep fondness. Please know that you are in our thoughts.

    With our condolences,

    Peter and Lisa

  6. Rita (Haugh) Oates on July 2, 2014 at 8:42 am

    To the family,
    I enjoyed speaking with Stitt briefly last spring at an event at KU. I was so impressed to see him and Connie at a forum on social media in February, ready with some questions for the panelists. “Gentleman and scholar” were apt descriptions. His many contributions to KU and its students were invaluable. Sending peace and sympathy for your loss, Rita

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