Fannie Ernestine “Teeny” Robey, 91, of Greenup, passed away July 25, 2020, at Alden Estates of Naperville from complications of Covid 19.
A drive by visitation for family and friends will be held from 1:00 to 2:00 pm at the Barkley Funeral Chapel in Greenup on Friday July 31, 2020. Private funeral services will be held and burial will be in the Greenup Cemetery.
Teeny was born on June 17, 1929, in Portsmouth, Ohio, to Lillian Beatrice (Allstott-Bauguss) and Ernest Wood. When she was three years old and during the Great Depression, her mother and her grandmother, also named Fannie, left Ohio. They walked with their children, Teeny included, to Terre Haute, IN. From there, they caught a ride on a cattle truck to Greenup, where other family took them in. Her family and friends always told her that this journey began her wanderlust, as she was always hitting the road to travel somewhere, including many trips with her daughters, Marilyn and Kathy, and her grandchildren. She visited many places, including a special trip to Hawaii with her granddaughter, Kelly, camping in Canada and Maine with her granddaughter, Haley, and numerous ski and Disney trips with grandchildren, Andreas, Nick and Chrissi. She traveled abroad to many countries in Europe, including England, Belgium, France, Germany, Cyprus, and The Netherlands, where she visited her exchange daughter, Ingrid. She also visited her daughter Kathy’s family in Hong Kong and Singapore.
After graduating from Greenup High School in 1947, she began work at the Ettelbrick Shoe Company. Two years later, she married William “Bill” Robey, whom she met in first grade. Together, they raised their two daughters. Besides spending time with their children and grandchildren, she and Bill enjoyed fishing, taking drives through the countryside, fish frys and playing pinochle with friends. Her tremendous strength and faith saw her through Bill’s sudden death in 1991.
Over the years, Teeny had many careers, including the shoe factory, Cumberland Rehab and Health Care, and the Life Center of Cumberland County. However, the job she is most remembered for was as a school bus driver. Many generations of Cumberland County residents had her as their driver. And if you were really lucky, and had her as your kindergarten bus driver, then you got to partake in a sing-a-long during your ride to and from school. Hundreds of children learned “The Wheels on the Bus” and other childhood songs from Teeny. She truly loved that job and the kids, but also made some of her closest friendships with the other drivers.
Many Cumberland County organizations greatly benefitted from her spirit of volunteerism. In her younger days, she was a regular at her daughters’ schools. But in recent years, she served as an election judge and was involved in the Historical Society, Home Extension Association, the Life Center and was a founding member and president of the Hootenanny, as dancing was one of her favorite pastimes. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenup and was involved in choir, Bible study and was president of the Women’s Association there. Also, she was a proud Democrat, an avid Cubs fan and never turned down a piece of pie.
More than anything, the thing she will be most remembered for, is her absolute devotion to her family. She was the epitome of the “mama bear,” always guiding, nurturing and protecting. She was their biggest cheerleader and for years, even had her own personal column in the local papers, “Lifestyles” by Ernestine Robey. Besides writing about the happenings around Cumberland County, much of the article was always about her children and grandchildren and what was going on in their lives. One thing’s for sure, you always knew how “absolutely incredible” her kids and grandkids were (wink wink). That being said, everyone needs an Ernestine Robey in their life - she always made you feel important, validated and loved. That is her greatest legacy.
Teeny is survived by her two daughters, Marilyn Cutler (Joe Wisman) of Lyons, IL, and Kathy (Charles) Damianides of Naperville, IL; five grandchildren, Kelly (Matt) Johnson of Brookfield, IL, Haley (Jason) Safranek of Normal, IL, Andreas (Kelly) Damianides of Naperville, IL, Nick (Brenna) Damianides of Naperville, IL, and Chrissi Damianides of Columbus, Ohio; and five great-grandchildren, Alex and Noah Safranek, Camden Johnson and Taryn and Tassos Damianides. Also surviving are her two brothers, David (Ruth) Myers, and Larry (Bev) Dennis; two sisters-in-law, Marjorie Raymer and Bea Robey; and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband; parents; step-father, Floyd Dennis; two sisters, Mary Helen and Pat; four sisters-in-law and one brother-in-law.
Although she lived with her daughters in the Chicago area for the past several years, a big piece of her heart always remained in Greenup and with the people of Cumberland County. In her honor, her family plans to form The Ernestine Robey Foundation to benefit organizations and causes in Cumberland County. The family plans to host a memorial service in the future and a yearly fundraiser in the Greenup area to support the foundation. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Ernestine Robey Foundation in care of Barkley Funeral Chapel PO box 381 Greenup, IL 62428. Online condolences can be expressed at www.barkleyfuneralchapels.com
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