Elizabeth Ann ( Betty) Robinson Eisner was born in Anna, Illinois, on November 21, 1921, her brother Jim's second birthday. She died peacefully on Thursday, May 21, 2020, at home.
She married Robert Eisner, Jr on February 2, 1944, in St Louis at her sister's home. He is of blessed memory (March 3, 2010) as are her parents, Lina Fred Oliver and John Robinson; sister Olive Robinson Hunter; and brothers John Frederic Robinson (Fayetteville, Arkansas); and James Oliver Robinson (Los Angeles).
Olive was sixteen when her sister arrived and she asked her mother specifically to allow her to choose the baby's name - not being too pleased with "Olive Ethel" at the time. The family was very close and traveled whenever possible to visit with Great Uncle J .G. Oliver, Aunt Lillian Oliver and Aunt Nell and Uncle Richie Young in Buffalo, Wyoming and Hollywood, California, in the 1920's and '30's after Betty's birth but also for many years before.
There were several aunts, uncles, and cousins in Anna and a next door neighbor who became almost a brother, Hal McCarty. In High School Betty was Football Queen as a junior in 1937 - her close friend Jane Hayes Rader took us to see the pictures which are displayed in the school hallway in August, 2017.
Johnny and Granny were always proud of having sent all four of their children to the University of Illinois for their degrees. Betty was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and had many treasured friends from those years.
Cousin Gene Robinson should have walked with Betty at their graduation ceremony, but he was already serving in the Navy. He resides in Sarasota, Florida.
After graduation in 1943, Betty returned to Anna where she taught in the elementary school for a semester before her wedding. Soon after the wedding and a brief honeymoon at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, they spent a short time at military postings before she once again returned to Anna and then St Louis for the birth of their first daughter, Jane.
The family expanded rapidly when Bob returned from his U.S. Army service in the Philippines. Nancy; Elizabeth (Louise), Staunton, VA; Robert III (Nina), Lexington, KY; and Ann (Geoff) joined Jane and were followed just a bit later by Katherine (Pat), Highlands Ranch, CO.
The grandchildren and their families include: Jennifer Shelby (Steph), Champaign; Rob Meyer (J.K.) and Leo, San Francisco; Kate Maggio (Carl) and Maggie, Champaign; Lisa Schroeder and Vivian, Edwardsville, IL; Nikki Diehl and Addison, Totowa, NJ; Kaitlyn Brooke (Francis), Washington DC; Robert Eisner IV, Lexington, KY; Clasey Schmaltz (Scott), Bud Lake, NJ; Evan Wilday (Brett) and Beau, Littleton, CO.
Betty was active in Dr. Howard PTA and often served as room mother. She enjoyed her bridge club, Service league, Social Science Club, the Carle Hospital Auxiliary, and was a founding member of the Elite 8 Investment Club. Needlepoint and knitting, especially baby blankets and caps, were regular projects. Betty joined the First Presbyterian Church in 1947. She was a Life Member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association and the President's Council; a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International; a season ticket holder for football and men's basketball since the 1940's and regular attendee at volleyball, baseball, softball, and women's basketball.
Her support of Bob with his insurance business and earlier the Eisner Grocery Company, Champaign Rotary, and community activities was unfailing. There were regular gatherings of friends on Friday night and dinner at the club on Saturday often with dancing. House guests on Illini football weekends were routine with Jim and Mary Ann Cunningham of Indianapolis topping the list. Travels to away games at Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa and both Michigans were planned well in advance and included many friends. Delray Beach, Florida was their favored winter destination for over 25 years. Attending the activities of the children and grandchildren and, when possible, the great grandchildren was an important pastime.
Marriage and family formed the centerpiece of her life. She met Bob in March, 1940 at the State High School Basketball Tournament in Huff Gym through a mutual friend. They were a good team for 70 years including 66 years of marriage.
Betty was a gracious and thoughtful hostess; a loving and supportive wife, mother and grandmother. She appreciated the small town upbringing of her childhood and set an example of a caring wife, daughter, parent and friend for each of us.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, Champaign; Champaign Rotary Foundaion; or the U of I Foundation.
The private graveside service on Wednesday, May 27, at Roselawn Cemetery will be officiated by Pastor Matt Matthews of the First Presbyterian Church. Arrangements have been completed by the Owens Funeral Home.
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First Presbyterian Church of Champaign
302 W. Church St., Champaign IL 61820