She Took Pride in Teaching History

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan Sarkauskas

Marilyn Robinson loved learning and teaching the history of Batavia.

Whether it was helping third-graders with their annual local history study, or looking up information on a long-lost relative for a person filling out a family tree, she gladly helped, taking pride in providing accurate information.

Robinson, the historian of the Batavia Historical Society, died Tuesday evening at her home. She was in her 70s.

She moved from El Paso, Ill., to Batavia in the 1960s to teach business skills at Batavia High School. It was there she met the future co-author of a Batavia history book, as she taught "Notehand" note-taking skills to junior Jeff Schielke.

The next year, she supervised the yearbook staff, and emphasized the importance of making sure everything in it was accurate, Schielke, now Batavia's mayor, said. She told the staff that 100 years from then some person may use the yearbook to learn information about an ancestor, and that the teens' work should be able "to withstand the test of history and time."

In 1997, she and Schielke updated "John Gustafson's Historic Batavia." They expanded on some events, such as Sen. John F. Kennedy's visit to Batavia in 1960, and downplayed claims from earlier history books that couldn't be proven, such as a story that Abraham Lincoln had visited Batavia. …