Carla Robinson, 59

IT developer, photographer, jazz enthusiast and Bears fan

Carla Robinson, 1959-2019 (Contributed photo)


Carla Geraldine Robinson, a longtime Hyde Parker who worked in information technology, passionately pursued a photography hobby and was an inveterate Bears fan, died on Nov. 10 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital from a tissue infection. She was 58.

Robinson was born on Dec. 5, 1959, the second child to Andrew Goodwin Robinson and Edna Lucille Robinson Jackson of Chicago; they later divorced, and her mother married C. Roy Jackson. She spent her early pre-school days in the care of her grandparents, Geraldine and Robert Algernon Livisay, in Ironton, Ohio, near Huntington, West Virginia. She was the baby of the family — neither of her parents had siblings, so she was also the delight of her other grandmother, Annabell Robinson.

Robinson and her older sister, Paula, who survives her, attended St. Thomas the Apostle School, 5467 S. Woodlawn Ave., where Annabell met them every Sunday for Mass followed by their ritual breakfast at Walgreens in the Hyde Park Shopping Center, 1554 E. 55th St. They both sang in the children’s choir under the direction of Father Oldershaw and took part in the annual musical productions. They participated in Hyde Park Neighborhood Club after-school programs and the Hyde Park YMCA’s summer and winter camp. She graduated from Kenwood High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., in 1977

She attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she joined Delta Sigma Theta, and later studied at Hampton University in Virginia, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola University Chicago, where she completed a computer science degree. She had been pursuing a master’s degree from Loyola University at the time of her death.

After beginning her career as a program analyst with Sonicraft, Swithcraft and GNB Battery, Robinson’s professional career path took footing at RR Donnelley in 1997, when she was hired as an IT developer. She worked there for more than two decades in Chicago and its suburbs.

She was an avid photographer, regularly taking classes at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., and annually shooting the Bud Billiken Parade, the Chicago Marathon, Bike the Drive and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Her other hobbies included woodworking and scouting antique flea markets for her collection of vintage cigar tins, Cream of Wheat advertising prints and cast metal pigs. She created gifts of custom wood boxes and photographic calendars for Christmas gifts. She was an all-weather Chicago Bears fan and Tennessee whiskey connoisseur. She enjoyed travelling — she went on the Rainbow/PUSH trip for the Anniversary March on Washington — and live jazz performances.

Known for her “Soup’s On” gatherings and football parties at her home, Robinson was looking forward to entertaining on her 60th Birthday, knowing that the Bears had a home game against the Dallas Cowboys. A celebration of life and “Soup’s On” gathering in her memory is planned on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Room43, 1039 E. 43rd St., where she frequented Hyde Park Jazz Society events.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a year’s end contribution be made in her name to Timeless Gifts (P.O. Box 7279, Chicago, IL 60680, or, a nonprofit youth program for the performing arts under the artistic direction of Joan Collaso, one of Robinson’s favorite local jazz artists. Mourners are also invited to attend the Timeless Gifts’ 10th-annual Christmas duets mentoring concert on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.