Kate Robinson was the youngest child of Johnny and Oliaver Hill Robinson and was born on August 2, 1935, in Tipton County, Tennessee. Her parents and three siblings John “Mutt” Robinson, Sadie L. Jones and Lena C. Banks all preceded her in death.
Kate came to St. Louis after graduating high school looking for a better future. Upon arriving in St. Louis, she began working at Johnny’s Cafe. Andrew “Buddy” Thomas (d. May 17, 1993) worked nearby and used to frequently come in for lunch where he met and took a liking to Kate. After their courtship, Kate and Buddy were married on November 8, 1957. Upon marriage, they purchased a three-story family home in St. Louis, Missouri. Family always inhabited those three floors: Kate’s siblings and their spouses and Buddy’s father.
Buddy was a hard worker which enabled Kate to stay at home and focus on raising the family. To this union three children were born: Beverly Diane, Andrew J., Jr. (Jayne) and Johnny E. (Marti). Despite neither having more than a middle/high school education, they could have taught a master class in life lessons which ultimately provided the foundation for their children to understand the importance and value of higher education. As evidence of that sage advice, Beverly graduated from St. Louis University, Andy graduated from Dartmouth College and Georgetown University Law School before pursuing a legal career and Johnny graduated from the University of Missouri St. Louis, Webster University, Lindenwood University and Missouri Baptist University and started a career in education (retired). Kate is also survived by her grandchildren: Samantha, John, Jr., and SaraRachel Thomas of St. Louis, Missouri, Anneliese of Chicago, Illinois, Kiersten of New York City, New York and Andrew D. Thomas of Ponte Vedra, Florida; her sister-in-law Ruby Kate Robinson (John “Mutt”) of St. Louis, Missouri and a nephew Will “Jack” (Tina) Robinson of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, as well as a host of other relatives and friends.
Kate professed her hope in Christ at an early age at the Canaan Grove Baptist Church in Tennessee. When she came to St. Louis, she joined Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and later Union Missionary Baptist Church where she served on the Pastor’s Aide Committee and assisted in many fundraisers and special programs (until her health prevented her from attending).
The foundation of how Kate built and lived her life resulted from being spoiled by her father and having the love of her mother and family. If you were blessed to know her, you became a part of her extended family. She was an excellent cook and took great pleasure in providing soul food and food for the soul to family and friends. If she had it, she shared it.
As her health began to fail her, Kate was unable to do many of the things that she enjoyed like traveling, gardening, and cooking. Although she was unable to visit her son and his family in Florida or her Tennessee friends and relatives, she loved communicating via the phone with family and friends both near and far. Since she loved flowers but was unable to plant and maintain them, her nieces Stella Jenkins and Corene (Ken) Hardy with the encouragement of their sisters Lillie Robinson and May Dean would handle her spring floral planting each year. When she was no longer able to cook, a caravan of relatives (Jackie and Clayton Grigsby, Sr., Rhonnie Robinson, Carlin and Adrian McGlown, Clayton Jr. and Christian, André and Trell Robinson with their children and grandchildren) would come to St. Louis, take over her kitchen and fill the house with all of her favorite foods.
It is said you can’t choose your family, but the following individuals became Kate’s family with their frequent phone calls and visits treating her as their “other mother” or “Aunt Kate”: Phyllis Atkinson, Shirley Griffin, Maria and Jack Lawrence, Sandra Smith Rayner, Verna and Willie Sims, Edna and Jerry Stegall, and Regina Watson.