Elaine Frances Sotnick Robbins, 94, passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at The Windsor Memory Care facility. Our mother was born November 8.1924, to Dora and Abe Sotnick nearly two hours before her beloved twin sister, Esther. The youngest of five girls including an older set of twins, she was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Sotnicks were a strong political family and passed their values to all five daughters. As a result, she developed a strong passion for activism both on a local and federal level. In 1946, Elaine and Esther made a trek to Gainesville, Florida, to visit a sister, Meriam , and brother-in-law who was stationed at Camp Blanding. It was in Gainesville she met the love of her life, Irvin “Yitzi” Robbins…and it only took five dates for her to accept his proposal of marriage. Reluctantly, she left the big city life Cleveland offered to settle in a small southern town in North Florida.
Not to say she wasn’t madly in love with her new husband and happily looking forward to a wonderful future, but she often lamented about her love of the big city and likened small town Gainesville to a “25 watt bulb.” But, she settled in with her new husband and together became life partners in marriage and business. As business partners, they worked hard to successfully open businesses well known to this day to the community. Along with the rest of the Robbins brothers, this included the Rose Theatre, the Robbins Department Store in Starke, Fl, The Personality Shop, the L&L/Stag and Drag, which were run by Irvin’s older brothers, Alex, and Leon, and the legendary Gator Shop
In addition to their business ventures, Elaine and Irvin were pillars of the Gainesville Jewish Community serving in many capacities at B’nai Israel Synagogue. Along with the rest of the Robbins family, they spent many years in leadership capacities devoting themselves to the growth of the synagogue.
One could say Elaine was one of the first feminists actively joined in protests against the Viet Nam War, Civil Rights, and women’s rights. She was a strong independent women who raised strong independent children, who raised strong independent children.
Included in her passions was the love of animals One could always find at least two pets among the family whom she had the uncanny ability of humanizing and treating as if they were her children..(they were). Her talents also included making magnificent needlepoint and bargello pillows, and baking the best cheesecakes ever!
After 62 years of marriage, Irvin preceded Elaine in death along with her parents, Dora and Abe Sotnick, her sisters Sanna Deutchman, Meriam Rosen, Mona Cramer, and her daughter-in-law Ornah Becker Robbins.
She leaves behind her loving twin sister Esther Sobo, her children Jane Robbins, Dale Robbins, Dr. Marc Robbins and her granddaughters, Alison Robbins, Abby Robbins, Maya Robbins and many many nieces and nephews whom she dearly loved.
While a beautiful light was dimmed today, her legacy of joy and passion will live on with her loving family.
Graveside Services will be held at B’Nai Israel Cemetery, Monday, September 23, 2019 at 11 a.m. For those who wish, contributions may be made to Congregation B’Nai Israel 3830 NW 16th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32605Arrangements are in the care of MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES, 311 South Main Street, Gainesville FL 32601, 352 376 5361 www.milamfh.com