Late library trustee honored with memorial bench in Leyden

Wife and husband Nancy Robbins Federici and Dave Federici, pictured next to the memorial bench at Robertson Memorial Library in Leyden that was dedicated to Nancy’s late father, Trueman Robbins.

Wife and husband Nancy Robbins Federici and Dave Federici, pictured next to the memorial bench at Robertson Memorial Library in Leyden that was dedicated to Nancy’s late father, Trueman Robbins. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

The memorial bench dedicated to the late Trueman Robbins and his dog Tucker outside of Robertson Memorial Library in Leyden.

The memorial bench dedicated to the late Trueman Robbins and his dog Tucker outside of Robertson Memorial Library in Leyden. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 10-25-2023 4:32 PM

LEYDEN — Late in life, Trueman Robbins became a community fixture at Robertson Memorial Library.

Serving as a library trustee, Robbins became the unofficial greeter at the tiny Greenfield Road building. Faithfully accompanied by his “library dog” Tucker, Robbins would read to children, help patrons pick out books, and swap stories and share advice with his many friends.

Though Robbins died in 2020 at the age of 92, visitors to the library will continue to remember him — and Tucker — through a newly dedicated memorial bench that was recently installed by the Highway Department.

Robbins’ neighbors and family members gathered on the hillside on Saturday to share stories about Robbins and his multiple dogs, and to remember how the community came together to support him later in life.

“If he didn’t have you folks, he would have been the loneliest man,” said Robbins’ son-in-law Dave Federici, addressing the crowd of Robbins’ neighbors.

According to his obituary, Robbins was born in 1928 in Lexington. He enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, and eventually earned the World War II Metal of Victory.

Although he enrolled, Robbins never finished his degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“He only stayed a semester at UMass,” his daughter Nancy Robbins Federici explained. “He wanted to go out and learn and know the land.”

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

PHOTOS: Fight prompts brief traffic backup on Hope Street in Greenfield
Sunderland Bridge being reduced to one-lane traffic next week
Div. 5 softball: Turners Falls father-daughter duo of assistant coach Jay Liimatainen, pitcher Madi Liimatainen celebrate Father’s Day weekend as state champions
Div. 5 softball: Turners Falls blanks Georgetown 5-0, captures MIAA-record 11th state championship in program history (PHOTOS)
In new hands, Green River Festival returns with headliners CAKE, Fleet Foxes and Gregory Alan Isakov
Mutton and Mead organizers chart new course with ‘Roads to Revelry’

He had a long career in horticulture, starting out as an arborist with Frost & Higgins Co. of Arlington and later assuming the position of vice president of the Northampton branch. He retired in 1990 after 45 years in the field, according to his obituary. Robbins Federici mentioned her father would travel wherever she was living to help her with landscaping work.

Robbins built his dream home in Leyden, a feat that was quite impressive given he grew up so poor that his family didn’t have plumbing until his teen years, according to Robbins Federici. There, he found a supportive community.

“If it wasn’t for everyone here in Leyden ...” Robbins Federici began. “You guys made his life so fantastic.”

Bella Levavi can be reached at blevavi@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.