Robin Elizabeth Phillippi DiGeorgio passed away at Island Hospital in the early hours of July 23, 2015, with her dear friend Keri Stone by her side. Robin was born April 12th, 1942, in Evanston, Ill. Her father, Peter DiGeorge Phillippi, was an advertising designer in New York City and Connecticut. Her mother, Barbara Mary Schroyer Phillippi, was a weaver. It was a bohemian household. Robin’s alternative upbringing created fertile ground for her time as an art student at the University of Cincinnati, as a songwriter in the San Francisco music scene and pioneer spirit in the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s.
As a young woman, Robin was briefly married to Jeff Olson. She lived for a short while in Canada and Minnesota, then moved out west to San Francisco. There, she wrote songs and sang on the streets and in coffee houses and ran a business trucking organic vegetables into the city. In the mid 70s, she spent time in Guerneville, CA, before heading north to Orcas Island. Her first island home was a tepee in Dolphin Bay. Later she built a small octagonal cabin on Tom Lavender’s farm where she raised chickens and grew the first of many fine vegetable gardens. Robin once panned for gold in Alaska. After that, she lived in downtown Olga, then bought her beloved home in Doe Bay where she lived for the rest of her life.
She wore many hats during her working years on Orcas: a landscaper/gardener; caregiver/hospice worker; dishwasher at Bilbo’s; and proprietor of her own business, Zebra Graphics. Never one to sit idle, while recuperating from an injury, Robin worked in pen and ink to create an exquisite collection of botanical drawings. And during a cold winter in Doe Bay she developed her “Pioneer Series” of cards – wonderful old-time recipes framed in vintage quilt patterns with short biographies honoring a past generation of island women. Robin was a veritable “cat whisperer,” caring for, loving and taming many cats over the course of her lifetime.
Robin loved the Orcas Island community and volunteered her services to many groups, including the Orcas Center, OPAL, the Historical Society and the Doe Bay Community Association. She was a proud and cherished member of the Madrona Club for 19 years, 10 of which she served as president.
Robin was truly fearless in her life and always open to new thought and adventure. Her loyal friendship, deep wisdom, creative energy and joyful laugh will live on in us, the lucky friends and neighbors who were so very fortunate to know and love her. Robin’s sense of adventure followed her into the last hours of her life: when asked if she was afraid, she replied, “No, I’m curious.”
She is survived by her sister, Elsa Louise Phillippi Cline; her niece, Rachel Elizabeth Cline Capps (Cory Capps); and Rachel’s children, Zachary Ronan and Harper Lucille.
A memorial is being planned and will be announced at a later date. Donations in remembrance of Robin can be made to the Madrona Club Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 361 Eastsound, WA 98245, the Orcas Island Animal Shelter, 848 Hope Lane, Eastsound, WA 98245, or to a charity of your choice.