James Kenneth Robinson '33 | Handley 100th Notable
James Kenneth Robinson ’33

Known as the “Gentleman from Virginia” and “The Rock of Gibraltar” by his colleagues in the U. S. House of Representatives, J. Kenneth Robinson represented Virginia’s Seventh District for 14 years. At the time of his retirement in 1984, the Richmond News Leader wrote that he was quiet, solid, dependable, and wise. He distained the hollow theatrics that win headlines. He won the respect of his colleagues and that was far more valuable to him than 15 seconds on the evening news.

Kenneth Robinson was Valedictorian and President of the Class of 1933. He earned his BA in Horticulture at VPI in 1937. He served as Commander of B Company in the Corps of Cadets and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation. Although a Quaker, he rose to the rank of Major in the Infantry during World War II and was a life member of the American Legion.

Following the war, Kenneth Robinson returned to Winchester to manage the family orchards and farms. He became an instructor for an on-the-farm training program for veterans under the G. I. Bill of Rights.

He served as the President of the Agricultural Conference Board of Virginia, of the Frederick County Fruit Growers Association, and of the Rotary Club of Winchester. Prior to serving as President of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, Kenneth served as a Page in the Court of Queen Shenandoah I along with Harry F. Byrd, Jr.

Kenneth Robinson joined the Senate of Virginia in 1965 when Harry F. Byrd, Jr was elected to the U. S. Senate. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1970. He served on the Defense and Agriculture Subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee and on the Select Committee on Intelligence. 

He had an understanding that not all issues are partisan politics and that you need flexibility in public affairs. He worked well with both sides of the aisle to find real, workable solutions to the varied and complex issues facing America’s defense and intelligence communities. He went to the Congress to serve and served his constituents well.

In addition to his Congressional duties, he was a member of the Dulles International Airport Development Commission in the 1960s and early 1970s and served as the Chair of the Board of Visitors for the US Air Force Academy 1975-76.

The main post office in Winchester and the Virginia Route 37 Parkway in Frederick County were named in his honor.

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