Richard (Dick) Robinson died suddenly on Saturday, June 5 while walking on trails at Peaked Hill with his son Maurice (Reece) Robinson and former wife and close confidante Helen Benham. He was 84.

Mr. Robinson was CEO and chairman of the board at the global educational company Scholastic Inc. for 46 years. Like his father Maurice Richard (Robbie) Robinson, who founded the company, Dick worked full time until the moment of his death. Under his leadership, Scholastic published thousands of books for children including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Babysitters Club, Goosebumps, Captain Underpants, The Hunger Games and the phenomenal Harry Potter series. Through the company’s book clubs and book fairs, children of all socio-economic backgrounds had access to paperback books at low cost. Literacy for all was Dick’s lifetime commitment.

Scholastic is best known for its successful book publishing, but Dick was just as dedicated to the educational initiatives of the company. They included magazines for children, teachers and parents, and programs to support classroom teachers, including most recently digital lessons for both teachers and parents to use for at-home learning during the Covid pandemic. Scholastic’s supplementary and educational programs were focused on inspiring and teaching children how to read and build their knowledge of history and current events, and to enjoy the pleasure of reading.

In the last two years of his life, he had ongoing conversations with his sons John Benham Robinson and Maurice Robinson and with Helen Benham, who worked at Scholastic for 33 years, about his keen interest in moving the company into the digital age to reach parents directly. When not working, he spent most of his time with his children and former wife, either in New York or on the Vineyard. It became a top priority for him to spend time with his family and also for the Scholastic legacy continue. While he had no plans to leave Scholastic, he expressed a strong desire to work less and spend more time with his family on the Vineyard, where he was most at ease and happiest. He jogged daily on South Road and was often seen reading outside the family’s barn. He loved picking up oysters at Stanley’s in Menemsha and shopping at Cronig’s and farmstands for family meals.

Covid left him alone, working 12-hour days at Scholastic’s New York headquarters. His only breaks were weekends on the Island, which he called paradise. Having spent time on the Island since his college years, Dick wanted a permanent home here for his family. He and Helen Benham purchased a home at Windy Gates in Chilmark in 1992. Their son Benham resides there year-round, and Reece and Helen live there part-time.

He is survived by his children John Benham Robinson and Maurice Robinson; his former wife Helen Benham; siblings Sue Robinson Morrill, Barbara Robinson Buckland, Florence (Dover) Robinson Ford and William (Bill) Robinson.

Donations can be made to Reach Out And Read Massachusetts.