Friday, November 13, 2009

The Cameraman

Nick is good people. I like him better than I like my story about him.

Published April 1, 2005, in the Keizertimes

Nick Robinson’s grandchildren know him as “Papa Nick.”

He’s hoping to hear that phrase a lot more often now that he’s retired from his position as manager of the Keizer Shutterbug location.

“My grandkids are still young enough that grandpa is still kind of cool, but in a few years I’ll just be an old man,” said Robinson, 61.

Shutterbug chose to close the Keizer location upon Robinson’s retirement, but other area locations will remain open.

Anyone who knows Robinson is probably at least a little jealous of his grandchildren Cameron, 4, Taylor, 9, and Jordan, 11. Robinson’s easy manner and welcoming smile are often enough to wash away most tribulations – and if you’ve been in the store before chances are he’ll remember you.

“What I’ve enjoyed about Keizer is it still has the small-town feel despite its growing population,” said Robinson, a resident of Silverton. “Customers here are more than people who give me money. I usually know a little about them and their families.”

Robinson lost his wife Pat last year and took leave from his post at Shutterbug to care for her in her final five weeks. Despite the hardship, he describes the time as a “celebration of our 39 years of marriage.”

During one of the many conversations the couple had in those final weeks Pat reminded Nick that while her book was coming to an end, he was just beginning a new chapter in his.

“It was something I’ve taken to heart. I’ve been a workaholic for 20 years, but there are some other things I want to do now,” Robinson said.

In addition to spending more time with his grandchildren, Robinson is hoping to fit in some traveling– to Eastern Oregon and to his family’s ancestral town in Greece.

Of course, he’ll have camera in-hand.

“Photography has been a passion for me since junior high school when I began taking sports photos for the Silverton Appeal Tribune,” he said.

He later worked as the advertising and business manager of the newspaper.

Robinson is also planning to do some volunteering work with the Start Making A Reader Today program in elementary schools and at the Silverton pool.

“We’ve got a wonderful covered pool out there and it’s closed most of the year so I’m hoping to find groups that would be willing take advantage of it so we can keep it open year round,” said Robinson.

Robinson was a swimming coach for 12 years and the sport played a large role in his son’s life.

“Pat told me that I had done a lot of things to make Silverton a better place, but I’m not finished yet. I’ve found projects that still need my attention,” he said.

Wherever he ends up, Robinson will surely have no problems leaving a mark. He’s left an indelible one on his customers in Keizer.

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