PHENIX CITY, Ala. — Offering help to any one who asked for it. That’s the legacy Phenix City Councilor Dr. Johnnie Robinson, Jr. leaves behind.
The community remembers Robinson’s life Friday, a day after he passed away at the age of 61.
Serving people in every walk of life is how Robinson lived his own. He was known as many things: soldier, city councilor, pastor and simply a caring man.
His wife, Angela, was drawn to this trait and Friday she shared her husband’s memorable life and those he impacted.
“He liked to teach people to love people,” Mrs. Robinson said.
To teach this lesson, Robinson dedicated himself to a life of service and compassion, which started when he was very young.
Mrs. Robinson told News 3 about a little boy in his elementary class who would get picked on because his eyes were always runny from allergies.
“He decided to tell the young boy ‘I’m going to be your friend’ because nobody wanted to be his friend,” she said.
That compassion for people earned him many other friends, including Rickey Smith, the the program supervisor at the New Life Center for Change in Phenix City.
“I haven’t met many people who had a heart like he had,” Smith said.
Robinson’s heart belonged to his wife, who he married in 2011. She says it didn’t take him long to fall in love.
“I was talking about some issues I was having and he said ‘I can’t council you I’m here to marry you,'” Mrs. Robinson. “Then he’d say ‘It worked didn’t it?”‘
At 19-years-old, Robinson committed himself to faith and became a pastor after going through many dark times as a teenager growing up in Detroit.
“He would walk around with pistols and guns. He saw his friends getting killed,” Mrs. Robinson said. “He just saw people getting killed and he walked into church one day and gave his life to Christ.”
Soon after, Robinson joined the military in his early 20’s, rising to first sergeant.
He served for 21 years and continued his service when he came home, this time inside the church as a pastor.
“He would even take the time to put aside things that he needed to do for himself and he would put people first,” Smith said.
He did that by running the House of Restoration for 14 years and founding the Higher Power Outreach Church in 1995.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do but just stand on what he has built in you and help you to build within yourself,” Mrs. Robinson said.