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Augustus ‘Gus’ Robbins III, paving company executive, dies

Augustus “Gus” Robbins III, a co-founder of Ratrie, Robbins & Schweizer Inc., a paving company, died Oct. 28 of undetermined causes at The Haven at Brandermill Woods in Midlothian, Virginia.

The former longtime North Baltimore resident who had lived in Richmond, Virginia, for 21 years, was 93.

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Augustus Robbins III, son of Augustus Robbins Jr., owner, publisher and editor of the Hopewell News, and his wife, Marie Robbins, a homemaker, was born in Hickman, Kentucky, and raised in Hopewell, Virginia.

After graduating from Hopewell High School in 1943, he attended Virginia Military Institute, until leaving in 1944 to enlist in the Navy, where he served 18 months in the Pacific theater. At war’s end, he returned to VMI, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1948 in civil engineering.

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In 1948, he received an Army Reserve commission and served for 12 years until being discharged with the rank of captain.

Augustus "Gus" Robbins III co-founded Ratrie, Robbins & Schweizer Inc.
Augustus "Gus" Robbins III co-founded Ratrie, Robbins & Schweizer Inc.

After working for two years at the old Esso refinery in Canton, he joined Drummond & Co., a road-building and asphalt paving company, where he rose to vice president of operations.

In 1963, Mr. Robbins joined Harry Ratrie and Archer I. Schweizer in forming Ratrie, Robbins & Schweizer Inc., a road construction and paving firm. He was executive vice president and a board member until retiring in the early 1980s.

He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Engineering Society of Baltimore, and his professional memberships included the Maryland Asphalt Association, Maryland Highway Contractors, Baltimore County Highway Contractors and Building Congress & Exchange of Baltimore.

He also had been a member of the Mayor’s Blue Chip Panel and a member of the Maryland Business Advisory Commission on Unemployment and Employee Compensation.

Civic activities included coaching Little League and managing boys and girls teams in the Towson Recreation Council, and serving as an adviser and instructor for the Baltimore Civil Defense Agency.

Mr. Robbins, a longtime resident of Moss Way in North Baltimore, was a founder and first president of the Construction Industry Educational Foundation. He also had been active with the Baltimore Area Council of the Boy Scouts, who had presented him with its Silver Beaver Award.

Mr. Robbins was a longtime active communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, where he had served as head usher.

His wife of 46 years, the former Della Jane Mobley, died in 1997.

A private family service will be held Nov. 21 at Merchants Hope Episcopal Church in Hopewell.

He is survived by his wife of 21 years, the former Betty Lane Gay; two sons, Augustus Robbins IV of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, and Keith Robbins of Reisterstown; two daughters, Dr. Sharon Robbins of Roland Park and Cynthia Robbins Davis of Perry Hall; two stepsons, Robert R. Gay of Prince George, Virginia, and James J. Gay of Midlothian; a stepdaughter, Diane Gay Pierce of Denver, North Carolina; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and six step-grandchildren.

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