Ida Elaine Robinson, city teacher

Ida Elaine Robinson, a retired teacher who worked for more than 30 years at a Northwest Baltimore elementary school, died of complications of kidney failure March 14 at Sinai Hospital. She was 77.

She was born Ida Elaine Page at her parents' Robert Street home. She often told friends she was christened the day after her birth at St. Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church because she was sickly and her parents feared she might not live.


Family members said she was raised by a grandmother, Gertrude Ritchie, after her mother died when she was 5. As a girl, she and her siblings assisted their father, Thomas Crafton Page, in his produce stall at the Lafayette Market on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"People came to know them simply as the Page sisters and the Page children," said her daughter, Lisa Robinson Greene, a WBAL television weekend morning anchor. "She worked at her father's market and the experience provided her with a lifetime of memories and great stories she one day would tell her own children."


She said her mother met her future husband, David William Robinson, at the end of the eighth grade at Booker T. Washington Junior High School.

"Their love blossomed during their formative years at Frederick Douglass High School," her daughter said.

When he was away in college and serving overseas in the Navy, they wrote nearly 100 letters to each other.

Her daughter also said that as a child, her mother decided to become a teacher.

She began her teaching career after earning her degree from Baltimore's Coppin State College in 1955. After graduation she joined the Baltimore City school system and taught for 41 years.

Mrs. Robinson never drove a car and lived on Groveland Avenue adjacent to Grove Park Elementary School.

"The school kids would pick her up every morning, walk her to school, carry her books and after the day ended they would walk her home again," her daughter said. "Ida in turn would buy them lunch, bring them clothing, books and let them stay at her home until a parent would pick them up in the evening if they were running late. Her generous heart and keen mind earned her a reputation as a caring, loving and effective teacher."

She retired in 1996 and the school's lobby was named in her honor.


Her daughter said Mrs. Robinson was an enthusiastic cook. "She could cook for an army," she said, adding that her signature dishes were crab cakes, fried chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, short ribs, pineapple upside down cake and waffles.

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She also said that her mother overcame her decision not to drive. "It did not stop her from going where she wanted to and doing what she wanted to do," her daughter said. "She would call a relative, a friend or a cab, and, if she had to, walk to where she wanted to go. She loved hopping in a car for road trips. When her kids and grandkids could drive, she called on them."

She belonged to the Silhouettes, a club supporting her husband's fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. She loved to play pinochle and participated in many card-playing clubs, including one called the No-Name Club.

"She loved and hated to play cards with her own sister, Vera," her daughter said. "The two of them would partner up and play others and then fight during the card game. And the cards were flying. The two were family legends."

After her retirement, she traveled to Mexico, Cape May, N.J., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. She also spent time with her grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. March 31 at Grove Park Elementary-Middle School, 5545 Kennison Ave.


In addition to her daughter, survivors include two sons, David Walter Robinson of Baltimore and Duncan Scott Robinson of Chesapeake, Va.; a sister, Alice Dixon of Catonsville; and six grandchildren. Her husband of 41 years, a federal chemist, died in 1997.