Norvelle Eugene Robbins
June 10, 1929 – Dec. 16, 2017
Norvelle Robbins, 88, died at 8 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2017 from multiple organ failure. A funeral service will be held Jan. 6 at the Nyssa Christian Fellowship at 12:30 pm. Family and friends are invited to gather at the graveside at 11 a.m. at Nyssa Hilltop Cemetery.
Norvelle was born June 10, 1929, in Philip, South Dakota to Leicester and Inga Viken Robbins. Times were tough in those years in South Dakota so in October 1939 the Robbins family sold most everything except the piano and moved to Nyssa, Oregon. During the first months in Nyssa, the Robbins family of five lived with the Roy Herman family of seven in a small house that still stands on Alberta Ave. The Herman kids were like family to Norvelle and provided him comfort to the end. He attended Arcadia Grade School and graduated from Nyssa High School in 1948. He was active in FFA as Nyssa Chapter Secretary and State FFA Secretary and had stories to tell from the National FFA Convention in Kansas City. Even as a student, he drove school bus and claimed a reputation for strictness on the bus. He did custom hay baling, hand tying with wire, with his brother Llewellyn and Betty’s brother, Jack Winchell. Always entrepreneurial he bought a 1951 red Ford truck, collecting more stories of the many trips hauling hay to the coast with the guys.
He met his future wife during school and church camp at Payette Lake. He married Betty Lou Winchell on Feb. 9, 1951 at the Methodist Church in Nyssa, Oregon.
As they began their new life together they lived in an upstairs apartment on North 1st Street and their first son, Lurelle, was born. Norvelle continued hauling hay and worked at the Amalgamated Sugar Factory in Nyssa while Betty worked at 1st National Bank of Oregon. They bought their first 90 acres on Cloverdale Ave in 1954 and their sons David & Jerry were born.
In February of 1959 they purchased the adjoining acreage and the three girls, Kaylene, Leanna & Deanna were born. During this time they opened their home to two foster girls Linda and Darlene and have kept in contact to this day. Here they raised their family and made their lifelong home.
Norvelle enjoyed custom harvest traveling as far as Wilder to chop corn for the Batt brothers and in Nyssa for Joe Albertson where the big equipment had to be moved onto the island by ferry, which was narrow and rickety.
He always made friends working with people on his farm and in his custom work; recalling stories and good times with the Barker boys, JR Simplot, the Gifford boys, and Les Schwab. Bob Smith one of the fun guys that drove truck during harvest along with Don Hickey are some of the friends he made along the way.
In 1967 his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in again so he decided to sell the milk cows and purchase the Starlite Cafe. For a couple of years he rented out the farm focusing on the Cafe where he became an excellent chef and baker of the 20 different pies that were made each day.
The Starlite Cafe provided a whole new set of people for Norvelle to meet and work with. He seemed like he knew everyone and made friends wherever he went. He will be remembered by all who knew him.
Norvelle struggled over the last year as he was unable to find peace and health after the loss of his wife, Betty, of 65 years.
He is survived by his sons Lurelle, David and Carla, Jerry and Susie; daughters Kaylene and Dave, Leanna and Martin, and Deanna and Ken; 17 grandkids and 11 great-grandkids; brother Merildean Robbins and brother-in-law Jack Winchell. He is preceded in death by his wife Betty Lou Robbins, his younger brother Llewellyn L Robbins and his parents Leicester (Les) and Inga Robbins.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Nyssa Christian Fellowship.