Farewell to a loyal comrade

 

Eon Keith Robinson
1952 – 2007

Eon Keith Robinson, RN and NSWNA President of the Gladesville and Macquarie Branches, passed away on 16 March 2007 at home without prior illness. A chapel service was conducted at Rookwood Cemetery on Thursday 22 March attended by his family and many friends.

Eon was a good friend and colleague, a loyal trade unionist who fought the good fight for all of us and lived his life dedicated to his workplace, his community, his friends and, most of all, to his family.

Eon began his nursing career at Gladesville Hospital on 24 February 1975. He was 22 years of age and his political beliefs and social values were already well-established. He quickly became involved with the Health & Research Employees Association and an active member of the H&REA Gladesville branch executive.

In his generation of trade union history, Eon was involved in one of the longest strikes in NSW in 1985 to campaign for the retention of public health services for the mentally ill and intellectually disabled. He was very much a leader of that campaign, standing beside all his workplace colleagues and trade union comrades. He would refer to us always as ‘comrades’, encouraging his members to greater levels of activism and engagement with the issues and problems of working life and of society. He was always talking about how society had a responsibility to provide for people less fortunate and to give a hand up to those who fell behind.

Eon was, and always will be, a socialist in this life and the next. He was a true believer of ‘the light on the hill’, a member of the Labor Left, an active community-minded person ready to be involved and to make a difference in any way he could, always in for the long haul and never afraid to speak his mind and act accordingly. He reinforced a fundamental belief of Labor politics that a fair go and justice were important for all, not just the few.

In the late 1980s, due to new union coverage rules, Eon left the H&REA and joined the NSWNA. He held various positions in the Gladesville/Macquarie Hospital Branch in the following years and that of Branch President & Delegate for the last 10 years.

Eon supported anyone who needed assistance, always defending the worker, believing that the Union’s responsibility was to protect the rights and conditions of nurses and other workers everywhere. No issue was too big or too small because in Eon’s mind everything mattered in the larger scheme of building the good life.

He gave a working lifetime commitment to the union movement, to the Labor Party and to protecting workers’ rights. He took part in every industrial action he could, marching in the streets at union campaigns, May Day rallies, environmental and peace marches. Eon was there with banner in hand marching proudly to ensure the message was heard. He was campaigning and supporting Labor candidates for this recent State election, always part of the action, always involved.

His sense of humour was always apparent by the branch notices printed on red paper. He had a lightness of heart and a philosophical mind, playful and serious at once; wearing his colourful display of Doc Martens and his humorous quotes and expressions. If you asked Eon what he thought of dying, he’d most likely say: I’m not across that one yet, comrade, but we’ll put it to the vote.

Eon was a lover of modern music and keen record collector and had a prodigious memory for details of albums and performers. He enjoyed good writing as well and was always quoting and recommending good books to read. He inspired us with his wit and wisdom.

He leaves us overall with a sense of the good citizen, contributing to his community, mindful of the need to be involved with others for the common good. Eon’s humanity and thoughtful commitment to society and family life is a reminder of the best we can be for our allotted time together, for he chose a life of living dedication to others. We honour and remember him with love and sorrow at his leaving.

We express our deepest sympathy to his family, Karen his wife, Clair his daughter and Eamon his son. Eon is also survived by his mother Norma and sister Kim.

Farewell, Comrade. You will dwell in our hearts and in our best and most fond memories, farewell good friend.
Linda Stewart,
Patient Flow Manager, Mental Health NSCCHS