Don Robertson, Founder of Robertson’s Marine, Salt Lake City, Utah, our loving father, hero, best friend and mentor, passed on to the big lake in the sky on September 9, 2020. Don was 89 years old.
Don Edwin Robertson was born on April 20, 1931, in Provo, Utah to the late John Edwin Robertson and Elsie Fern Harker Robertson. He had one brother and one sister (twins), John Alma Robertson and Janet Robertson Snelson. The young family moved to Springville in 1933 and settled into a farm life with chickens, pigs and eventually turkeys. Dad always talked about how everyday he would gather eggs and eventually went all over town selling eggs, which had become a pretty lucrative business for him. He would take a break from running eggs in the summer and joined his grandpa Dave, running sheep. He would spend his entire Summer at sheep camp and Grandpa Dave would pay him handsomely. All his friends thought he was rich, because he’d get a big lump sum when he came down from the mountain to begin the next school year.
Dad graduated from Springville High in 1949 and married his high school sweetheart, Ann Janet Wentz on October 7, 1949 and they spent 69 years together before her passing in 2019. Ann supported, encouraged and loved dad so much throughout their lives together. Don and Ann had six children, Kathryn, Calvin, Susan, Carl, Amy and Casey.
After high school, dad tried his hand at various jobs then began working for his father at Springville Feed and Garden Center. He soon realized the feed business was not for him, and in 1956 he convinced his dad to buy 4 outboard motors and 2 boats that they could polish up, re-sell and possibly make a little money. They sold them quickly. Then dad made the bold move of walking into the bank in Springville and asking for a loan. Recreation sales were completely unknown and pure speculation, but dad had a persuasive way of presenting his idea, and surprisingly, they loaned him the money..….with Grandpa Jacks signature of course!
The business thrived and soon the boat business overtook the entire building once grandpa retired. Robertson’s Marine and Garden Center was born, later transitioning to just Robertson’s Marine. Family Recreation Fun was the new way to spend your free time and the business took off and became profitable instantly. Now he was having fun, providing for his family and loving what he was doing. Robertson’s Marine later moved to a larger location in Salt Lake City.
Then came bigger boats, bigger motors, racing, racing motors and eventually yachts. Dad built motors and raced boats all through the 1960’s from the Colorado River to Lake Havasu, and he actually started the “Provo 250” races on Utah Lake. Racing boats was a true art form and all us kids remember being his pit crew and sitting up river with cans of gasoline waiting for him to come around the bend.
When they built the Glen Canyon Dam to form Lake Powell, dad saw the potential to sell bigger boats and to grow his already successful business. He had one of the biggest yachts (at the time) on Lake Powell that was appropriately named “Why Not” after many people had said that you couldn’t get boats that big on Lake Powell. Family memories were made and cherished on the “Why Not,” I, II, III, and IV - including birthdays, holidays and for no reason days.
Robertson’s Marine is still in business today with numerous dealership sales awards and has received national recognition for sales, service and contributions to the marine industry. As Don and Ann tried to retire, Dad still reported to work every day, greeted customers as they arrived and was always willing to share boating, racing and fishing stories. He was on time every day until he was 85 years old.
Dad always said that his favorite part of being a boat and motor dealer was being able to enjoy his passion with his family and pleasing his customers. Everyone that knew Dad, whether they were friends, employees or even the competition, always said how great he was. Don had a presence, was well respected, honest and was not only loved by his family, but by friends and customers as well. Dad was an unbelievable source of strength, wisdom, love and genuine kindness.
Don is survived by his six children: Kate (Jack) Schoening, Calvin (Barbara) Robertson, Susan (Rick Kinross) Robertson, Carl (Suzy) Robertson, Amy (Ron Clifford) Robertson and Casey Robertson, (10) Grandchildren and (16) great-grandchildren.
Please join us in remembering our dad, Don Robertson, on Sunday, September 20, 2020 from 6-8pm at Wheeler Mortuary, 211 East 200 South, Springville, Utah. Funeral Services will be held at 1pm on Monday, September 21, 2020, at Wheeler Mortuary. Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery, 1997 South 400 East, Springville, Utah.
A full celebration of life will be held at Robertson’s Marine to be scheduled at a later date. If you would like to participate, please contact Susan Robertson at 801-534-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org with your email or mailing address, so that we can contact you when the celebration is scheduled.
We wish to thank the staff at the Wentworth at Willow Creek and Bristol Hospice. We are grateful for their kind and loving care during these unprecedented times.
Life is short, live it! Love is rare, grab it! Memories are sweet, cherish them!