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East County Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020 6 months ago

Bradenton's Bill Robinson dies at 70

Fit2Run co-founder dies of cancer.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Local entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Robinson has died.

Robinson, 70, was an original board member for Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, the nonprofit tasked with operating and running events at Nathan Benderson Park. He died after battling cancer for more than a year.

“SANCA and our business communities have lost a great leader and friend today,” SANCA board member and Jerry Marlar said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to work with Bill and watch his contributions to our organization, his business leadership and the love he had for his family. I will miss him greatly, and like others who knew him well, have not been surprised by his strong faith in God and courage over the last two years.  We send our sincere condolences to Peggy and his whole family.”

Bill Robinson served as chairman of SANCA’s board from 2014 to 2018.

Bill Robinson’s greater legacy, however, is the popular Bradenton park named in his honor. The more than 600-acre Robinson Preserve features hiking paths, kayak and canoe waterways, bridges, picnic spots, mangrove forests and a 53-foot-tall tower with a wide-open view of the Tampa Bay area.

Bill Robinson’s father, H.L. Robinson, founded Robby’s Sports in Bradenton in the 1960s. It expanded to 49 stores before the family sold the business in 1988.

He ran that business under the Champs Sports name for three years before leaving the company in 1991 to run a tree farm and pursue a career in commercial real estate. 

He and his son, Parks Robinson, launched Fit2Run in 2006.

Funeral plans are still being finalized, however the service will be held at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 3100 26th St. W., Bradenton.

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