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ROBINS, Erica Carola

September 8, 1924 – Switzerland
August 8, 2013 – Calgary, Alberta

Erica Carola Robins was born to her parents Carolina Genter and Max Widget on September 8, 1924 in Switzerland. Erica was an only child; her mother was an only child and father was a “Master Gent’s Outfitter” as described by Erica. She attended school in Switzerland and graduated from high school in 1942. From 1942 to 1944 she studied Languages and took a Secretarial Course in French Switzerland at Neuchatel.

Erica began her studies as a Medical Laboratory Technician at Berne, Switzerland obtaining her diploma in 1945. She obtained a position as a Technician-Secretary to the Director of the Zoological Institute at the University of Berne, Switzerland, working in the care and breeding of amphibians and experimental embryology and photography. Erica had a special interest in photography and her Professor Lock stated “her photographic ability was a valuable adjunct in the laboratory” and that “Erica worked with enthusiasm, thoroughness and tenacity and her work in any sphere was meticulous”.

In 1948 Erica moved to London, England where she worked as a Technician in the Reptile House for the Royal Zoological Gardens and also as an Interpreter-Hostess in the “Pet’s Corner”. She continued her studies and attained a Bachelor of Science studying primarily Chemistry, Physics and Zoology in 1952. Erica also studied music and played the piano and violin.

She would soon meet the love of her life, Victor Frederick Robins, and they were married for 51 years until Victor’s passing in 2005. She was a most devoted wife and caregiver, including to their family dogs Nanook aka Spooky. While they had no children, they helped many families with children financially which seemingly was their destiny. One family wrote to Erica and Victor thanking them for their assistance and to let them know they used the money to “buy a cow and a car” and thanked them profusely stating they were “now on their feet”.

Erica was also very career minded and worked at the Crookes Laboratories as a Senior Laboratory Technician in the Pharmacology Department at London, England from 1949 to 1957. The nature of her work included the handling and care of animals, operative procedures and histological work. While at Crookes Laboratories, she interestingly worked on an experimental cream that was used on a British Mount Everest expedition to protect against wind and sunburn. She left the position to move to Canada with her husband in 1957 where she attained a position as a Senior Technician for the Department of Medical Research at the University of Toronto. The nature of her work included studies in body fluids and tissues and cell fractionation procedures. She also worked as a Micro-photographer. The University described her as an “extremely experienced and careful worker, working with ease in Biochemical and Biological Techniques.” Erica also worked as a Senior Laboratory Technician at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Erica and Victor moved from Toronto to Calgary in 1980 and Erica went to work for Japan Cameras until her retirement. She continued her photography as a hobby and also enjoyed artwork and handicrafts at her home in the Woodlands. Erica dearly loved her home and she was very keen on good health that included natural organic foods and was particular that her gardens were free of chemicals and toxins. Her garden included gorgeous exotic flowers which amazingly thrived, despite the harsh winters. Erica’s passion was orchids and she was a member of the American, Canadian and Alberta Orchid Society and Horticultural Societies. Her library contained a collection of books on orchids grown throughout the world. She loved to read and her library included a vast array of subjects. When she was younger she enjoyed swimming and was a skilled horse rider.

Erica is survived by her two nieces, Debra and Sara.

Holy Mass will be offered at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church (711 – 37th Street N.W.) on Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. Inurnment will take place at Eden Brook Memorial Gardens on Tuesday September 2, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

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