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Published: 9/15/2012

Christine Robinson 'Judy' Heckes, 1926-2012: Decorator had kept up ties to Toledo, legacy

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Christine Robinson "Judy" Heckes, an accomplished interior decorator in Florida and Connecticut who maintained close ties to Toledo, where her grandfather had been a president and chairman of Libbey Glass, has died in her Sarasota, Fla., home.

A longtime resident of Sarasota, Fla., she had leukemia for years and was under the care of her husband, Daniel Andriotes. She had a fatal heart attack July 2, her son, Michael Goodbody, said.

From the late 1940s through the late 1960s, she was a decorator, often with a high-end clientele gathered one by one through social connections and their referrals. 

"Throughout her younger days, she was a reasonably accomplished decorator," her son said."The places she did were stunning. She had really classy taste.

"She just had a good artistic eye. She had a knack for picking stuff out [and] really put together a charming place for people to enjoy."

She worked primarily where she lived -- first in Sarasota and then in Stamford, Conn. She was influenced by Sarah Hunter Kelly, a New York-based decorator of the era, and met others in the world of decor while a student at Finch Junior College in New York City.

She was born in 1926, to Christine and Jefferson D. Robinson, Jr., and attended Ottawa Hills schools and the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pa. She was a graduate of Perrysburg High School.

Her father was a vice president of Libbey Glass and continued his father's commitment to what became the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association and to the Boys' Club. Her grandfather, Jefferson D. Robinson, came to Toledo with Edward Drummond Libbey in the 1880s as details were worked out to move Mr. Libbey's New England Glassworks from Massachusetts. The result was the Libbey Glass Co.

The elder Mr. Robinson, born in 1861 in Richmond, Va., went to work at 19 as an office boy for Mr. Libbey's glass works in Massachusetts. He was an exemplary salesman and eventually became Mr. Libbey's right hand. For the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, he helped arrange the Libbey Glass exhibit. He eventually led Libbey Glass.

He was a benefactor of the Toledo Newsboys Association and recruited wealthy friends to finance a club for newsboys on Superior Street. The building featured a gym and swimming pool, but also shops where the boys could learn a trade. He later took the helm of the Newsboys Association after the death of founder John E. Gunckel and set up a trust fund for the organization.

He was a founder and a president of the Community Chest, of which the United Way is a successor. Mr. Libbey founded the Toledo Museum of Art, and the elder Mr. Robinson was an original trustee. He directed a fund drive that led to the construction of Toledo Hospital. He was a member of the Toledo Board of Education. What is now Robinson Elementary School was named for him.

She was well aware of the family legacy in Toledo.

"She was very proud of that," her son said. "She lost her father when she was a teenager, and she adored him."

Her first husband, Carl Spitzer Goodbody, also was a member of prominent families. He was the son of Thomas Pim Goodbody, founder of a brokerage firm, and the former Luette Spitzer. His maternal grandfather, A.L. Spitzer, was a banker, financier, and leader in real estate who moved to Toledo in 1883 and built the Spitzer Building downtown 17 years later.

"Family was very important to her, so we were always getting together with the Robinson family, and even the Goodbody family, despite the fact she had divorced my dad," her son said.

"She got back to Toledo fairly regularly and always made sure I got back there on an annual basis to visit my Grandmother Goodbody, especially after her mom died who lived in Maumee. She wanted me to stay connected to the families out there.

"For her, Toledo was the root of her family, and that's what was important about it, aside from the obvious charms of the Toledo area."

She moved back to Sarasota from Connecticut in the early 1970s. She was a member of the Field Club in Sarasota and was a committed tennis player until she developed health problems. But she found tennis at the club not as competitive as play at the city's courts.

"Most of the best players you could find in those days were down on the public courts," her son said.

She volunteered for a local Meals on Wheels program. She even took a job at a local kitchen store.

"It was a way for her to see people," her son said. "And I think she liked the people she worked for there.

"She loved being a worker bee. To her, being physically active and keeping busy was of paramount importance.

"She was quite charming," he said. Her mindset was positive, and when anyone tried to drag a conversation down, "she wouldn't take the bait," her son said. "She was always upbeat."

Her marriages to the late Carl Spitzer Goodbody; the late Costantino Palmieri, and the late Erich Heckes ended in divorce.

Surviving are her husband, Daniel Andriotes; son, Michael Pim Goodbody; brother, Joseph Robinson; three grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.

Burial will be at 10 a.m. Oct. 5 in Historic Woodlawn Cemetery. Arrangements were by the Toale Bros. Funeral Homes, Sarasota.

The family suggests tributes to the Jefferson D. and Anne J. Robinson Scholarship Fund at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, named for her brother and sister-in-law. Mr. Robinson was an alumnus of Kenyon and later was its director of alumni affairs. He died Aug. 26, 2011.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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