Robertson’s legacy lives on

Published 10:17 am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

AHOSKIE – William Julian Robertson Jr. may have left this world, but his legacy lives one.

The Ahoskie Public Library has received a generous bequest of $50,000 to add to its fund for a new building.  Robertson, an Ahoskie businessman who passed away on Jan. 24 at the age of 86, left the funds in honor of his sister, Florence Robertson Reid, a long time, devoted patron of the library. Reid said that she was glad that the library had been remembered in her brother’s will.

“I’ve had so many hours of enjoyment from the library,” Reid said. “When I first moved here from Hollywood, Florida many years ago, I was used to a big, impersonal library.”

The Ahoskie Public Library around the corner quickly became a warm, welcoming place and Reid has become a strong library advocate.

Robertson was a longtime advocate for the Ahoskie Library and felt the town needed a larger library. It was his wish that this bequest would provide incentive for others to support the effort.

The library currently has about $165,000 in its building fund, including the recent bequest. Some of these funds have been raised from events such as the library’s popular annual Backyard BBQ Cook-off contest held each September during the Ahoskie Heritage Day Festival.

The existing Ahoskie Public Library, at 1,700 square feet, is currently the smallest facility in the Albemarle Regional Library system, despite being located in the largest city and having the highest circulation of books, CD’s and other items, according to Branch Manager Cindy Henderson. There are only seven public computers that see almost 1,000 users a month.

“People from all over the Roanoke Chowan area come to Ahoskie each day to work and shop, visit health care professionals and other service providers and patronize the Ahoskie Library, said Henderson. “Our library is used by people of all ages and from all walks of life. Demands for library services increase every year, demands that our small space can no longer provide adequately. A new, larger facility is desperately needed.

“We are so fortunate to have received this generous donation from Mr. Robertson on behalf of Mrs. Reid. The support and interest of such a dedicated benefactor will go a long way to help Ahoskie realize its dream of creating a new, larger Ahoskie Library its citizens so need and deserve. We are truly grateful,” Henderson added.

A native of Bertie County, Robertson was a mainstay in Ahoskie for decades. He was dedicated to his church, First Baptist of Ahoskie, and served faithfully with the NC Baptist Children’s Home and Chowan University. He has served on the Ahoskie Town Council as well as past president of both the Ahoskie Kiwanis Club and Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce.

He worked in the Business office at Charles H. Jenkins & Co. until 1962 when he joined Dan P. Boyette, Sr. at what is now Boyette & Robertson Insurance Agency where he remained an active partner until his death.