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Center Street bridge in Casper dedicated to Bataan Death March survivor

Dr. Leonard L. Robinson (Courtesy of Bustard and Jacoby Funerals)

CASPER, Wyo. — The I-25 bridge over Casper’s Center Street will be dedicated to Dr. Leanard L. Robinson, a survivor of the Bataan Death March in World War II.

Governor Mark Gordon signed House Bill 96 into law on Monday, March 23 which authorizes the dedication of the bridge.

“The bridge on United States Interstate Highway 25 crossing over Center Street in Casper, Wyoming shall be known as the ‘Dr. Leonard L. Robinson World War II Bataan Death March Memorial Bridge,'” the bill states. “The department of transportation shall install appropriate signage, in compliance with applicable federal and state law, to identify the Dr. Leonard L. Robinson World War II Bataan Death March Memorial Bridge.”

Robinson was born on July 30, 1919 and died on Dec. 9 2014, according to his obituary on Bustard and Jacoby Funerals’ website. That obituary reads in part as follows:

Dr. Robinson was known throughout the nation as a survivor of the Bataan Death March and a prisoner for three and a half years to the Japanese during World War II in a forced labor camp.

This was only a small fraction of who he was. Before World War II he began a career as a semi-professional golfer. He had a degree in engineering, helping to design the ejection seat and a Doctorate of Theology through Northwestern University.

However, he cannot be measured in the places he lived and the degrees he held, but by a life guided by principles, love and acts of kindness. Two main principles he held were that all people are made in the image of God and are to be treated with upmost dignity and secondly that each person has the right, obligation and liberty to find their own path with God.

His love came through his ministry beginning in a Washington lumber camp, and formally ending in North Casper. In retirement he became the pastor of veterans, bikers, rodeo cowboys, the sick, and the common people of town. He loved his late wife Erma, his children Pam, Rob and Paula, his grandchildren Dale and Julie Chelewski and extended family Ray Chelewski and Jewell Taylor.

His acts of kindness were shown in working with youth, convicts, homeless, veterans with trauma, sick, and all types of people. His great love of veterans was shown by volunteering to conduct any funeral for anyone who needed a minister.

Leonard Robinson fought the good fight, he kept his faith, and made the world a better place. May he rest in peace.

The bill signed by the governor appropriates $5,000 to install signage on the bridge. The bill becomes effective July 1, 2020.