Bernice M. Giese, of Southampton, formerly of Hicksville, died on July 19, 2006. Bernice was a long time resident before moving to Southampton and traveling to Florida. She was active in the Ladies Auxliary of VFW Post #3211 of Hicksville and on the New York State Farm Bureau. Beloved wife of Alton B., retired owner of the Giese Florist of Hicksville. Dear mother of Arlene P. and the late Susan McDermott Gascon. Also survived by three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held on July 22 at Christ Our Saviour Lutheran Church. Interment private. Memorials in Bernice's name to Christ Our Saviour Lutheran Church, 9 Terrace Dr, Hampton Bays, NY 11946-3518 would be appreciated.
June 29, 2006 marked the 49th opening day of summer camp at Robin Hood Country Day School. The excitement of starting another great season filled the air as the staff anticipated the arrival of campers. This excitement was soon dampened, however, by the knowledge that Eugene Roberts, Robin Hood's co-founder and owner had passed away only a few hours earlier at the age of 83.
As word of his passing spread throughout the camp, staff members hugged and consoled one another. For the first time since 1957, "Uncle Gene" would not be there to greet the campers and staff on opening day.
As the children began to arrive that morning, tears were brushed away and replaced with smiles of genuine joy. It was another summer at Robin Hood, and the pleasure of being at camp overcame everyone's sadness. As Gene was fond of saying, "It's always sunny at Robin Hood."
Eugene Roberts was the true embodiment of the American dream. He emigrated with his family from Hungary to America almost 80 years ago without a penny to their name. When he was of age, Gene enlisted in the US Army and fought in World War II. He put himself through college and married the love of his life, Paula Roberts. Gene and Paula were both teachers, barely earning $25 a week when they decided to buy a camp in Queens.
As their camp's popularity grew and grew, it became clear that they would have to relocate to a larger facility. Their search ended with the purchase of 15 beautiful acres in Brookville. This one-time farmland was transformed into a magical place where children could relax and enjoy their summer away from the stress and rigor of the school year.
Robin Hood's program has always distinguished itself by the level of service and caring that the Roberts family and their staff have extended to both the campers and their families. Gene Roberts was the focal point of this workforce. He kept everyone smiling and had a special way of speaking with people not as a boss, but as a father figure. He was called a teacher, a friend, a confidante and a mentor.
For the past 50 years, Eugene Roberts brought countless smiles to Robin Hood campers. He provided so many children with cherished memories and touched so many lives. Many of these children have since grown up and have families of their own, but when they visit Robin Hood, they are children again. As many of us know, camp doesn't end after eight weeks, it lasts a lifetime.
Future campers will continue to enjoy Robin Hood Country Day School for many years to come. The Roberts family intends to operate the camp and keep it in the family name. Renovations and other improvements are being planned for the upcoming years. The Robin Hood staff will keep the memory of Eugene Roberts alive by providing children with a great time, a huge smile and the best summers of their lives.