Monday, 15 July 2024

Matilda J. Robinson

Matilda J. Robinson. Courtesy photo.

Matilda J. Robinson
May 12, 1928 - June 25, 2024

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — As the sun was coming down, the clouds parted and heaven gained a true angel.

Matilda J. Robinson died in her home at the Witter Springs Ranch, surrounded by her big loving family. Shortly after her death, she painted the sky with the most spectacular sunset.

Matilda was born May 12, 1928, in Ukiah, California to Pearl and Foster Guntly. She was raised in Potter Valley, California on the Guntly Ranch. Matilda was one of four children, and two foster children: John Guntly, Saralu Yates, Laurel Hodges, Placita Yates and John (Poncho) Colon.

During her childhood she picked apples and grapes, and packed pears in the packing house. She talked about the time she and Della Guntly got tired of filling those big lugs of grapes to the top, so they filled the bottom with rocks! Yes! They got caught. Makes a fun story though.

After graduating from high school she ventured off to Santa Rosa, where she attended Santa Rosa Junior College, earning her Associate of Arts degree. While attending college she played on the basketball team, even traveling for games. She also took a tap dancing class. She was quite competitive — and also loved a good game of ping pong. She spoke of fun times while attending college, and the lifelong friends she met there.

After college Matilda met the love of her life, Bill Robinson (from Willits). He had returned home from the war and was quite the catch. She often said, “He looked like the actor, Anthony Quinn, so handsome!” It was love at first sight.

In 1949 Bill and Matilda married in Ukiah. They settled first in Willits, where they bought their first home (which she still owns to this day). Bill and Matilda moved to Cold Creek for awhile, then moved back to Willits.

In 1958 they made the momentous decision to move to Witter Springs to manage the Witter Springs Ranch, and to help care for her parents, Foster and Pearl Guntly. She said, “I never regretted that decision, it was a great place to raise our family.”

They created a legacy of five children: Cheryl Wheeler (Wes), Rachel Quist (Jim), Mike Robinson (deceased), Fred Robinson (Lora) and Paula Clark (Maurice). She leaves behind 13 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and numerous extended family and friends.

Matilda was very involved with the community: PTA and the School Board; 4-H; California Women of Agriculture; TOPS, earning KOPS status; poll worker, as the inspector; and Queen of the Rosary Guild. She was a caretaker of family and friends. She was a support person to anybody who needed it. She never knew a stranger, and once a friend always a friend.

Matilda loved her gardens and her chickens (earning the CB handle “Mother Hen”). So much good food was produced from the ranch and her gardens; canning, freezing, baking and barbecues, giving the term “domestic engineer” a new meaning. Nobody ever left hungry, and the coffee pot was always on.

Then, there is the infamous cookie jar, always full. Yes, it is still on the counter, and anyone that comes into the kitchen always checks to see what is inside. She really loved her sweets!

She made the big old house where she raised her kids a warm and loving home. She was a true matriarch of the family. We are comforted knowing that she is now flying with the angels.

She leaves us with so many good memories: rides out in the hills, trips to the ocean, cherry picking, swim lessons, etc.

A memorial service will be held in her honor at Chapel of the Lakes, 1625 N. High St., Lakeport, on July 20 at 11 a.m. A celebration of life will follow at the Witter Springs Ranch.

Donations in her memory can be made to a charity of your choice.

Arrangements by Chapel of the Lakes Mortuary, 707-263-0357 or 707-994-5611, or visit

The sunset on June 25, 2024, shortly after Matilda J. Robinson died. Courtesy photo.

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