Sally Robison

Sally Robison was an artist, writer, wife, mother and inspiration to many. She died on March 21, 2018 at the age of 86.

Growing up in Mississippi and Alabama, Sally spent much time with her beloved grandmother and aunts from whom she cultivated storytelling and southern charm mixed with wry humor.

After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Mississippi and joined the Kappa Delta sorority. She earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Florida.

She married architect Charles Kelley in Montgomery, Alabama. With their two young sons, Charles and Kenan, they moved to Seattle in the 1960s.

Sally published children’s books; “Summer Growing Time” in 1971 and “The Trouble with Explosives,” in 1976.

Sally met her second husband, Merrill Robison, in Seattle. They enjoyed many adventures together while boating and traveling the world. Merrill was an ardent supporter of her creative and community interests. They spent more than 35 years as community advocates serving Bainbridge Island.

Sally served as a founding member of what would become Arts and Humanities Bainbridge, which began as the Bainbridge Arts & Humanities Council. She served on the board of Bainbridge Arts and Crafts (BAC), later becoming board president. Sally’s many contributions were recognized by BAC (now named TAP – The Art Project) in the gallery’s decision to honor her by naming the new wing The Sally Robison Gallery.

In addition to painting and art advocacy, Sally was well known for her bi-monthly column in the Bainbridge Island Review where she illuminated the community’s cultural spirit. A compilation of articles was published in a book in two volumes – “A Permanent Guests Illustrated Guide to Bainbridge Island” in 2005.

Sally’s interests, always evolving, also included cultivating deep and varied friendships. She led a weekly writing group for more than 15 years and was a competitive bridge player with focused friends at the Bainbridge Island Senior Center.

Sally was named an Island Treasure in 2011, the highest community recognition awarded to Bainbridge Island residents.

Sally loved her grandchildren. When they were young she would entertain them at any time, and any place, drawing pictures while telling stories of animals and people with wit, generosity, energy and delight.

She was surrounded by family at her death and is survived by her husband Merrill; her two sons, Charles and Kenan; her daughter-in law, Mary; and her beloved grandchildren, Brendan, Daniel, Ciera and (children of stepson Holt Robison) Chloe and Camille.

A joyful celebration of life is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at Wing Point Golf & Country Club, Bainbridge Island.

The Art Project (TAP), formerly Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, will host a special tribute and exhibition of Sally’s artwork for sale from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19 and for a limited time afterward.

Sales and donations will be used to establish a TAP scholarship fund in Sally’s honor.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Art Project (TAP); donate online at

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