Philip Robbins, 74, journalist and college teacher

October 17, 2005

Philip Robbins, a retired journalism teacher and former Evening Sun reporter, died of pancreatic cancer Thursday at his Elkton home. The former Northwood resident was 74.

Born in Hickman, Ky., he received a bachelor's degree from Washington and Lee University and then served in the Army as a sergeant during the Korean War. He then received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

In 1955 he joined The Evening Sun and was a general assignment reporter. He was later a maritime reporter.

His wife of 49 years, the former Patricia Forlifer, who also wrote for The Evening Sun, said he covered the July 1956 sinking of the Italian passenger liner Andrea Doria in the Atlantic and the construction of Baltimore's Harbor Tunnel. As a freelance project, he wrote The Port of Baltimore Handbook for the Maryland Port Administration.

He moved to Hopewell, Va., as city editor of the Hopewell Daily News in 1957. From 1962 to 1971, he was assistant city editor and then metro news editor at the old Washington Evening Star in Washington.

In 1971, he was named a professor of journalism at George Washington University in Washington. He chaired its journalism department from 1973 through 1991, and from 1991 to 1995 he was director of journalism at the school's National Center for Communication Studies.

In 1993, he was awarded the university's George Washington Award.

From 1995 to 1998, he was the ombudsman for Stars and Stripes, a newspaper for overseas military personnel, championing the cause of a free press and expository coverage of military affairs. He retired in 1998 and was awarded a Knight International Press Fellowship with the International Center for Foreign Journalists.

Mr. Robbins lived most of the year in Elkton and had a second home in Carnelian Bay, Calif. He enjoyed travel, sailing and skiing.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 29 at Elkton United Methodist Church, 219 E. Main St., Elkton.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a son, Frederick Robbins of Palo Alto, Calif.; two daughters, Lynn Robbins of Arlington, Va., and Elizabeth Robbins of Annapolis; and four grandchildren.

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