Long-time PB auctioneer leaves legacy of hard work, close friendships and familial cooperation


Bud Robinson made his living as well as life-long friendships as proprietor of Robinson Auction Company in Pine Bluff.

Robinson, 89, died July 16 in White Hall and is survived by his wife, Kay Robinson; sons Tracy and Eddie Robinson; daughters Kelly Robinson and Tana Perdue; and five grandchildren.

“The part that sticks out to me about dad is his work ethic,” Tracy Robinson said. “He worked us hard but it is something that we appreciate now. A hard day’s work is second nature for us now. He was born and raised in Casa, Ark., in Perry County during the Great Depression.”

Tracy Robinson said his father put his children to good use around the auction house.

“As kids from the time we were of size we carried auction tickets from the clerk to the cashier,” Tracy Robinson said. “We went from there to running the concession stand. That concession stand put three kids through college.”

Tracy Robinson took the auction business over from his father but that didn’t stop his dad from continuing to do his part for the family enterprise.

“He helped me conduct the auctions up until he was 86,” Tracy Robinson said. “The auction business probably kept Daddy going for an extra 20 years. This is a unique profession. The fellowship you have with your customers is so strong. Down through the years he sold everything from real estate to business liquidations as well as farm equipment and cattle. This is not a daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. type of business. Every day is different and every day is interesting.”

Robinson said his father took up auctioneering after life circumstances found him in need of a good auctioneer.

“He had sold out his farm and he hired an auctioneer from here in Pine Bluff named B. L. Wooley to conduct the auction,” Robinson said. “Daddy had some money left over and decided to go into the auction business himself. Once you get it in your blood it stays there. If I won the lottery tomorrow I’d probably still have an auction this weekend.”

Robinson said it takes a good deal of skill to become a successful auctioneer — a skill his father clearly possessed.

“He had a wonderful chant and a good strong voice,” Robinson said of his father. “He went to the Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Mont., in 1969 to learn the trade. I went to the same school as well as another one in North Carolina. Everyone in the business has their own bid-calling styles but come auction time that’s what you long for. Everybody is laughing and having a good time. Audience participation is what drives the auction.”

Robinson said his father’s Friday service at Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Home was very well attended.

“The outpouring of support for us was incredible,” Robinson said. “It was a full house last Friday.”

Bud Robinson’s daughter Kelly Robinson said her father left his children with a real appreciation for the value of money.

“He definitely instilled a strong work ethic in us,” Kelly Robinson said. “You learned at an early age to appreciate a dollar. When you’re earning it you are also less likely to quickly spend it.”

Kelly Robinson said her father was a fair man.

“He respected people of all races, ages and sexes,” Kelly Robinson said. “He respected everybody and that could not be said of everybody born and raised during the Great Depression. He was also very well-respected among his peers. Daddy shot from the hip. He was honest and would give you an honest answer. If you wanted somebody to give you a fair answer you knew that he was going to give it to you.”

Tracy Robinson said his father did what he could to be of service to families in need of estate liquidation services.

“Daddy specialized for the most part in estate auctions,” Tracy Robinson said. “He liked being able to help people out and take care of selling off personal effects. It is not the most money that we make but it is our bread and butter. Daddy worked with the trust departments at all of the banks in town.”

Tana Perdue of White Hall is the youngest of Bud Robinson’s children.

“Every Saturday night of my life up until a couple of years ago I was at the auction house,” Perdue said. “Daddy helped keep us out of trouble that way. He taught us that to get what you want in life you have to work for it. ‘In order to eat, you work,’ was what he told us. He was an honest man and he tried to always do the best that he could. He was an honest and hardworking man.”

Kelly Robinson said her father also found time to entertain his children.

“He was always good to us on vacations,” Kelly Robinson said. “Dad and Tracy went on hunting trips out west when we were grown but as kids we loved going out west. He was patient in allowing us to stop at every tourist stand between here and Wyoming.”