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Robyn Carol Harris passed away on March 10, 2023, peacefully at home in the Tierra Nueva community of Oceano, California. Family and friends encircled her with love and received her love through her final days and moments before her transition to Heaven.
Robyn was born April 1, 1961, in Los Angeles at California Hospital to Robert Thomas Harris and Caroline Geraldine Kunkle Harris. Robyn was born in the same hospital as her mom Caroline—they both loved sharing their birthplace in common! Robyn’s quiet and unassuming strengths were certain. She shared them freely without an overt display.
Over her lifetime, Robyn’s varied and exceptional talents became gifts to many people. Armed with her nutrition degree from Cal State LA, time in gardens and kitchens with beloved grandmother Virginia (Gigi) Kunkle, and a stint at restaurant City in LA as a pastry chef, Robyn achieved a superior ability to effortlessly present splendid meals and to organize gatherings. Beyond sharing this gift with her closest people, this skill, as well as her fluency in Spanish, took Robyn on an adventure to Seville, Spain, to lead the team from New Guinea during the World’s Fair of 1992.
When Robyn came to faith in Jesus, she threw her loyalty and support wholly to her Savior. Giving to others had a new focus. In 2000, Robyn joined a mission excursion with Uncle Don Maddox and cousin Dr. James B. Maddox on a ship that moved down the Dnieper River, sharing her faith with the people of Ukraine. In April 2022, Robyn returned to that region of the world to Jaroslav, Poland near the border of Ukraine, to champion unaccompanied children. Her team’s project aimed to provide shelter, housing and childcare centers within Ukrainian refugee shelters for children escaping the Russian attacks on Ukraine.
In other acts of service, Robyn cared for horse transient racetrack crews in various cities throughout the U.S. such as Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
After her commitment to Jesus, Robyn joined Hollywood Presbyterian Church (HPC). Robyn became very active in the Hollywood Mass Gospel Choir at HPC, traveling and competing nationally. Her Gospel Choir won McDonald’s Gospelfest National Competition. For a time, Robyn also served in the HPC kitchen that fed local, hungry people. After her move to the Central Coast of California, Robyn joined Community Presbyterian Church (CPC) of Pismo Beach. During the months of required sheltering from the Covid virus, Robyn’s technological prowess produced the church’s weekly services via Zoom. With the meetings reliably available to her fellow parishioners, CPC fellowship never wavered.
Robyn gave loving, long-term gifts of assistance and end-of-life care to family members. Robyn advocated for them and was present for them through their last moments: Gigi, her grandmother; Bob (Robert), her father; and Caroline, her mother, all received this precious gift of time and support. Robyn honored Caroline with a final, inspired visit to Europe in 2015.
Robyn offered selfless gifts to other family members in crisis. Never heralding her role, Robyn would effectively assist ill and injured cousins across state lines. Beginning in August 2022 Robyn helped orchestrate professional guidance for her injured sister, Rosy, and participated in her recuperative care.
After decades in Southern California, in March 2017 Robyn and her mother Caroline moved to the Central Coast of California. Robyn dived into committee and leadership roles in support of her new home, Tierra Nueva, the cohousing community in Oceano. She served on the Marketing and Orientation Team and Affinity Teams like maintenance, IT, communication archives, and safety preparedness. Always wanting to make life’s moments special, Robyn shared her event planning talents by organizing, decorating, and cooking for holiday celebrations, community meals, and special ceremony events at Tierra Nueva.
For the greater community of Oceano, Robyn stepped into the vacant Tierra Nueva Seat on the Oceano Advisory Committee working on the beautification and improvement of the town. Robyn qualified as a C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) in order to be ready to help the town in times of crisis. She became an advocate to preserve the unique and fragile Oceano Dunes. Robyn also volunteered her time with CASA as a court appointed special advocate for children in need.
Robyn never quit broadening her skills. During her last few years, Robyn began a new sport: boogie boarding. This became a favorite activity during visits to Hawaii and regularly on the Central Coast of California, particularly as a welcome to the New Year. Even continuing into January 2023, Robyn and friends in the “Addie Street Boogie Boarders” group donned wetsuits, braced the chill and strength of the Pacific waves, and in return received joy and peace.
Even as new talents kept emerging, Robyn rekindled her love for singing. During 2022, the Tierra Nueva house band, TN Rocks, recruited Robyn as a lead singer. Robyn was lauded by the band, though her humility had to be overcome for her to belt out songs! During her last days, Robyn’s family unexpectedly found poems written by Robyn, modestly mounted among her personal effects.
Robyn loved nature. She found great peace among the redwoods of Sequoia National Park, camping there annually for Caroline’s birthday. As Robyn cared for her mother in Caroline’s later years, they became more than mother and daughter; they were like best friends. They were happy enjoying the fun outings Robyn planned, including repeated trips to King’s Canyon and Big Bear.
Robyn was a steward for the preservation of nature. She and her sister Rosy were taught by Caroline to love and value the National Parks. Robyn participated in local beach clean-ups. She loved to spend a sun-filled afternoon at the Avila Beach pier, sipping a glass of wine while enjoying the sights and sounds of the sea lions and paddle boarders frolicking in the ocean. Her hope was to catch a glimpse of a breaching whale—and she was successful. She also held a deep love and affinity for Hawaii.
Robyn’s remaining family—sister Rosy (Harris) and Flint Zide of South Pasadena, their children Linus and Ven, and her numerous coast-to-coast cousins—will miss her, as will her friends. Robyn treasured her female felines Maggie and Timothy, who also loved her back with great devotion. Our loss is heaven’s gain.
Please come join us in celebrating sweet Robyn Harris’ beautiful life. On Saturday, May 20th at 9am, Robyn’s friends in her Avila Street Boogie Boarders group will be leading a “Beach Ceremony” at Pismo Beach, close to Addie Street Surfer Parking Lot (163 Addie St. Pismo Beach, CA). Before her passing, Robyn indicated a desire for her family and friends to share in the joy she experienced boogie boarding. Following the “Beach Ceremony” all are invited to “paddle out” and enjoy catching some waves boogie boarding in remembrance of Robyn. Justin from Central Coast Surf School has generously donated the use of his wetsuits and boogie boards in Robyn’s honor and will be available for sizing/fittings from his Surf Van at Addie Street Surfer Parking beginning at 8:30am.
All are invited and encouraged to attend Robyn Harris’ Memorial on Saturday, May 20th at 2pm at Community Presbyterian Church (CPC) of Pismo Beach (990 Dolliver St., Pismo Beach, CA). A Reception will follow at the Church. Flowers may be sent to CPC in advance of her Memorial, with petals to later be scattered with her at sea.
Please join us in this gathering where we will remember and honor Robyn’s radiant spirit and her profound and lasting impact on so many lives locally and around the world.