Pergola created in beloved employee’s honor
Everyone who walks through the front doors of Winchester Hospital will know Robby Robertson’s name, thanks to the new memorial outside the hospital’s East Entrance.
Robertson’s death in 2019 was a devastating loss for his family, the Winchester Hospital community, and the legacy Lahey Health system. Robertson had worked for both Winchester and Lahey Health during his 25-year career, most recently as the system’s senior vice president and chief facilities officer.
Bob Humenn, an architect who worked often with Robertson, offered to design and build a bench in his honor for the hospital grounds. Soon the project grew to be much larger, and the finished memorial now includes a pergola with two facing benches. Humenn wanted the memorial to reflect Robertson’s ability to connect with all people and his ability to make friends everywhere he went.
The paving stones, landscaping work and final installation of the memorial were donated by M&M Landscaping in Winchester, another company that had worked closely with Robertson over his many years at the hospital.
Humenn convened a group of Robertson’s closest friends and family to finish assembling the memorial in June. Robertson’s work family was well-represented by Anna Aronis, the hospital’s real estate manager, Paul Cantrell, vice president of facility operations, Steve Chiavelli, director of facilities, Michael Slejzer, director of Design and Construction for Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, and hospital President Richard Weiner, MD.
“Robby had the unique ability to become good friends with anyone he met or worked with” said Weiner. Aronis noted that Robertson, who had been her “boss, mentor and friend” for more than 20 years, was “humble, loyal, always had your back and always wanted to see others succeed.”
Robertson’s wife, Catharine, and their four daughters — Maddy, Ella, Lexi and Delilah —also assisted with the installation. It was a proud yet bittersweet moment for this family as the plaque in honor of their father was affixed to the pergola.
“Robby and I had a great life together,” said Catharine Robertson, MPH, vice president of physician services at Winchester Hospital. “A good part of that life involved our work family at Winchester Hospital. To see how he’s been missed, how he was loved, and how people have remembered him makes me happy and sad. I only wish he were here to share it with.”
Dozens of Robertson’s friends convened on July 22, which would have been his 58th birthday, to dedicate and bless the memorial. Dr. Weiner led the remarks, and Rabbi Richard Backer offered the blessing.