Dr. Tammy J. Robinson, a family physician who took care of generations of Douglas County citizens, died Tuesday at age 56 after a two-and-half year battle with cancer.
Robinson joined her father Dr. Clark Robinson’s well-established Douglasville medical practice in 1993 after finishing her medical residency.
The Robinsons worked together until Clark retired in 2007, and Tammy took over the practice. Clark Robinson, who opened his medical practice on Church Street in downtown Douglasville in 1963, died in 2017 after serving the west Georgia community for 44 years.
In 2018, Tammy Robinson moved from her solo practice in Douglasville to Tanner Primary Care at Mirror Lake on the county’s western edge.
She decided to retire in March of 2018 and was diagnosed with stage IV cancer a few months later, according to longtime family friend Pete Frost, former executive director of the Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority.
“They loved their patients, and I believe the patients loved them,” Frost said of the Robinsons. “It really was a unique relationship that they had with the people that they treated. I think that’s the biggest takeaway from all of it. They didn’t treat their patients like a number.”
Many of Robinson’s patients and friends posted on the Sentinel’s Facebook page after learning of her death.
Jane Robinson wrote, “One of the best. Her dad and Tammy were my doctors. Heaven is blessed.”
Gloria Thompson Strickland Hobbs wrote, “She was such a lovely young lady and wonderful doctor just like her Dad. I am stunned.”
Lila Echols wrote, “Prayers and thanks for all her service and caring for Douglasville patients! God’s comfort and peace to family! My husband and I both were cared for by Doctor Tammy!”
Robinson graduated from Douglas County High School where she was active in sports and the marching band.
After high school, she attended Mercer University in Macon where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She earned her doctor of medicine (MD) degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta in 1990, Frost said. She did her residency at Floyd Medical Center in Rome, where she worked from 1990-1993 before joining her father’s practice.
Frost said going into practice with her father was a “natural progression” for Robinson.
He pointed out the Robinsons treated generations of families in Douglas County, from the grandparents to the father and mother, to the children and grandchildren.
“Her father’s the one that kind of gave her the focus that these people are a part of the family and they need to be treated like that,” Frost said. “And that’s what she did.”
Frost said Robinson’s passion was in taking care of her patients, something he said became more difficult for her in the years before she retired.
“Really, Tammy had a true family practice,” Frost said. “And I mean she felt that her patients were like family. She really did. And what was happening with the new health care regulations and everything was she was spending less and less time with her patients and more and more time doing paperwork.”
Frost said Robinson had been contemplating retiring in 2018 when she moved to Tanner.
Robinson loved photography and spending time with her family, Frost said. But he said even on her days off, Robinson was attending classes and seminars to become better at her job.
“She dedicated her life to being a doctor,” he said.
Frost, who had just retired from the WSA a few years earlier after 30 years, said he encouraged Robinson to retire.
“At some point you want to enjoy life, that’s what I told her,” Frost said.
“Unfortunately, shortly thereafter,” Frost said, Robinson got her cancer diagnosis.
He said the doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston didn’t expect her to live long, but that she had battled hard for two-and-a-half years.
“She was a real fighter,” he said.
Robinson is survived by her sister, Beth Robinson Johnson, a former member of the Douglasville City Council.
Frost said a private graveside service with about five people was held Friday morning.
He said a celebration of life will be held later when the “prominence of COVID” decreases so that friends, family and Robinson’s patients can attend.
Frost said the family has asked that those who would like to do something in honor of Robinson donate to their favorite charity in Tammy’s honor.