Mark Thomas Robbins

May  6th, 1956 July  1st, 2023
Indianapolis, Indiana
Mark Thomas Robbins

St. Benedict exhorts us: “Keep death daily before your eyes.” 


Mark T. Robbins, 67, died in Indianapolis, Indiana, on July 1, 2023, with his family by his side.

Mark was born on May 6, 1956, in Portland, Maine, to the late John D. Robbins and Margaret I. (Mullen) Robbins.

A native of South Portland, he attended Holy Cross School, and graduated from Cheverus High School in 1974, and from the University of Southern Maine in 1979, with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

Mark’s roots were in Maine, but he spent most of his adult life in Indiana, beginning when he was on National Student Exchange at
Indiana-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, in 1977-78. He earned his master’s degree in History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University, Bloomington in 1983; and his juris doctorate at the University of Maine School of Law in 1986.

Mark would undoubtedly have chosen to be a philosopher if that paid the bills, but law was a practical alternative. His professional life was devoted to achieving justice for workers. He started his career in private practice at Segal and Macey (now Macey Swanson) in Indianapolis, representing the union side of labor disputes. In 1997, he was appointed to the Unemployment Insurance Review Board, and was an Assistant Professor of Labor Studies at Indiana University.

Mark returned briefly to private practice before moving to Kentucky and joining the staff at the Kentucky Department of Workforce Development. He finished his professional career as an attorney/advisor with the Social Security Administration at the Evansville, Cincinnati, and Boston offices. He retired from the SSA a month before his death.

Mark was a quiet man, never seeking recognition for his achievements and accomplishments. The many honors he received included the Sagamore of the Wabash Award and the Volunteer of the Year, both in Indiana. He was also commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel, an honor recognizing “leadership and dedication to the welfare of others.”

Leading a life of kindness, charity, and generosity, Mark was a regular volunteer at the Boulevard Place Food Pantry in Indianapolis and the Preble Street Soup Kitchen in Portland. He kept a small sculpture of a “homeless Jesus” at his home as a reminder that every encounter with someone is an opportunity to demonstrate charity and grace.

As a young man, Mark ran for fitness, completing two half-marathons; and played tennis, and softball with a team of his cronies. His interests included science, art, photography, baseball, soccer, fly fishing, craft beer, and even cider. He later came to love cycling, biking long distances and traveling to watch professional events with son Van.

Mark loved books, and music of all kinds, except perhaps anything considered “popular.” He had a gift for finding and appreciating obscurities and shared these gems with friends. He enjoyed playing guitar and bass. Over the last several years, he immersed himself in listening to and learning about medieval and Renaissance sacred music. One of his favorite places to visit was the Icon Museum and Study Center (formerly the Museum of Russian Icons) in Clinton, Mass.

Mark’s lifetime of thought and study led him in recent years to discover a calling as an Oblate of St. Meinrad, in 2021. Following the Rule of St. Benedict was a way for him to unify the exploration of the known and the unknowable.

Mark’s greatest joy came with the birth of his son, Van, in 2004. Fatherhood opened for him a new understanding of love and shared experiences. 

Mark was predeceased by his brother, Daniel Robbins. He leaves his son, Van Allen Robbins, and partner Elizabeth Van Allen, of Indianapolis; brothers James and his wife, Natalie Burns of Cape Elizabeth, and Timothy and his wife, Julie, of Scarborough; sister Margaret Sislane and her husband Scott of Wolfeboro, N.H.; sister-in-law, Angelika Robbins of Herndon, Virginia; and many nieces and nephews.

A graveside service celebrating Mark’s life will be held at Calvary Cemetery, 1461 Broadway in South Portland on July 1, 2024 at 1:00 pm.

Contributions may be made in Mark’s memory to the Benedictine Monastery at Saint Meinrad, Saint Meinrad, Indiana (; the Monastery of Saint Benedict, Norcia, Italy (; or the Boulevard Place Food Pantry, Indianapolis, Indiana (


July 1st
Post-Funeral Reception
Mark's family and friends will gather at Lincoln & Main Bike Cafe and Winery, at 1:45 pm.
Lincoln & Main Bike Cafe and Winery
93 Main St.
South Portland, ME


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Prayer Service at the Pietà Columbaria, Calvary Cemetery (new section) and inurnment at 1:00 pm.
Calvary Cemetery
1461 Broadway
South Portland, ME 04106
July 1. 2024 @ 1:00 pm

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