Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Robin Vincent Hersel, 74

| September 10, 2021 7:00 AM

Robin Vincent Hersel, 74, passed away Sept. 4, 2021, at Kalispell Regional Medical Center with her loved ones by her side.

Robin Wynne Vincent’s story began March 23, 1947, when she was born to William Forth Vincent and Hazel Butte Vincent in Polson, Montana. Perhaps it was because she was born in March, but Robin always had luck on her side when the odds were against her. She defied open-heart surgery, brain surgery and, most recently, a risky procedure on her ribs to help her lungs. If she couldn’t live the way she loved to live, then earth be darned.

Robin had many chapters to her story. Her childhood chapter was spent between Montana and Oregon. After moving around the Northwest, the family settled permanently in Libby.

At 16, she met her first love and father of her children, Don Whitmarsh. Together, they had their daughter, Rebel, and son, Shane. But young love is fleeting and after a brief marriage she was starting a new chapter.

Robin met and married ironworker Tom “Piney” Fronapel while he was working on the construction of Libby Dam. After the dam was completed, Robin and Piney moved their blended family to Southern California. Robin loved the water and enjoyed spending time in their backyard pool. They were married for 12 years when Piney fell ill and passed away.

Back in Libby, even though Robin and Allen “AK” Kendall had known each other most of their lives, their paths came together in an unforeseen way. Robin and AK shared a special chapter together. With a house on wheels, they took to the road while AK worked construction all over the Southwest.

It was a family affair with her son, Shane, and Rebel’s husband also working the same construction outfit. Summers were filled with fond memories from the road and watching the grandkids grow. Robin’s love for wiener dogs was conceived when she and AK added a fur-child affectionately called Sissy Petunia to their family. Their time together was cut short when AK passed away suddenly.

Robin met Fred “Ferdie” Hersel and together they lived their golden years chapter. Robin and her Ferdie enjoyed many years of boat rides, four-wheeler “scooter” rides, camping trips and road trips. The light of their home together was their wiener dog, Lillie — whom Robin made sure had a weenie-appropriate outfit for every season.

Robin attended Flathead Valley Community College. She worked many jobs throughout her life, but she enjoyed secretarial work the most. Robin had a lot of hobbies, but some of her favorites were sewing, knitting, crocheting and baking — all of which she was a perfectionist at.

Her handiwork spoke to her love of tradition. Every holiday season brought new Christmas ornaments to her kids, grandkids and great-grands. She also made sure all the babies in the family had their own silver engraved cup, another treasured tradition.

Robin was revered for many of her home-cooked goods, but most will remember her potato soup (a New Year’s staple), rum cake and rosettes, salsa and her forever infamous rolls — at least in the eyes of her youngest two grandkids she lovingly called “TK” and “Sharshon.”

The holidays won’t be the same without her, but her traditions will carry through the generations.

Robin attended her last Vincent family reunion here on the ground this past June. But we know she’s enjoying another reunion now.

Robin is preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Tom Fronapel and Allen Lewis Kendall; brother, Bill Vincent; two sisters, Jill (infant) and Echo Vincent Johnson; and sister-in-law, Julia “Sissy” Vincent.

Robin is survived by her husband, Fred Hersel; daughter, Rebel (Bill) Wilson; son, Shane (Gina) Whitmarsh of Libby; sister, Patricia “Patty” Coe of Plains; her “sweetiehearts,” Jill Wilson, Shayna (Josh) Cole, Darby (Nathaniel) Boespflug, Carson (Quin) Whitmarsh and Tana Wilson; great-sweetiehearts, Rylie, Kylie, JW, Jahger, Eva and Bennett; six nephews and one niece; and heaps more family.

Graveside services will be at 2 p.m., Sept. 13 at the City of Libby Cemetery. A celebration of life reception at the Fred Brown Pavilion will follow.