Exa Robina Culpepper

Female, #35696, (15 Sep 1926 - 28 Feb 2006)
Father*Lunus Culpepper (6 Sep 1897 - 13 Jan 1961)
Mother*Mary Ethyl McPherson (14 Apr 1897 - Jul 1981)
Birth15 Aug 1926 She was born on 15 Aug 1926. From Janna Bordeaux:
Mary E. gave out this date so that my mother could go to school early w/ her cousins. Her birth records were burned up in a fire or something.1,2 
Birth*15 Sep 1926 Exa was born at Pampa, Gray Co., Texas, on 15 Sep 1926. This is Robina's actual birth date.3,2 
1930 Census1 Apr 1930 Exa was listed as a daughter in Lunus Culpepper's household on the 1930 Census at Pampa, Gray Co., Texas.4 
SSN*between 1936 and 1950 Her Social Security Number was issued between 1936 and 1950 in Texas.1 
Married Name27 Jul 1947  As of 27 Jul 1947, her married name was Robbins.5 
Marriage* She married (?) Grier at Albuquerque, Bernalillo Co., New Mexico
Married Name Her married name was Grier. 
Death of Father13 Jan 1961 Her father Lunus Culpepper died on 13 Jan 1961 at Canyon, Randall Co., Texas.6 
Death of MotherJul 1981 Her mother Mary Ethyl McPherson died in Jul 1981 at Albuquerque, Bernalillo Co., New Mexico.1 
Death*28 Feb 2006 She died at Albuquerque, Bernalillo Co., New Mexico, on 28 Feb 2006 at age 79
Robina "Robi" Culpepper's (Robbins, Grier) life of service came to an end peacefully on Tuesday, February 28, 2006. She was born in Pampa, TX on September 15, 1926. Robi earned her nursing degree from Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo, TX, graduating in 1947. She survived polio in 1950, and went on to have four children to whom she was a loving and dedicated mother. Robina became one of the first Pediatric Nurse Practitioners in the State of New Mexico, after earning her degree at the University of Colorado, Denver, School of Nursing. She worked for the Maternity and Infant program at the University of New Mexico until 1993, when she retired after 20 years of service, caring for young mothers and infants in Albuquerque. Robina is survived by her three daughters, Lynn Sullivan and husband, David of Albuquerque, Kyra Ludwigson and husband, Jeff of Mahtomedi, MN, and Janna Bordeaux and husband, Dean of Phoenix; and son, David Robbins, M.D. and wife, Ruthie of Albuquerque; four beloved grandchildren, Michael and Amanda Robbins and Katy and Ben Ludwigson. She was preceded in death by her parents, Dick and Ethel; and brother, Thomas Culpepper. Robina will be remembered for her beautiful smile, her generous and caring spirit, as well as her amazing collection of outrageous earrings, which she wore with delight. She was a loving mother and grandmother, and a volunteer extraordinaire, giving generously of her time to the Oasis Senior Center, Monte Vista Christian Church, and Vista del Rio, where she resided until her death. She was strong in her faith and has been welcomed into the loving arms of her savior Jesus Christ. In lieu of flowers, Robina would be most honored by donations to Mandy's Special Farm for Women with Autism, 346 Clark Rd. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105. Robina had a very special relationship with her granddaughter, Amanda who has autism and who will greatly miss her Grammy playing games and reading to her. Continuing in her tradition of service, Robina donated her body to the UNM School of Medicine for research purposes. Memorial Service and a Celebration of her Life will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2006, 3:30 p.m., at French Mortuary, University Blvd. Chapel. French Mortuary 1111 University Blvd. NE 843-6333.3,1 
Biography*7 Mar 2006 Nurse Remembered for Giving Nature, Work With Babies
By Lloyd Jojola, Journal Staff Writer

     Robina Culpepper spent years helping newborn children and their mothers, and her work and character were never forgotten.
     “Years after she retired, people would stop her on the street and tell her they remembered her gentle care of their babies,” said her daughter, Kyra Ludwigson of Mahtomedi, Minn.
     “She was just one of those people that was liked,” said her son Dr. David Robbins of Albuquerque. “Very quickly, she would establish a rapport with people, it didn’t matter if they were of different backgrounds.”
     Exa Robina Culpepper – “Robi” to those she knew – died Feb. 28. The Albuquerque resident was 79.
     A memorial service and reception to celebrate her life will be held at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at French Mortuary, 1111 University NE.
     From the mid-1960's, Culpepper was on staff at the Bernalillo County Indian Hospital and Bernalillo County Medical Center, first as head nurse in the newborn nursery and then in the Intensive Care/Premature Infant Care Unit. She went on to work in the University of New Mexico’s Maternity and Infant Care Program before retiring in 1993.
     “It was just so inherent in her nature to be a caretaker and to give to other people,” Robbins said. “It was a touch job taking care of those newborn babies, premature babies. She felt she made a difference when she did that.”
     Born in Pampa, Texas, in the panhandle, Culpepper grew up during the Great Depression. Her parents were candy makers by trade.
     She earned her nursing degree from Northwest Texas Hospital right out of high school and was soon married and had a daughter.
     In 1950, in her early 20s, she contracted polio and was paralyzed and hospitalized. “She actually was very close to dying,” Robbins said.
     But Culpepper was able to regain the use of most of her muscles and walked on crutches for about a year afterward, Ludwigson said.
     “She was told not to have any more kids, but she ignored that and had three more,” Robbins said.
     Ludwigson remembered that, in the late 1950's, the polio vaccine was being distributed at schools in the form of a sugar cube.
     “My mom stood in line for hours with us outside of the school where they were handing out the vaccine, tears streaming down her face, knowing that no one else would suffer the debilitating effects of the disease that robbed her of use of her muscles,” she said.
     Culpepper moved to Albuquerque with her then-husband, a Sandia Laboratories employee.
     While a stay-at-home mom, she volunteered as a candy striper at Presbyterian Hospital. She went to work at the Bernalillo County hospital in 1965 caring for infants.
     “She was a terrifically competent nurse in the nursery and just made the place run very, very smoothly,” said Dr. Bert Umland, who met her at the start of his medical career. She later became his patient.
     Along with her “magnificent smile,” Culpepper possessed a wonderful sense of humor and could be self-deprecating.
     “She could poke fun very gently,” Umland said. “She would find the humor in a situation and use that to sort of keep the atmosphere light when things got a little heavy.”
     Umland, now a physician with UNM’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, remembers when he returned to the hospital in the late 1970's as a junior member of the faculty. He had a load of expenses and a low salary and Culpepper had been in to see him several times as a patient.
     “At the end of one of our visits, she put her hand on mine and looked at me sort of out of the side of her eyes, which is how she looked at you, and with a big smile she said, ‘Now, I don’t want you to take this wrong, Bert, but, you know, now that you’re on the faculty, you just need to look at little bit more classy. Your clothes are just, they’re OK, but they need to be upgraded,’” he says she told him.
     “‘I want you to have this,’” she continued, handing him an envelope. “‘I just want to make it better.’” After she left, Umland opened it and found $100 so he could buy new clothes.
     Culpepper was a real tough woman with a “velvet edge” – there was nothing sharp or hard about her, Umland said. “She was just this charming woman, and in spite of this disability, it was never a disability for her,” he said.
     At 51, Culpepper returned to school, the University of Colorado at Denver, to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. She came back to Albuquerque as one of the state’s first such practitioners.
     She worked for UNM’s Maternity and Infant Care program. Her job included helping mothers who needed prenatal care and food assistance through the state. She talked to young mothers about the advantages of breast feeding.
     In retirement, Culpepper volunteered at Oasis Senior Center and at Sombre del Monte Church, where she taught Sunday school and worked in the nursery.
     She donated her body to the UNM School of Medicine.
     Culpepper is survived by her daughters, Lynn Sullivan and her husband, David, of Albuquerque, Kyra Ludwigson and her husband, Jeff, of Mahtomedi, Minn., and Janna Bordeaux and her husband, Dean, of Phoenix; her son, Dr. David Robbins and his wife, Ruthie, of Albuquerque; and four grandchildren.7
Robina Culpepper

Family 1

Donald Kelly Robbins

Family 2

(?) Grier (circa 1917 - )
Marriage* She married (?) Grier at Albuquerque, Bernalillo Co., New Mexico
ChartsJohn Culpepper of Randolph Co, AL: Descendant Chart
Last Edited4 Nov 2007


  1. U.S. Social Security Administration, compiler, Social Security Death Index (SSDI), Online database at Ancestry.com.
  2. E-mail written Oct 2007 to Lew Griffin from Janna Sue (Robbins) Bordeaux, e-mail address.
  3. Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
    Obituary of Robina "Robi" Culpepper, published 11 Mar 2006.
  4. 1930 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 8, Sheet 1A, Pg 195, Precinct 2, Pampa, Gray Co., TX
    Own-$1500, Radio=Y, Farm=N, Military=N
    Lunas Culpepper, Head, M, 32, M, md@21, AL US US, Salesman-Candy
    Ethel M. Culpepper, Wife, F, 32, M, md@21, MO WV MO
    Exa R. Culpepper, Dau, F, 3 6/12, S, TX AL MO.
  5. Texas Department of State Health Services, compiler, Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 and 1966-2002, Online database at Ancestry.com, 2005.
    Robina Culpepper married Donald Robbins, 27 Jul 1947 in Deaf Smith Co., TX.
  6. Texas Department of Health, compiler, Texas Death Index, 1903-2000, Online database at Ancestry.com, 2006.
    Lunas Culpepper died 13 Jan 1961 in Randall Co., TX.
  7. Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
    Published 7 Mar 2006.