In Honor and Memory of Richard L. Robertson

Published: August 2015


richard-robertson-portrait-01The owners, managers, staff and friends of Robertson Optical Laboratories pay tribute to Richard Robertson, who passed away in July. Since 1959, he was co-owner of Robertson Optical.

Through Richard’s dedicated and committed co-leadership, Robertson Optical set a standard of excellence in the optical industry, growing from a company that filled 22 prescriptions the first day to more than 7,000 a week currently.  The company started with 11 employees and now has over 100.  Robertson Optical has owned labs in seven cities, occupying at least 15 buildings. In addition to filling thousands of lens prescriptions, the company sold a multitude of frames and contact lenses, developed the first one-step fining pad for grinding plastic lenses, started a company which designed and sold jumbo lens trays and frame drawer dividers, routinely added the most advanced lens technology and service areas, and produced its own private-label lens products. Robertson Optical continues this success today.richard robertson


Richard is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law Candy and Mike Fussell, Mitzi and Dan Gregory, Tracy and Eric Hayno, and Kelly and Doug Cathey; brother C.W. “Calvin” Robertson, Jr.; 10 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Mitzi “Mickey” Palmer Robertson; son Richie Robertson; father, C.W. “Jack” Robertson, Sr. and mother Lois Robertson.

richard robertson in the navyHighlights of the Life of Richard Robertson:
1930: Born in Atlanta Georgia
1947: Entered the optical industry by working in the shipping and delivery departments of Cummins-Robertson Optical Laboratory, which was co-owned by his father, C.W. “Jack” Robertson, Sr.
1948: Graduated from Decatur High School, Decatur, GA
1952: Married Mitzi “Mickey” Palmer

richard robertson family

Richard’s brother Calvin
Robertson, mother Lois
Robertson and Richard

1954: Graduated from Southern College of Optometry, with a Doctorate of Optometry
1955-1959: Served in the U.S. Navy, graduating from Naval Officers Candidate School, and later serving in the Naval Intelligence Agency.  Practiced optometry in Charlotte, NC with optometrists Jimmy and Belle Palmer.  Opened an optometry practice in Mount Gillian, NC
1958: His father, Jack Robertson, founded Robertson Optical Laboratories, Inc., with the first lab in downtown Atlanta.
1959: Became a co-owner of Robertson Optical Laboratories, Inc., joining his father Jack and brother C.W. “Calvin” Robertson, Jr.
1960s – 1980s:  With his ingenious strategic direction and co-management, Robertson Optical opened additional labs in Greenville, SC; Columbia, SC; Orlando, FL; Albany, GA; Chattanooga, TN and Stone Mountain, GA; partnering with additional co-owners.

Robertson annual meeting

Tom Bentley, Richard, Gordon Scott, Calvin Robertson, Bill Renfrow and Larry Bentley

1980s-2015:  His clever and innovative strategies for Robertson Optical contributed to the erection of new state-of-the-art laboratory buildings, adding space and technology for full-service anti-reflective coating chambers, digital free-form surfacing labs, the manufacturing of private-label products and other services to meet the rapidly changing needs of ECPs and their patients. The company has consistently ranked very high in the annual survey of Vision Monday’s Top U.S. Labs.

Robertson Optical honors Richard by continuing to carry out his dream and commitment of serving the eye care community with cutting-edge optical products that contribute to the best possible vision for patients.