In Memory of Cox’s Jim Robbins
October 11, 2007 12:24 PM
I got that early-morning bugle call today to hear that Jim Robbins, former CEO of Cox Communications, died last evening at his home in Westport, Mass., after losing a protracted battle with an aggressive form of cancer that had spread to his liver and brain.
He was only 65 and had retired from Cox two years ago, leaving behind a most impressive track record that I don’t need to elaborate on in this space, because other journalists have done a fine job of summarizing his numerous personal accomplishments.
Instead, I’d like to share my personal story about a man who let me enter his inner world, and I thank him for his friendship. I last spoke with him this past April. He called me to express his condolences over the sudden death of my 5-year-old yellow Lab, Lucy. Jim also had a 5-year old female yellow lab named Lucy. Both dogs were obedience school dropouts, and we often commiserated over their misadventures. So he gave me the name of his breeder in southeastern Massachusetts, and now I have another yellow Lab, Maizey. Jim would not be surprised to hear that the spirit of Lucy lives on. This one, too, is a hellion.
Not only was I struck by his sympathy about my dog, but also the timing of that call. He had been fighting cancer for a while, having been treated by oncologists at Emory in Atlanta. He was now driving in Boston, and cussing at traffic, on his way to Massachusetts General Hospital looking for other treatments. We decided it would be better to talk when he wasn’t behind the wheel, and he later called me again that same weekend. This time we talked about him, and he said he was considering heading next to Sloan-Kettering in New York to study his options.
Over the summer I got an e-mail or two from him. He still had great interest in the business.
Just last week I heard from one of his many friends that he had taken a turn for the worse. Today is a day to mourn a man who has been a role model and friend to many. I hope you take some time here to share your own fond memories about a man who touched so many of our lives, professionally and personally.
Tonight the Cable Center is holding its Hall of Fame Dinner in Denver. I join you in spirit to toast our good friend and send him off with a final hurrah. Godspeed, “Big Jim.”