The Rev. Raymond Rayfield Robinson, 74, pastor of Israel Baptist Church in Washington for the past 38 years and a former president of the Baptist Convention of the District of Columbia, died of a heart ailment May 14 at Howard University Hospital.
Mr. Robinson also was a former chairman of the politically influential Committee of 100 Ministers, and in that capacity he was an outspoken opponent of proposals to legalize forms of gambling in Washington.
He was born in Culpeper, Va., and came to Washington when he was 19 after having attended a one-room school in Culpeper for only two or three months a year. He enrolled in the eighth grade at Garnett-Patterson Junior High School, graduated from Dunbar High School when he was 23 and attended Shaw University, the old Miner Teachers College and Virginia Theological Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Va., which later awarded him an honorary doctorate. He graduated from Howard University in 1965.
Mr. Robinson began his ministry in 1941 as a part-time special assistant to the pastor at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington while working as an ambulance driver for the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. He served briefly as special assistant to the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church before his appointment as pastor of Israel Baptist Church in 1947. During his pastorate there, a new church with a seating capacity of more than 1,000 was built.
Mr. Robinson was a former president of the Stoddard Baptist Home, chairman of the Progressive Christian Fellowship of the District of Columbia and vice president-at-large of the Progressive National Baptist Convention for the Eastern Region. He was a member of the Near Northeast Group Ministry.
Survivors include his wife, Clara Johnson Robinson, of Washington; two sons, the Rev. Norman N., of Clinton and Raymond R. Jr. of Washington; two daughters, Brenda M. Robinson of Atlanta and Dietra Pogue of Hartford, Conn.; a brother, Norman M., of Arlington; three sisters, Mabel R. Milton, Indiana Tuell and Pearl Brown, all of Washington, and six grandchildren.