The community of Toledo, Ohio is mourning the recent passing of an insurance agent known for his business acumen, impressive singing voice and general client care.
Robert L. Haskins, Sr., passed away Saturday in Arbors at Sylvania Care Facility at the age of 73.
Haskins had retired as a Prudential Insurance Company agent, who had taken the company by storm upon arriving in mid-1980. In just over one year, Haskins had more than $4 million sales credit.
He would go on to accrue more awards than his office walls could hold, his wife, Mary Haskins, told the Toledo Blade.
“He never liked to see anyone without insurance, because it was a harsh struggle,” she said. “He was a strong believer in family and family protection.”
Haskins came into the insurance industry after working production at Toledo Pickling and Steel Sales. Determined to go into business, he studied at the University of Toledo and eventually opened Haskins Furniture and Appliance Co.
Mary said she always knew Haskins would be a success.
“You could tell the way he walked and the way he talked, his whole demeanor,” she recalled. “He was a natural-born businessman.”
Part of that had to with his ability to communicate, and it would later come to serve him as he embarked on his career as an insurance agent.
“He had a gift of gab,” said Ezell Buchanan, Haskins’ half-brother. “He didn’t mind meeting anyone. He could sit there and listen to you and try to put you on the right path.”
Haskins was also a prominent figure in the community. He served as president of the Minority Business Association of Toledo for a time, and took part in gospel music quartets and choirs, often singing lead. He enjoyed professional wrestling and liked to bowl and travel.
“He was a very kind, very laid back, very observant person and always thought the best of everyone,” his wife told the Blade
. “If we had a million dollars, it wouldn’t last very long, because he would give it away.”