ECPs Pay Tribute to Calvin Robertson, Jr., Robertson Optical’s Co-Founder and Owner

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Calvin Robertson, Jr. shows off his trademark red socks.
LOGANVILLE, Ga.—Calvin Robertson, Jr., co-owner of Robertson Optical Laboratories for 58 years, died on Sept. 17. He was 89 years-old and a resident of Loganville, Ga.

An optical entrepreneur, leader and volunteer, Robertson was president of the Better Vision Institute from 1978 to1980. He served as educational chair on the board of directors of the Optical Wholesale Association in the early 1970s. As chair, he was honored by the International Film Producers of America for his technical direction of the film, “More Than Meets the Eye,” which won a Cindy Award in 1974 and was shown throughout the world.

Robertson is pre-deceased by his father, Robertson Optical founder C.W. “Jack” Robertson, Sr., who started the business in 1958 in Atlanta with Calvin and other associates. Calvin’s brother and co-owner, Richard Robertson, OD, joined them shortly afterwards, with the brothers directing the company’s operations for more than 57 years until Richard passed away in 2015. Calvin’s son Chip Robertson is currently a company co-owner, managing Robertson Optical of Greenville, S.C.

Calvin Robertson was instrumental in the rapid growth and success of Robertson Optical. The company serviced 22 prescriptions the first day, 149 the first week, and fills more than 7,000 a week today. It began with 11 employees, and now has more than 100 who serve customers throughout the U.S. Robertson Optical was ranked the fifth largest U.S. independent lab in Vision Monday’s 2016 Top Labs Report.

Under Robertson’s co-leadership, Robertson Optical has stayed on the leading edge of lens technology by adding state-of-the-art service equipment for digital free-form surfacing, AR coating, top-of-the-line edging and private-label lens production.

In 2009, Robertson wrote “The History of Robertson Optical Laboratories,” which traced the company’s growth over 50 years.

Robertson was known for wearing red socks every day, whether they matched his pants or not, a trademark habit started by his father. “Customers would look forward to seeing the man with red socks,” remembered Glenn Hollingsworth, general manager of Robertson Optical, Loganville, Ga., who worked with Calvin for 55 years. “The socks were attention-getting, helping them remember the relaxed, enjoyable and hospitable nature of Robertson Optical’s customer service.”

In addition to his son, Chip, Robertson is survived by two daughters, Debra Parker and Kim Hash, and four grandchildren. After his death in September, Calvin was honored by eyecare professionals, family and friends at a memorial celebration in Loganville.