Farewell to Robin

Phil Frank’s fanciful election posters helped Robin’s races for city council  |  illustration by Phil Frank  |  post by Larry Clinton

Robin Sweeny, Sausalito’s first woman mayor and one-time owner of the ark Mayflower near Main Dock, died last month at 93.

During her 28 years on the city council Robin ended up serving as mayor four times. She first moved to Sausalito in 1953 and raised her family on a hillside home before moving to an Ark on the water. She was active in several community organizations, including the Sausalito Woman’s Club, the Rotary Club, the Sausalito Historical Society and the FHA.

I first met Robin in 1990 when I volunteered for the Mayor’s Select Blue Ribbon Garbage Committee at the Sausalito Art Festival. Robin worked tirelessly yet cheerfully every day of the Festival for many years. Her efforts were rewarded when one visitor commented, “This place is cleaner than Disneyland.”

Robin’s ark, the Mayflower, was built over a century ago as a wedding present for a family member of the owners of a San Francisco shipyard. It was under construction when the earthquake of 1906 hit, so it wasn’t launched until 1907, but Robin retained the year 1906 on a plaque above the entrance. The Mayflower was placed on pilings in its current slip between 1920 and 1930. Robin opened her historic ark for floating home tours and was a gracious docent.

I also got to work with Robin as part of the Sausalito Historical Society. When she served on the Board, her connections around town were invaluable. As Board member Susan Frank put it, “No one says no to Robin.” She also was a knowledgeable and hospitable docent at the Ice House for many years, and never tired of directing tourists to the nearest rest room or ATM.

In 1996, Sausalito renamed the park in front of City Hall after the former mayor to honor her contributions to the city.

Robin is survived by her two daughters, Tara Sotter and Sarah Sweeny, and one granddaughter. No memorial service is scheduled.