1979 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"I am proud of my South Dakota heritage because it demands struggle and achievement. The struggle is more rewarding than the ultimate accomplishment."
Joseph Robbie was born in Sisseton, South Dakota, in 1916. His father was a Lebanese immigrant and his mother was a second-generation descendant of Irish and Swiss pioneers. His father managed the town's café and pool hall. His mother worked at the café as a waitress and pastry cook. During the Depression, the family lost the café and Robbie's father became a night watchman. Robbie took a year off from high school to serve in the Civilian Conservation Corps to help his family. In 1935, he graduated with honors from high school and then went on to Northern State Teacher's College in Aberdeen. He entered the University of South Dakota's Law School, but left during World War II to serve in the Navy. After the war, Robbie finished law school and became a successful trial lawyer in Mitchell, South Dakota. In the early 1950s, after an unsuccessful bid for governor of South Dakota, Robbie became head of the Office of Price Stabilization for four states. In 1965, Robbie purchased the Miami Dolphins.* Deceased