Ira Barry Robins passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at the age of 77.
Ira is survived by his two sons, David (Stephanie) and Brad (Bianca); cherished granddaughter, Amelia Grace; three nieces and nephews, Christopher Andrae, Beth (Gregg) Langenfeld, and Scott (Jenny) Andrae; and six great-nieces and nephews, Gavin, Payton, Kyle, Marley, Karsyn and Colton. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Beatrice.
A time to greet the family and pay respects will be held on Saturday, January 19th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm followed by an open time to share stories and remembrances of Ira from 3:00 to 4:00 pm at the Becker Ritter Funeral Home, 14075 W. North Ave., Brookfield, WI 53005. A reception will follow the time of sharing where additional memories and stories may continue to be shared while enjoying food and fellowship at the H. A. Todd American Legion Post #537, 9159 W. Beloit Road, Milwaukee, WI 53227.
Ira was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 12, 1941 to Albert and Beatrice Robins (nee Shapiro) and spent his childhood there. After graduating high school, Ira served in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. When he returned to Chicago, Ira began his investigative career by taking a job as a railroad detective. He eventually left Chicago for the Milwaukee area, where he would later join the Wauwatosa Police Department. After 14-1/2 years as a police officer (where he earned eight full commendations and two life-saving awards), Ira became disenchanted with police work. The actions taken by other officers led to his decision to leave the police force, and successfully sue the department for religious discrimination.
Despite everything that happened, Ira still had a desire to do good. Believing that he could continue to do so without the bureaucracy and corruption of his former employer, Ira became a private investigator, and later an investigative consultant. He spent the rest of his life believing those to whom nobody else listened, and fighting to correct injustice and corruption whenever and wherever he saw it.
Ira may have seemed like a "lone wolf" to people who didn't know him, but in fact, he was happiest and most productive when he was working with others.
He took an early interest in the work of Truth in Justice, a nonprofit founded by Sheila and Doug Berry, and soon became vice president and a member of the board. The purpose of the organization was to alert the public to the frequency of wrongful convictions and the factors that lead to them, exactly what Ira had been saying for years.
He taught at continuing education seminars for private investigators so that they could spot questionable cases early on.
Ira organized a radio program that profiled wrongful conviction cases and worked on a book on the subject.
Working with the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, Ira helped free perfectly competent people from commitments designed to strip them of their assets.
In more recent years, he and Sal Rastrelli combined forces to form a consulting team called Archangels of Justice. Their focus was on holding criminals accountable and freeing the innocent. The series of podcasts they completed are at https://www.archangelsofjustice.com
The public knows Ira for never giving up on Laurie Bembenek. But he never gave up on anyone, even when there was no practical hope of freedom. He was always on the lookout for a new approach in these cases, and he made the effort to visit these prisoners, even driving as far away as North Carolina to do so.
The day before he died, Ira was celebrating because he had gotten a lawyer to commit to handling one of his "hard to place" innocent prisoners. He never gave up, right to the end.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Ira’s name may be made to his go-fund-me account, https://www.gofundme.com/funeral-expenses-for-ira-robins