Robert was born on November 12, 1940 in Amoy, China to Yoong Ting Lin and Anna Tan Lin. After World War II, at age 6, he was sent ahead to his Grandfather in Hong Kong to pave the way for his family. He was unhappy there until he was reunited with his family after their arrival in Hong Kong.
At first he was sent to a Chinese school. Then at age 11, he was placed into Diocesan Boy's School. This was a momentous event in his young life. He found buddies, and was well liked because he was congenial and loved to participate in sports, in studies, boy scouts, all of the things that taught him team work and organization. He also learned to play the mandolin and German after school. DBS became the center of his life. He graduated from DBS in 1960, went on further for the pre-university program and came to US to attend Hope College, in Holland, Michigan. There, he first studied Chemistry but switched to Sociology. He found more friends and established a network consisting of his high school and college friends. He believed that he had a mission in life and wanted a network so that he can call on his friends when needed.
After graduating from Hope College, he went to University of Kansas. While in college, he met Maria Ling with whom he went to graduate school and who would become his wife in 1968. After obtaining his Masters in Sociology at KU, he went to The New School in New York for his doctorate. Then he joined the faculty of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has a talent for teaching and was thoughtful in the way he interacted with his students. He wanted them to teach them not only Sociology but how to be a professional. He used his organization skills to establish internship programs for the Department of Sociology. He showed them what was needed to obtain a job after they graduate, and how to do the work in a professional way. In all of the nineteen years that he taught at John Jay he never took off even one single day. He was always there when his students needed him.
In 1980, a group of six Asian New York police officer came to him. They want to form a fraternal organization and to fight for equal opportunities for Asian police officers. Thus, Asian Jade Society was born. Using the connections he and his wife made in the legal world, Asian Jade Society brought a law suit to increase the number of Asians for promotion into detectives, sergeants and captains.
He was also anxiously to improve the image of Asians as laundry men and restaurant workers and owners. To that end, he encouraged his students to go into other career paths, such as law, accounting, business, etc. He also encouraged participation in politics. It was his belief that by participating in the public arena that the Asian American would become more of main stream Americans. He also was anxious to know more about the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. He and Maria went back to China in 1979 to see if they can lend a hand to the development of a legal system there. They were to return to China and Taiwan to teach about the criminal justice system and the intellectual property law system in the United States.
Unfortunately, he became ill in 1991 and passed away in 1992 from cancer of the liver, a result of having been infected with hepatitis B since he was born. He death was mourned not only by his wife but his large circle of friends. However, many of the projects he left behind have now borne fruit. There are many Asians now in public service. There are many more lawyers, doctors, executives, scientists, engineers of Asian origin. China is now a member of the World Trade Organization. Asian Jade is now 43 years old and within its ranks are many sergeants, captains and high ranking police officials. If he were alive today, he would be well pleased.
Despite being serious about life, Robert was not pedantic. He was interested in many things. He loved music and played the mandolin quite proficiently. He was also an avid tennis player. He worked as a disc jockey during his college years. He learned ball room dancing. Robert was also very fun loving. He loved to tease people and had a nickname for all of his friends. His own nickname was "chicken bones" reflecting his very thin physique.