A hard-working tradesman in the Midlands who passed away last month has been remembered by his family and former colleagues.
Robin Smith who founded Rugby-based Custom Heat in 1980, died at the age of 67 and has been described as having ‘plumbing in his blood’.
His son Lincoln, who took over the company in 2009 when he retired, paid tribute to him, and said: “His passing marks the end of an era and serves as a poignant reminder of the remarkable journey Custom Heat has undertaken since its inception over 40 years ago.”
Born in Birmingham in 1956, Robin Smith relocated to Rugby as a child, establishing deep roots in the community that would become his lifelong home.
Inspired by his father, a skilled plumber himself, Robin embarked on his entrepreneurial journey alongside his wife Hilary, founding Custom Heat in 1980. From modest beginnings, the business quickly flourished, expanding its scope to include both plumbing and heating services.
Throughout the 1980s, Custom Heat experienced significant growth under Robin and Hilary’s leadership. In a pivotal moment, Robin and Hilary Smith acquired the Rugby office in 1998, providing a solid foundation for further expansion under the leadership of his son Lincoln.
Despite the company’s burgeoning success and a growing team, Robin remained actively engaged in day-to-day operations, personally attending to tasks ranging from quoting and customer inquiries to on-site visits spanning Rugby and its surrounding areas.
Lincoln said: “His warm sense of humour, not to mention the inability to tell you a joke just the once, made Dad a much-loved figure, leading to countless word-of-mouth referrals.
“What Dad lacked in comedy finesse he made up for on the job. He was a stickler for standards, with a reputation for quality workmanship that preceded him. He was very old school and incredibly customer focussed in the quality of work. The biggest thing was how the job was finished. His attention to detail was very high and he was very specific on each and every detail of a job. He was very knowledgeable and knew a lot – he had a lot of experience with many different systems, from manor houses to complex systems, he always got the job done,” he added.
The family have a book of condolence in their Rugby office and said they were touched with the amount of people who have come to sign it.
“One customer wrote that they remembered my Dad coming to quote for a job in the 1980s, and has used the company ever since, which I think is testament to the hard work and attention to detail he had. Of all the things he said, there’s one thing that’s always stuck in my head, was ‘Whether the customer has a caravan or a palace, you treat them the same’. It’s that commitment to customer service, attention to detail and true passion for the job that made him a very special man.”
Lincoln added: “He will be remembered not only as a skilled plumber but as a remarkable individual who touched the lives of those he served. His unwavering dedication, attention to detail, and genuine care for every customer have set an enduring standard of excellence.”