Robert “Bob” van Summern



Westport, Conn.

Robert “Bob” van Summern, beloved husband, father, uncle, cousin and friend, a longtime summer resident of Bar Harbor, passed away at the grand age of 95. Bob was born in New York and grew up during the Depression in the New York-New England area. As a youth, Bob excelled in academics, sports (his favorite being football) and art. After graduating from high school, Bob volunteered for the Naval Air Force and took part in pre-flight training. Bob attended Annapolis, Notre Dame and the University of Michigan on the GI Bill, receiving his undergraduate degree in architecture from Michigan. He also played football at all three colleges and was very proud to play on the University of Michigan national championship team of 1948. He boxed while in the Navy under the coaching of Gerald Ford.

After graduation, Bob made his way to New York City, and in 1955 established his own architecture firm, van Summern & Weigold. Bob was a noted residential architect of the mid-century era and modern corporate interior designer. Around this time lightning struck when Bob met Jane, the love of his life. He was devoted to her for 65 years until his passing. Together they raised three children for whom Bob was a loving, fun and supportive father. In the 1960s, they journeyed up to Mount Desert Island and were awestruck. After a few years at the Golden Anchor Inn with their children, and a rental on the quiet side, they found their spot on Schooner Head. Bob and Tubby Collier built a simple seaside cottage, which continues to be a very special gathering place for the family. Bob loved exploring in their boat, the Rob Roy, walking the trails and cocktail hour on his deck. Jane and Bob also loved playing golf at Kebo Valley. Bob designed the current clubhouse some years ago.

After 2017, it became too difficult for Bob and Jane to make the trip up anymore. Bob was a lover of life, of fun and of people. He was a kind and generous person who would help anyone who needed it, and a strong and ethical man who stood up for his beliefs. He loved music, especially opera, big band music and musicals, traveling, dancing with my mom, stonewall building, sports, dogs, donuts, acrostic puzzles and his spiritual path. He laughed easily and heartily and always had a twinkle in his eyes. Bob will be greatly missed by his family and friends. He lived a long, happy and full life. So, raise a glass to Bob —and if it’s a dry Rob Roy, all the better!

Know when to pay your respects.