Yale '62 - Obituaries - Robert H. Symonds

Robert H. Symonds

Born: August 11, 1939
Died: August 7, 1965

Rob Symonds was born in New York City and raised in Wilton, Connecticut. He prepared for Yale at the Kent School. He was a member of Berkeley College while an undergraduate. Rob was a member of the Berkeley Players and St. Anthony Hall. He played Freshman and Varsity hockey. After graduation, he enrolled in the Yale School of Architecture and received his Bachelor of Architecture in 1965.

While an architectural student, Rob traveled extensively throughout the country. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute to study sculpture. He mountain climbed, hiked, backpacked and canoed on numerous occasions with classmate Willie Wheeler and others. On one occasion he climbed Mt. Rainier with "The Mountaineers," a group from Seattle; when the leader became ill, Rob was chosen to lead the climb.

While still in architectural school, Rob started work on the design of a house to be built for classmate Tony Scoville in Cuttingsville, Vermont. After graduation, Rob went to Cuttingsville and work commenced on the new house under his direction as architect and contractor. It was during the course of this project in Vermont that Rob met his tragic death. On August 7, 1965, at age 25, he was killed by lightning while alone at the house site where he had remained to await the storm's passing before returning to Connecticut on his motorcycle.

In his memory, his family, assisted by Tony Scoville, established the Robert Hale Symonds Fund to be administered by the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture for the purpose of assisting architectural students in achieving interdisciplinary ecological approaches to architecture.

Rob touched deeply those who knew him and shared his creativity and love for the outdoors and for architecture. Rob never married and was survived by two brothers, a sister and his father, George W.D. Symonds, Yale Class of 1934, and his mother Margaret, Vassar 1935.