Salisbury – Robert Leicester Hall II, age 86, of 17 Cobble Road, Salisbury, CT, died peacefully on January 2, 2018, of old age in his home surrounded by his loving family. He was a gentle, kind, unconditionally loving, loyal and supportive husband, father, son, brother and friend to all who were privileged to know him.
Robert was born on November 5, 1931, in Springfield, MA, and was the son of the late Robert Leicester Hall and Eugenie Theresa Zeller Hall, who after their divorce, later remarried Theodore Evans and she became Eugenie T. Evans. He graduated high school from Kent School and attended Cornell University where he studied Engineering and was an active member and alumni of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
From 1956 – 1958, Robert served in the U.S. Armed Forces of the United States, and after serving on the reserve until 1962. In basic training at Fort Dix, N.J., he met his lifelong ‘best buddy’ John Lenkey III, who reminisced, “We bonded so closely in the Army I had him as my best man in my first wedding.”
While Robert was stationed in Germany, he met the love of his life Regine Walter, and after his service duty was completed, he went back to Germany and they married on July 11, 1959, in Stuttgart, Germany, and had a son named Mark.
Robert’s professional life work consisted of many entrepreneurial paths through the years: IBM consultant, engineering, surveying, avid inventor, private driver, and a partner and investor in an environmental green technology start-up.
Robert’s biggest passion was being a small-craft plane pilot, following in his father’s footsteps, a prominent designer and test-pilot of Grumman Airplanes, like the F4F Wildcat and F5F Hellcat, that helped the allies win in World War II, and he also designed the TBF Avenger, which President Bush, then a naval aviator, flew in World War II. Later as vice president and chief engineer at Grumman, he spearheaded the development of building Panther and Cougar jet fighters. His father’s achievements, always greatly inspired Robert’s passion for creating, developing, and excelling, in whatever he pursued.
Robert was a great lover of nature and cherished his long walks on the Appalachian Trail. He was saddened when he saw litter, feeling it was very disrespectful to our beautiful world and made it a point to go out each day and pick up a bag of garbage, and as he would say, ‘This is a small step toward the greater good and hopefully others will follow by example.”
Robert had a beautiful voice and loved to sing and performed regularly with the local Housatonics Barbershop Chorus featuring familiar old songs mixed with more recent hits. He also loved reading, sailing, camping, traveling, volunteering at various local churches whenever he could, and breaking bread with friends.
Most important, Roberts’s true character can be measured by his perpetual kindness, loyalty, devotion and support toward his beloved family, in particular, his mother who suffered from poor health for most of her life, friends, neighbors and even strangers who were in need. Bob ‘walked the walk’ and lived his life humbly, quietly, thoughtfully, mindfully and spiritually with a deep faith and trust in God, despite the highs and lows life had to offer.
Julie Butler, his long-time friend stated, “Bob was the kindest man I ever met. He was quiet and humble in his pursuit for daily service to help others. Case in point, years ago, I was in a bad car accident and it took me 6 years to walk, and 2 of those years I was unable to drive, during which, every day Bob called to ask if I needed anything, if he could pick up anything, or drive me anywhere. Being so physically disabled, his help was very appreciated. Although I offered to pay him, he would never take it, and only ask I buy him a sandwich and a soda for later, which I gladly did. Through the years, I have often thought of his extreme unconditional kindness, and marveled, because in truth, how many people would do what he did to help me? Not many. He was a God-send, he was an angel, and I thank God every day for his help, his kindness, and his quiet accepting approach to life on life terms. In my life, there are very few ‘Christ-like’ people that I have met. I’m honored to say, Bob was one of those rare ‘Christ-like’ souls. He always did the next right thing, regardless of the sacrifice. What an honor to have known him! His character continues to give me hope for mankind, with the wish, that more will follow in his admirable footsteps.”
Robert is survived by his beloved ex-wife Regine Rohrback, of Switzerland, whom he felt very blessed to have remained best friends with throughout his life, his son Mark, wife Helly and grand-daughter Amber of the Philippines, his most-beloved sister Rosemary Demery, of Elizabeth CO, and her three daughters, Carol Ann Snyder, of Norton, KS, Karen Hess, of Arvada, CO, and Darla Orton, of Elizabeth CO, and her 2 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild, and his three brothers from his father’s second marriage to Rhoda Halvorsen, Edward, of San Diego, CA, Eric, of Bristol, R.I., and Benjamin, of Tiverton, R.I., and their seven grandchildren.
A memorial service in honor of Robert’s life, will be offered by Father Richardson W. Schell, the Kent School Headmaster, at the Kent School Chapel on Sunday November 4th at 1:00 pm, and the burial will be held immediately after in the historic Kent School Cemetery, where he will be honored with a Veteran Memorial headstone, and the Veterans Honors at the graveside.
Memorial contributions may be made in honor of Robert L. Hall II to the Kent School Scholarship Fund.