Robert A. Simons, 81 of West Hartford, husband of Barbara (Hoffman) Simons died Thursday, February 12, 2015 at home surrounded by his family. Bob was born on June 13, 1933 in Hartford. Raised in a single-parent household, Bob began his business career at 13 years old, putting newspapers together for Kopplemann’s during the week and selling them from a stand at a local church on weekends. In high school, Bob developed into a standout baseball player with the help of a coach at Weaver High School who held practices for him before school so that he could participate in the team’s games. Bob was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War and played shortstop while stationed in Waikiki Beach. He went to college on the G.I. Bill and played baseball at The University of Hartford, where he graduated from the Barney School of Business in 1959. While there, Bob met his wife of 56 years, Barbara. Besides his wife, Bob is survived by his children Harris and his wife Linda of West Hartford, Bruce and his wife Elisabeth of West Hartford, and Sharon and her husband Jeff of Rye, NY. He leaves his sister Judy Klemba and her husband John of West Hartford, his sister-in-law Ferne Hoffman of Bloomfield, and his brother Howard Simons of NJ. He also leaves 9 beloved grandchildren Jacquelyn, Austin, Charlie and Ted Simons, Jenna, Sydnie and Aidan Cammisa, and Madeline and Jack Reich.
In 1961, Bob met Carl Hurwit playing softball for Conn’s King’s, and they founded Hurwit & Simons Realtors, a residential brokerage company with 14 offices, over 300 sales agents, and a significant commercial brokerage operation. As Founding Principal of Simons Real Estate Group and Figure Eight Properties, Bob was the proverbial rainmaker, leading investment and development for medical, office, apartment and industrial properties, condominium conversion, and residential subdivision development. His offices spanned across several states, including Atlanta, Houston, North Carolina, Round Rock, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. He was Chairman of a Houston asset management affiliate for several thousands of residential units throughout Texas. He also developed and owned many notable properties in Greater Hartford such as Corporate Center West and Town Center in West Hartford and 10 Talcott Notch Road and FarmGlen in Farmington. Bob adored, loved, and was devoted to the people who worked with him. He felt that one of his greatest accomplishments was leaving behind a thriving company.
Bob was also co-founder of Medical Management and Development Corporation, a pioneer in the development and operation of privately held, freestanding ambulatory surgical centers. The company developed and owned surgical centers in Hartford, Bridgeport, Danbury, Waterbury and Stamford and managed centers in New Haven and Worcester before being acquired by a public company.
Bob lived with a larger than life passion and heartfelt love for his family and his friends. He was a loyal supporter and confidant to his many talented friends in business and politics. He cherished the times when he would share a great meal, a fine cigar and a single malt scotch with his friends. And, for 30 years, he loved to share a day in his field box at Yankee Stadium with his friends for what was always more than just a game.
Throughout his career, Bob assumed leadership roles in business, community, and public service organizations. He served as a member of the advisory board for Fleet Bank of Connecticut, a director of the Y.M.C.A., a member of the Hartford Downtown Council, a Board member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, President of Hartford Hillel Foundation, a member of the Board of UCONN Cancer Research, and a member of the Board of Regents for The Bushnell Theatre. Bob was also a member of the Board of Regents at his alma mater, the University of Hartford, where he was the recipient of the Vincent B. Coffin Athletic Excellence Award. Bob supported numerous charities and non-profit organizations and was grateful to give back to his community and friends whenever he was given the opportunity.
Funeral Services will be held Monday, February 16, 2015 at 1:00 pm at Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford with burial in Beth El Cemetery, Avon. A memorial period will be observed at 115 High Ridge Road in West Hartford from Monday following the funeral through Wednesday. Memorial contributions may be made to Hillel at The University of Hartford or to the Northwest Boys and Girls Club, 1 Nahum Drive, Hartford, CT 06112.
The family wishes to thank Lucretia, Debra, and Johnoy for their exemplary care and devotion during Bob’s illness. Also, a special thanks to Dr. Paul Guardino for the professional manner in which he took care of Bob. For further information, directions or to sign the guest book for Bob, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com/funerals/cfm.