An obituary honoring the life of ROBERT BRUCE MIDDLEBROOK
Born January 15th, 1930 in Seattle, Washington, ROBERT BRUCE MIDDLEBROOK has lived his 88-years to the fullest. He attended Magnolia Elementary School in Seattle. After graduating Summa Cum Laude as Valedictorian of the Class of 1948 at The Lakeside School in Seattle, he moved East to Princeton, NJ where he studied engineering and architecture at Princeton University. His sophomore year at Princeton University, he met Marilyn Jean Corl on a blind date set up by his high school best friend and college roommate, Arthur Langley. Bob and Marilyn married on April 4th, 1952 in Princeton, NJ just before his graduation. In 1954, he earned his Master of Fine Arts in Architecture from Princeton University.
For many years he commuted by train to Manhattan where he worked for several architecture firms as Chief of Design. These firms include: Kelly & Gruzen, John Graham & Company, Welton Becket & Associates, and Paul & Jarmul. He was in charge of design for many projects, including The United States Mission to the United Nations; 1964 World’s Fair pavilions for Coca Cola, Ford, and General Electric; corporate headquarters for Xerox; and the Federal Office Building and Court House in Rochester, NY. Then, moving closer to home, Robert worked for Rutgers University as the University Architect and Director of New Facilities during a time of expansion. He then continued this line of work at Princeton University, his Alma Mater. During his time at Princeton he coordinated facilities work on the main campus and then he moved to partner with scientists at the Plasma Physics Laboratory who were engaged with the Tokamak fusion reactor project. Throughout his career he also hand-painted beautiful functional renderings of design projects for corporate clients, and designed private homes around Princeton, including two homes for his family, to which he added numerous additions. He never stopped thinking about design!
As a husband and family man, Robert had a good life. He and his wife, Marilyn, travelled extensively. They travelled across the US and Canada and visited Europe as well as the Far East and Africa. Here at home, they were active in the Princeton community. They were members of Community Without Walls (House 4) and shared many enjoyable times attending concerts and theatre events in town as well as taking advantage of courses offered by the University. The long-term friendships that he and Marilyn developed over the years enriched their sense of connection with neighbors and community.
Robert Bruce Middlebrook passed on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at Arden Courts in Yardley Pennsylvania where he had been struggling with dementia. He is deeply missed by his wife, Marilyn Jean Middlebrook; daughter, Carol Lynn Middlebrook of Kensington, MD; son, Robert David Middlebrook of Lawrenceville, NJ; daughter-in-law and Dave’s wife, Amy; and granddaughter, Alison. He is also survived by Ada Middlebrook, the wife of his deceased older brother Bill, as well as Bill’s children Krista of Greenville, SC; Curt of Tampa, FL; and Cora of Keedysville, MD; and his younger brother Jack Middlebrook and his wife Marci of Bozeman, MT, and Jack’s children, Eric Middlebrook of Ormond Beach, FL and Lara Middlebrook Hayes of Jacksonville, FL.
Robert, aka “Pop-Pop”, will be fondly remembered for his warm hugs, Sheltie ear rubs, the twinkle in his eye when he would say, “why spoil a good story by sticking just to the facts.” His fireside storytelling enriched our family traditions and was fueled by memories of generations passed.
Calling hours will be Tuesday, May 1, 2018 from 11-1 at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Ave. in Princeton. Burial will follow at Princeton Cemetery, 29 Greenview Ave. in Princeton, followed by a late luncheon and light memorial at the Italian American Club, 8 Founders Lane in Princeton. Bob’s family warmly welcomes family and friends to join them for all or any of this remembrance and celebration of a life well lived.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.