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Robert Henry De Vries

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Robert Henry De Vries Obituary
Robert Henry De Vries, long-time Brookline resident, committed participant in the towns civic life, and accomplished healthcare architect died June 17, 2011 from complications of a brain tumor. He was 71 years old. Rob was born in Ranipet, India. He grew up in Katpadi, India where his parents, the late Mildred VanderWall and Benjamin De Vries served as Reformed Church Missionaries. His father was the director of an industrial school for boys, while his mother was a school principal. From second grade through high school, Rob attended boarding school at the Kodai International School in Kodaikanal, India, a remote hill station in the mountains of Tamil Nadu. He returned to the U.S. for college and graduated from a five-year architectural program at the University of Michigan. Thereafter, he completed Naval officer candidates school in Portsmouth, RI, and received his commission as a naval lieutenant before serving in the navy for three years. After his discharge from the Navy, Rob settled in the Boston area. He worked as a principal architect for both Payette Associates in Boston, and Hardaway Associates in Wellesley, MA. Healthcare site planning and design were the primary focuses of his practice. Rob is known for his ability to design a beautiful building that serves its occupants while adapting to challenging site limitations, as evidenced by his diverse projects including the chapel at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, FL. His talent also extended to his homes, for example the old carriage house in Brookline that he renovated for his family. For more than 40 years, Rob has resided in Brookline and has served the town and its residents in various capacities: Chair of the Planning Board for twelve years, board member of the High Street Hill Association, and member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Also, he was elected to several terms as Town Meeting member from Precinct Five. In addition to his family, community, and professional life, Rob thoroughly enjoyed sailing on Buzzards Bay, as well as blue water trips to Bermuda, Maine, and Newfoundland. His vegetable garden, dahlias, and photography were among his other hobbies. Rob leaves his wife Barbara Porter, his daughter Aanika and her partner Mark Kulis of Waterbury Center, VT, his son Nicolas of Brookline, his former wife Barbara De Vries of Brookline, his brother John and his wife Jini of West Linn, Oregon, and six nieces and nephews. His brother David and Davids wife Nancy predeceased him. The memorial service is at Harvard-Epworth Methodist Church, 1555 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge on June 29 at 3 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to the Brookline Community Foundation or the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Published in The Brookline Tab from June 21 to June 28, 2011
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