Robert Sutherland Alley


ALLEY Professor Robert Sutherland Alley, of Richmond, Va., died peacefully in the early hours of August 14 at Beth Sholom Nursing Home in Henrico County after suffering from a stroke two weeks earlier. While being treated for the stroke, he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife, Norma; their two sons, Bob and John and their wives, Pam and Vickie of Richmond; his brother, Reuben and his wife, Helene of Annapolis, Md.; his nephew, Bob and his wife, Zoe and their children, Cassie and Max of Barrington, R.I.; his sister-in-law, Olivia and her husband, Jim and their son, Jim, and his wife, Linda and their son, Mike of Ft. Wayne, Ind. In accordance with his wishes, his body was donated to the medical research department at VCU Medical Center. The family would like to thank Ellen Robertson and Ray McAllister of the Richmond Times -Dispatch for their kind words about him and his career in two recent articles. In addition to the highlights of his long career as a teacher, author, and political activist already described in the newspaper, we believe he would have most liked to be remembered as a loving husband and father. He was also a "champion of freedom, law, and justice", words he used to describe the great civil rights leader, Oliver Hill when he dedicated one of his many books to him. He would also want to remind us, as James Madison warned, "to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties." Gifts may be made in his memory to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, 518 C St. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, a cause for which he fought all his life, or the Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980214, Richmond, Va. 23298-0214, in the hope of finding a cure for a disease that has affected our family so deeply. A memorial service will be held on August 31 at 4 p.m. in the University of Richmond Chapel followed by a reception at Jepson Alumni Center.
This obituary was originally published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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I am saddened by the news of Bob's death, and I send my condolences for your loss. I'm grateful for our visits--in Asheville in 1999, and at Caraway in 2003. Guy had a very high regard for Bob and his work--he left a wonderful legacy in his professional achievement and personal relationships. You are in my heart and prayers.

Dr. Alley had a profound impact on me. I will be forever grateful to him for his kindness and inspiration. May God bless and keep him.

I will never forget his Baptist-Humanist Dialogue in Richmond in the late nineties. Rather than a bashing session, it was a real attempt of opposite views accommodating each other. This was emblematic of his style.

We were deeply saddened to hear of Bob's passing. The world has lost a courageous and compassionate man who stood for justice and liberty. He was admired and respected in a way that is rare in this day and time. Please know that Carol and I are thinking of you in your grief.

Bob Alley has given a faithful witness to religious liberty and the separation of church and state. His witness has been honest and consistent, raising questions and taking unpopular stands. He was a worthy prophet. Paul D. Simmons, AU Pres.; University of Louisville, long-time friend and admirer of Bob Alley

Professor Alley will be sorely missed by all those at the University of Richmond. While I did not personally agree with him on religious matters, I still believe he was a wonderful teacher. He was always willing to let others voice their opinions, even when he did not agree. He was a true educator, not an indoctrinator.

Hi Bob and Pam,

Together with your family, please accept my deepest condolences.

God Bless--


Bob was my primary mentor in understanding how Jefferson and Madison guided the founding of our nation to the point of creating a legal system in which both believers and non believers are truly equal before the law. I will miss Bob deeply.

Professor Alley, a giant in the cause of Separation of Church and State, was for me a model and a mentor. It was an honor to sit at his feet and drink his words. His life, in the relatively brief time that I knew him, was a gift to many and we all feel blessed to have crossed his path. We need more men of courage, of stature, of spiritual audacity and moral grandeur the likes of Professor Robert Alley. May the Almighty send his family and friends solace and comfort. May his soul be bound...