Robert Ford Schumann
1921 - 2011
Schumann, Robert Ford

Robert Ford Schumann, born July 25, 1921, in Montclair, NJ, son of Florence Ford and John J. Schumann, Jr., former President and Chairman of GMAC, died peacefully on December 8, 2011. He was 90 years old. He attended public schools and Montclair Academy before attending Governor Dummer Academy in the class of 1940. He received his B.A. degree from Wesleyan University in 1944 and later an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. After working for United Airlines and two Buick dealerships, he obtained his own dealership in Binghamton, NY, known as Schumann Buick in 1949, later known as Schumann-Van Atta Buick. He served on the Board of Columbia Mutual Life Insurance for many years and also on the Advisory Board of the Lincoln-First Bank. A fifty-year resident of Binghamton, he was involved with many charities including Broome County United Way as President and Vice Chair of Campaigns. He served on the Advisory Board of Lourdes Hospital, was the first President of the Broome County Zoological Society, was on the Board of Roberson Museum of Arts and Science, and also on the Roberson Foundation Board. He spent every summer of his life and the last 10 years at his family's home in Madison, Connecticut. In Connecticut he served on the Board of the Florence Griswold Museum and Bob was one of the early supporters and members of the citizens' group that formed in 2001, which over 9 years crusaded successfully to protect the land of the old Griswold airport in Madison from development. A passionate birder from childhood, Schumann spent many hours in quiet observation of birds, their habits and their habitats, and especially loved their songs. He served for many years on the Boards of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He served on the board and was President of the Schumann Foundation, headquartered in Montclair, NJ, which was created by his parents in 1962. It is now known as The Schumann Media Center and is headed by Bill Moyers. In honor of his length of service, the Foundation established a Chair at Wesleyan University known as The Robert Schumann Environmental Studies Program. He is survived by his wife Marilyn Hotchkiss Schumann and their combined families, to whom he was a loving husband, father and grandfather: their sons Robert Ford Schumann, Jr., David Dickinson Schumann, and Edgar James Hotchkiss, and their daughters Mary James Schumann Hurley, Lola Ford Schumann, Carol Hotchkiss Potts, Linda Hotchkiss, and Barbara Hotchkiss. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Timothy Chad Hotchkiss, Brook Schumann, Robin Ford Schumann, Tague Webster Hurley, Robert Ford Hurley, Eliza Hope Hotchkiss-Yager and Judah Briggs Thissell, and two great-granddaughters; and by his brother Ward Ford Schumann, of Aspen, Colorado. He leaves behind many friends and admirers who will forever miss his kindness and generosity, and his standards of commitment to the values he strongly believed in. A memorial service will be held at the First Congregational Church of Madison, 26 Meetinghouse Lane, Madison, CT 06443, on December 16 at 11:00 A. M. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in his name to the charity of your choice.

Published by Press & Sun-Bulletin on Dec. 11, 2011.
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15 Entries
Robert Ford Schumann and I were third cousins, and we met for the first and only time during the summer of 2010. The extensive research and posting of the Ford family tree on the internet by his son, David Schumann, brought us all together. I am very fortunate to have had the chance to meet this extraordinary family and am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Schumann.
Barbara Lohrke
January 1, 2012
I will never forget Bob Schumann. As a child growing up in the old Matthews Street neighborhood, he would take all of us for rides in his old Buicks. He had a great sense of humor, and although our paths did not cross often, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to know him.
David Cahill
December 15, 2011
Dear Jamie, Ford, Mare, Faith.
I am so sorry for your loss and wish you all peace and the loving support of family and friends at this difficult time.
With love,
Julie and John
Julie Searle LeGrant Kellam
December 14, 2011
Dear Marilyn, David & Family,

May peace be with Bob. He was a remarkable man, and I will miss his signature smile, humor, and good heart. I will surely share his journey and accomplishment with my son, Earl, a freshman at Wesleyan when he comes home for the Christmas break. My condolences.
Si-hoi Lam
December 13, 2011
Dear Marilyn and family,
Jerry and I send you our heartfelt condolences and love to you all at this very sad time. We will never forget Bob's friendship, encouragement, interest, and quiet and enduring support as we built and navigated our business. It won't be the same not seeing him come into the shop to buy bird seed or gifts at Christmas. We always enjoyed Bob's visits so. He will be sorely missed, but he leaves behind a great legacy of generosity & kindness.
Janet Connolly
December 12, 2011
Your shining light and sweet, kind spirit will continue to brighten this world...
B Hotchkiss
December 12, 2011

Every loss of a parent is difficult no matter the age or circumstance. Your father's passing is particularly sad because he meant so much to his family, his community and the many and various causes he supported. Perhaps if we all do our part, together we can fill some of the vacuum he has left. Please accept my deepest condolences.
Claire Matthews
December 12, 2011
Sincere and Heartfelt condolences to Bob's entire family. Wishing you all, Peace & Solace.
Ed & Margaret Skehan
December 12, 2011
Marilyn and family,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family with the loss of Mr. Schumann. He was a very generous man and an example of a life well lived.
Candace and Matthew Zeccola
December 12, 2011
Sorry about Bobs passing. I will always remember our golf outings with Ford and Bob skippering the Mari-Bop. Always patient and kind. condolences to the family
December 12, 2011
The world has lost a truly great man. I feel so blessed to have had Bob as my grandfather-in-law. I will always remember the wonderful stories he told me about his life, as well as his kind, thoughtful, and humorous character. He was a role model for all who had the pleasure of knowing him; I know that he served as a exemplary guide for his grandson, and my husband, Robert Ford Hurley. My heart is with the Schumann-Hotchkiss family at this time, especially with his loving wife Marilyn and his children. Bob will be missed by many, but his spirit will live on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to have known him.

All my love,
Mary Miller Hurley
Mary Hurley
December 11, 2011
Lola and family,

Wishing all of you Peace to ease your minds..Strength to lift your spirits up...Time to heal your hearts..Faith that will see you through this sorrow.

Sincere sympathy goes out to the entire family. I only met Mr. Schumann once or twice in my life..but I know he was a quiet, gracious, giving man and a true humanitarian.

Most of all..a wonderfull father, grandfather , husband & friend to all who were fortunate enought to meet him.
Cherish your wonderfull memories,I am sure there are many.

Our condolences & respect,
Pat & Ray VanMarter
December 11, 2011
The world has lost a truly great man. I feel so blessed to have had Bob as a grandfather-in-law. I will never forget the wonderful stories he told me and his kind and humorous character. My heart is with all of the Schumann and Hotchkiss family at this saddening time. May we all take refuge in the happy memories we shared with Grandpa Bob throughout his well-lived life. His spirit will live on in the hearts of all of those who were lucky enough to know him.
Mary Hurley
December 11, 2011
Even though we never got the chance to meet Bob we feel that we got to know him through his grandson Ford and our daughter Mary (Ford's wife). He sounded like a wonderful, generous and caring man and I know he will be missed dearly. We would like the family to know that we are thinking of you all at this difficult time.

Warmest Regards,

Tricia and Don Miller
December 11, 2011
Marilyn and Family,

I am very sorry on our loss of Bob. He was a great and generous man. I loved working for him. He was a great boss and I considered him a true friend. Always loved talking to him up at Nuthatch. In his honor, I will take good care of Nuthatch until it is transferred to Binghamton University. Let me know of anything you need done at Nuthatch or here in Binghamton. Marilyn, I hope you are OK. I feel very honored that I got to know Bob for all these years. You have Ruth's and my sincerest condolences.

Dick And Ruth Zeccola
Richard Zeccola
December 11, 2011
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