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.