Reston founder Robert E. Simon Jr., whose idea of a “new town” community in the Virginia countryside evolved into one of the Washington area’s premier residential and business centers, died peacefully at his home in Reston Monday. He was 101.
Simon was an active figure in Reston even as he passed the century mark in the spring of 2014. He could be seen taking a daily walk around Lake Anne Plaza and attending various Reston community meetings and social events. He said the secret to his longevity was a daily nap and a daily gin martini.
If you said “How are you, Bob?” as a greeting, he would answer emphatically “I am healthy! And you?” . . . .Fairfax Times says:
Robert E. Simon, the founder of Reston, has died at the age of 101 years old.
"It is with much sadness that the Reston Historic Trust announces the passing of Robert E. Simon, Jr., the founder and soul of Reston. He died peacefully at home on September 21st," the Reston Historic Trust announced in an email Monday.
Simon founded Reston, one of the first master planned communities in the U.S., renowned for its innovative architecture, open space, and racial and socioeconomic diversity.
Harvard and European educated, Simon, a native New Yorker, shaped Reston — whose name is Simon’s first three initials plus a contraction of the word town — around seven key principles, which still undergird its growth.
According to Simon, these were: “The importance and dignity of each individual” as a focal point of planning; a full range of housing styles and prices to allow varied groups of residents to stay in Reston throughout their lives; that people be able to “live and work in the same community”; the “widest choice” of leisure opportunities; that “beauty, structural and natural,” be fostered; that “commercial, cultural and recreational facilities be made available to the residents from the outset of the development”; and that it also “be a financial success.” . . .Reston Patch notes:
The father of Reston, its visionary founder — Robert Edward Simon Jr. — has passed away Monday at his Lake Anne home, according to the Reston Association. He was 101 years old.
The town is literally named for Simon, bearing his initials of RES in its name.
In 1961, Simon bought 6,750 acres of mostly undeveloped land in Fairfax County. He saw an opportunity to create a new kind of town, one that was diverse and based on residential clusters, walkability, facilities for all ages and the preservation of natural spaces. That vision turned into reality in 1964 when Reston was founded.
Simon later worked to transfer the responsibility of governing Reston from developers to citizens and formed Reston Association. He served two terms on the RA board of directors from 1996-2002. . . .
Rest in peace, Bob.
There is not much more we can add. Having worked with Mr. Simon in various Reston settings in recent years, we always deeply appreciated his vision, his energy, his intellect, his honesty, and his love of all people.It seemed like he would always be here. A cliche, but one made believable by his remarkable longevity — and his constant presence in Reston. We had a conversation with Mr. Simon just weeks ago, walking the paths not far from the Heron House and the nucleus of the community he created, returned to, continued to advocate for, and loved for more than a half-century.
And what a half-century it's been. Simon lived long enough to see the fulfillment of several dreams -- the creation of a true downtown, the arrival of Metro -- and the seeds of others . . . .
Rest in peace, Bob.