Robert W. Schmitt
October 10, 1919 ~ July 29, 2018
Robert W. Schmitt, 98, of Wilton, died peacefully Sunday, July 29, 2018.
Born October 10, 1919, Robert was eldest of nine sons and one daughter born to Artist and co-founder of the Silvermine Arts Guild, Carl Schmitt, and his wife, Gertrude. From Robert’s youth until his death surrounded by family in the home of his nephew in Orange, his encyclopedic memory held a trove of poems, songs, histories, and every word of the catechism his father taught him on Sundays when he was a boy.
Aside from some years in Chartres and Rome, he grew up in Silvermine. Excelling in all subjects, he graduated from New Canaan High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University, during which time he also worked to support the family as a draftsman at Sikorsky. He moved to Texas as an aircraft draftsman with Chance-Vought, and upon his return to Silvermine, took up architecture, designing colonial homes for Wilton architects Nelson Breed and Lynedon Eaton, and Johnson Lee of New Canaan, respectively. For decades after, he freelanced his own projects, notably designing and building homes with each of his brothers as they left home to start their families in the section of Silvermine known as “Schmittville.”
He learned to played flute and piccolo with his Uncle Robert, and ever after played for all the local symphonies, including the Stamford Symphony, New Canaan Marching Band, Gilbert and Sullivan Summer Stock, the Darien Troupers, the Wilton Playshop Pit Orchestra and Greenwich Philharmonia, and the Norwalk Symphony, where he was also personnel manger. His sonorous baritone graced all the local choirs; most recently St. Aloysius in New Canaan, and St. Mary in Norwalk, where he and his devoted sister Gertrude were seen without fail each Sunday.
An avid sailor, he enjoyed boating with his brothers, coin collecting, and making wine from the vineyard he planted with cuttings imported from Burgundy and Bordeaux.
A founding board member of the Carl Schmitt Foundation and the official family mythologist, Robert worked to preserve and advance the legacy of Carl Schmitt’s remarkable art and thought.
Robert’s unfailing kindness, solemn wit, and beautiful voice will be greatly missed by his sister Gertrude of Silvermine, brothers Jacob of Delaware, Carl of Washington, D.C., the Rev. Christopher Schmitt of Texas, and several score nephews and nieces to the great and great-great generations. Grateful and peaceful to the last, he died as he lived, a gentleman through and through.
Mr. Schmitt is preceded in death by brothers Peter, Austin, Michael, David, and John.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, August 3, at 10:00 am in St. Mary Church, 669 West, Avenue, Norwalk. Interment will follow in St. John Cemetery, Norwalk.
Friends may call Thursday, August 2, from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at Collins Funeral home, 92 East Avenue, Norwalk.
Memorial contributions can be made to The Carl Schmitt Foundation, 30 Borglum Rd, Wilton, CT 06897.