News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Robert E. Simon Jr.: An Appreciation

"It’s difficult to overcome the culture that we live in. It’s a culture where a state-of-the-art bathroom and kitchen are what one needs, plus enough square footage to show everyone that one could afford it. We’ve gone a couple centuries without understanding community. It’s too bad that it’s so hard to communicate what pleasure one gets from living with one’s fellow human being."

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, including the grand plans for a revitalization of his beloved Lake Anne Plaza that, if done properly, will be worthy of his legacy. As we've said many times before, he was a model for aging in place -- and aging gracefully in a community that remains vibrant, multigenerational, and even more diverse than when it stood out among the segregated suburban neighborhoods of mid-1960s Northern Virginia. All in all, not a bad deal for Carnegie Hall in trade.

When we last saw Simon, he said what he's always said in recent years: "I'm healthy." He leaves behind a community that, while facing growing pains, is unmistakably that. Thank you, Mr. Simon, for creating a place worth caring about, now and for the next century to come.


  1. Tears. Thank you, Mr. Simon, for everything, and godspeed.

  2. Bob was an established part of our town. It is hard to believe he won't be found around Lake Anne in the city he built and inspired. It may not have always gone to plan, but his vision is heart and soul of what I like to call my home town. Thank you Bob.

  3. RIP Robert Simon. You will be missed.

  4. Beautifully written dear Restonian. Thank you for such well chosen words.

    Exactly my thought ... Mr. Simon would be around. Sad day. :-(

    Feel like I should be wearing a Greek fisherman's cap and a pair of Birkenstock in his honor.

  5. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonSeptember 22, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    Agreed. A very nice tribute indeed, Restonian, to our Founding Father.


(If you don't see comments for some reason, click here).