Robert (Bob) F. Darby, 89, a Jacksonville resident since 1947, died on April 7, 2013, following a brief illness. Mr. Darby was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Ollie Mae Darby; brother Jack Darby; sister Dorothy Knight and granddaughter Cana Anthony Ivey.
Bob was born in 1923 in Statesboro, GA and attended public schools there until 1937, when he began attending Darlington School for Boys in Rome, GA. He received Bachelor degrees in architecture and engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1947, where he was a member and president of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
In 1943, he married the former Sara Alice Bradley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Bradley of Statesboro. Their love story and life together lasted almost seven decades.
Mr. Darby worked in Jacksonville for Reynolds, Smith, and Hills Architects-Engineers-Planners, Incorporated (RS&H) from 1947 until his retirement in the mid-1980s. He was instrumental in its development from a 35-employee firm to its current strength and position as an internationally recognized entity. His career was one of great distinction and diversity.
Licensed in more than 25 states, during his tenure with RS&H, he was integral in many notable projects in Jacksonville, including Baptist Hospital's (now Baptist Health) original riverside structure (his college thesis project), as well the design of numerous other hospitals, along with Jacksonville International Airport's original design and engineering.
He was involved in the original planning, infrastructure design and opening of Walt Disney World, along with several projects for NASA.
Among the multiple award-winning projects completed at RS&H under his direction were The University of North Florida, Greensboro-High Point - Winston - Salem Regional Airport, Tampa International Airport, Jacksonville Convention Center, as well as numerous projects for AT&T and Southern Bell.
As Executive Vice President of Architecture and Planning, Bob oversaw several international architectural projects for the firm in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Among these projects were the design of the Army Engineer Center and School in Saudi Arabia; the master plan for the Qatar Air Wing Base Headquarters; and award-winning design competition for the State of Qatar Embassy and Ambassador Residence in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
In 1984, he was advanced into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.
Bob served honorably in The United States Navy during World War II in the Pacific Theatre. He attended the U.S. Navy Sonar School, the U.S. Navy Tactical Radar School, the U.S. Navy Destroyer School and the Navy Reserve Officer Training School at Georgia Tech.
Mr. Darby was active for many decades with Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church as member, deacon and treasurer, and was the architect for the sanctuary constructed in the 1960s, as well as other educational buildings in the following years.
Bob served the Jacksonville community in many capacities: Board of Directors of The Salvation Army, the Building Code Adjustment Board, The Jacksonville Symphony Board, and the Board of Directors of The Little Theatre (now Theatre Jacksonville).
In the years following retirement, Bob and Sara Alice enjoyed many travels throughout Western and Central Europe and the USSR. They had a special affection for Wengen, Switzerland, to which they made many trips, sharing their experiences and love for the region with their friends and family.
In retirement, Bob enjoyed spending time with family, computers, personal investment, and tennis; he was a regular fixture at the San Jose Country Club dining room.
Mr. Darby is survived by his wife of 69 years, Sara Alice; son Bradley and his wife Anne of St. Augustine, FL; son Leonard and his wife Catherine of Greenville, NC ; granddaughter Seyward of New Haven, CT, and great-grandson, Samuel Ivey of Bend, OR.
The family will receive friends from five o'clock until seven o'clock in the evening on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at the funeral home. Funeral services will be held at one o'clock in the afternoon on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church with Dr. Kyle Reese officiating. Interment will follow in Oaklawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in Mr. Darby's memory to The Salvation Army or Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church. HARDAGE-GIDDENS, THE OAKLAWN CHAPEL, 4801 San Jose Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida is serving the family.