To our colleagues and friends at Figure Eight Properties:
Bob Simons, our father, passed away at his home last evening surrounded by his family. Although we are deeply saddened, we celebrate a life well lived, partially reflected in the thriving enterprise he founded, Figure Eight Properties. We honor and reaffirm his optimism, energy, intellect, community involvement, commitment to family and integrity. As a colleague said, “He always made it right.”
Bob was born on June 13, 1933 in Hartford. Raised in a single-parent household, he began his successful and remarkable business career at 13 years old, putting newspapers together for Kopplemann’s during the week and selling them from a stand at a local church on weekends. In high school, Bob developed into a standout baseball player with the help of an attentive coach at Weaver High School who held a special batting and fielding practice for him before the start of school so that he could participate in the team’s games. He loved the game of baseball and shared his passion with children, grandchildren and many, many friends.
Bob was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War and played shortstop throughout the Pacific while stationed in Waikiki Beach. When he got out of service, he went to college on the G.I. Bill. He played baseball at The University of Hartford, where he graduated from the Barney School of Business in 1959. While there, Bob met his wife, Barbara, at his first class at Hillyer College. Bob and Barbara were married on June 8, 1958 and remained so for 56 years. He is survived by his wife, three children and nine grandchildren.
Bob met Carl Hurwit while playing fast pitch softball for the Conn’s Kings. Shortly thereafter, he began his career in real estate in 1961 when they founded Hurwit & Simons Realtors, a residential brokerage company with 14 offices, more than 300 sales agents and a significant commercial brokerage operation.
As Founding Principal of Simons Real Estate Group and Figure Eight Properties, Bob was the chief architect of its investment strategy. The proverbial rainmaker, he led portfolio investment, development and asset management initiatives for a wide array of asset types that include medical, office, apartment and industrial properties, condominium conversion, and residential subdivision development. The company has owned and operated property nationwide and maintains significant operations in Connecticut and Texas. He was Chairman of the company’s Houston based affiliate which asset manages a several thousand unit apartment portfolio. He also developed and owned notable properties in Greater Hartford including Corporate Center West and Town Center in West Hartford, and 10 Talcott Notch Road and FarmGlen Executive Center in Farmington.
Bob adored, loved and was devoted to the people who worked with him where his warm smile and quick wit made them an extension the Simons family. Besides Yankee Stadium, he was most alive, working a deal with many of you. He felt that one of his greatest accomplishments in business is leaving behind a thriving company now called Figure Eight Properties.
Bob was also co-founder of Medical Management and Development Corporation, a pioneer in the development and operation of privately held, freestanding ambulatory surgical centers. The company developed and owned the Hartford Surgical Center, the first free-standing surgical center in both Connecticut and this part of the country. The company subsequently developed and owned centers in Bridgeport, Danbury, Waterbury and Stamford and managed centers in New Haven and Worcester before being acquired by a public company.
Bob lived with a larger than life passion and heartfelt love for his family and his friends. He was a loyal supporter and confidant to his many talented friends in business and politics. He cherished the times when he would share a great meal, a fine cigar and a single malt scotch with his friends. And, for 30 years, he loved to share a day in his field box at Yankee Stadium with his friends for what was always more than just a game.
Throughout his career, Bob assumed leadership roles in business, community, and public service organizations. He served as a member of the advisory board for Fleet Bank of Connecticut, a director of the Y.M.C.A., a member of the Hartford Downtown Council, a Board member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, President of Hartford Hillel Foundation, a member of the Board of UCONN Cancer Research, and a member of the Board of Regents for The Bushnell Theatre. Bob was also a member of the Board of Regents at his alma mater, the University of Hartford, where he was the recipient of the Vincent B. Coffin Athletic Excellence Award. Bob supported numerous charities and non-profit organizations and was grateful to give back to his community and friends whenever he was given the opportunity.
We look forward to building, with you, on Dad’s legacy and are deeply grateful for your thoughts, prayers, kind words and hard work.
Bruce and Harris Simons