Robert Joseph Moon

July 7, 1939November 18, 2020

Robert Joseph Moon July 7, 1939 – November 18, 2020

Long time Columbia resident Robert J. Moon, 81, died Nov. 18, 2020, of complications from pneumonia. Mr. Moon was born in Cherryvale, KS, on July 7, 1939, and spent his formative years in Blackwell, OK, where his family ran a nursery and floral shop. The oldest of six children, Mr. Moon graduated from Blackwell High School, followed by a stint in the Army Reserves before attending Northern Oklahoma Junior College , the first in his family to attend college, and then transferring to study architecture at Oklahoma State University where he met his future wife, Jean F. Moon.

While at OSU, Mr. Moon was President of the OSU Newman Club for Catholic students, as well as Chairman of the Newman Club Texoma Province. While still a student, he designed a multipurpose Catholic student center to replace the dilapidated building which doubled as meeting space and low cost housing for students, including him. Mr. Moon received a Bachelor of Architecture in 1965, and married days after graduating. The couple quickly relocated to Milwaukee, WI, where Mr. Moon began his professional career and where the couple’s two children, Elizabeth M. Singleton and Michael F. Moon, were born. The family moved to Columbia, MD, in 1971, when Mr. Moon was offered a job at The Rouse Company. He worked on commercial retail and office development projects before taking a position in 1973 with the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation where he designed a major housing complex. Mr. Moon opened his own firm, Robert Moon Architects, Inc. in 1981 and had offices in the Columbia Flier Building which he had designed to house the publishing company where his wife was general manager. In 1993, after five years of declining health, he received a heart transplant. He had closed his architecture practice but continued to design buildings and became expert at residential renovation projects for family members and friends. Less than a year after the transplant, he attended the two-week Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine where he expanded his cabinetry skills. He built a large studio addition to the family home and filled it with woodworking equipment, becoming an accomplished furniture designer and builder. He later attended Penland School of Craft in North Carolina and returned to Haystack in 2007 for a workshop on chair making with his brother Anthony B. Moon. An Alexander Calder fan, he also designed and built mobiles. Mr. Moon’s civic work included tenure on Columbia’s Family Life Center Board of Directors where he spearheaded renovation of the FLC building, donating his time and labor. As chair of “The Beat Goes On,” a fundraiser for the American Heart Association, he headed a tribute to cardiologist and friend Dr. Michael Kelemen, whom Mr. Moon credited with saving his life. He was a strong advocate of Richard Louv’s movement to combat childhood nature-deficit disorder and designed a Children’s Garden & Playground for the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. He founded the Thunderhill Park Alliance in the hope of influencing plans for a children’s garden on the Smith property in Columbia. Among his other pursuits, Mr. Moon learned to fly and earned a Private Pilots License, took classes at The Writer’s Center at St. John’s College and Cheasapeake Writers’ Conference, and attended the SOPHIA (School of Philosophy and Healing in Action) Program at the Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly Tai Sophia). He loved to travel and visited England, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and other countries in the company of his wife and close friends, especially the late Daniel and Mary Margaret Kamerman, Padraic and the late Ellen Kennedy, and Ralph and Esen Paradiso. He and his family enjoyed several winter vacations in St. Croix, VI. The couple, their children and grandchildren and spouses vacationed together for a week every summer, most often in Emerald Isle, NC. Mr. Moon enjoyed a particularly close relationship with his grandchildren who lived nearby in Columbia and who benefitted from his pleasure at serving as their chauffeur, attending their school activities and taking them to community events. He enjoyed music, theatre and the visual arts, as well as poetry readings, particularly those at the biennial Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival which he attended with his wife, daughter and son-in-law. Mr. Moon spent his last days at Howard County General Hospital combating pneumonia and moved to Gilchrist the day before he died. Among his final words were, “I lived a happy life.” In addition to his wife of 55 years, Mr. Moon is survived by daughter Elizabeth M. Singleton (Timothy N. Singleton) of Columbia, son Michael F. Moon (Courtney S. Moon) of Columbia and five grandchildren: Dylan P. Singleton (Samantha R. Schmeider) of Washington, D.C, Julia M. Singleton (Jennifer M. Keller), Alexander R. Moon, Aidan M. Moon and Jackson H. Moon. He is also survived by brothers William F. Moon (Betty Moon) of Blackwell, OK, Michael D. Moon of Decatur, GA, Anthony B. Moon (Marian Moon) of Edmond, OK, and Sylvester C. Moon (Mary Moon) of Andover, KS. He was predeceased by parents Sylvester F. Moon and Mary C. Moon and sister Eleanor E. Dockers.

The family of Bob Moon is holding a virtual celebration of his life on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2 p.m.

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  • The family of Bob Moon is holding a virtual celebration of his life on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2 p.m.

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Robert Joseph Moon

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Ronald Schimel

November 28, 2020

Dear Jean and family:
I will always hold dear my memory of the pure joy and exhilaration Bob evidenced when we went joy riding in his son-in-law's Porsche. He laughed so hard as he was zipping around the ramp from LPP onto Rt.29 that I was afraid he wouldn't be able to keep his eyes open and on the road. Reflecting on this moment from more than 15 years ago I think it was a metaphor on how Bob lived his life, squeezing all the fun he could out of a moment of that most of us would let slip by.
Fondly, Ron

Helen Mitchell

November 27, 2020

One of the reasons Bob lead a Happy Life was his intellectual curiosity. He was curious about possibilities in Architecture certainly and in the whimsical diversity of Calder Mobiles. And, he was also curious about what he read in books. I remember delightful conversations that swirled around the books Bob was reading in the SOPHIA Program at Tai Sophia. He wanted to understand what a concept meant and more ... he wanted to fathom why this concept mattered and why it was lifegiving.

Most importantly, he kept that childlike sense of wonder about the world that is the essence of intellectual curiosity. In the Taoist tradition it is said that the wise are children who know. As they age, these sages drop a lot of what passes for knowledge and wisdom and they stay open to surprises. With the delight of those learning something for the first time, the world remains an endlessly fascinating place to be. Bob never forgot the magic!

Rest in peace, dear Bob!

Susan Rosenbaum

November 24, 2020

I was so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. He was a good man who was a real asset to the community. He provided hope to Gary when he learned that he also needed a heart transplant. There is no way to thank the many organ donors who have given Bob and Gary and so many others the gift of many years of life.

Gary Rosenbaum

November 24, 2020

Jean I want to extend my condolences to you and the family. I just learned of Bob yesterday from a Columbia friend. Although Bob and my paths crossed during our many years in Columbia I never really sat down with him until after he offered to share his experience as a heart transplant recipient. I had just been told that I too would need a heart transplant to survive. Bob gave me immediate comfort to know that there is a road to a long life after transplant. He told me how much he was able to accomplish professionally and personally with his Gift of Life. Most importantly how much it meant to his family life. He was the first transplant recipient I would know on my long journey. He gave me the courage to face the challenges that would lie ahead. I am forever grateful to him .

Duane Carey

November 23, 2020

Jean, I am so sorry to learn of your great loss. Our community has lost one half of Columbia's "First Couple"! You both have contributed so much to Howard County in so many immeasurable ways. I know Bob will be greatly missed. My sincere condolences to you and your family...

Benoît Bosquet

November 22, 2020

To Jean and family,
Sad the hear of Bob’s passing. What a beautiful obituary and homage to Bob, which taught me a lot about him. I will remember his warmth and smile.

Eric Kamerman

November 22, 2020

My thoughts and prayers go out to the moon family. My memories of Bob , awesome clothes from Hyatt’ men’s store , the most colorful sweaters ! to go along with his bright smile and great sense of humor. I always enjoyed talking to Bob at family events and seeing him at the village center -Wilde Lake.
He was a big personality that had amazing talent as an architect .
With Love
Eric , Lee , Chase Kamerman

karen geary

November 22, 2020

Bob was such a gracious, caring wonderful community treasure. I will cherish the memories of our conversations. My heart and prayers are with the entire Moon family. Such a wonderful legacy he has provided.

Julia Stuever

November 21, 2020

I was so sorry to learn of Bob's passing.He came from a wonderful family and I always enjoyed visiting with him when he was "home".May he rest in peace.He truly did have a great life.

Mary Cimonetti-Burkins

November 21, 2020

My deepest sympathies, prayers and blessings go out to the entire Moon family. I had the extreme pleasure of growing up with Beth Moon and knowing her parents and brother throughout my middle school and high school years. I have the sweetest memories of sleepovers at Beth‘s house and her parents making us breakfast the next morning. Bob Moon, just like his lovely wife, Jean, was an amazing person who exuded kindness, love and laughter every time I saw him.
The world is most definitely a better place because of Bob Moon, and I’m so grateful that I knew him! My parents were also very fond of Bob and Jean as well. Once again, please accept my condolences and know that you are in my prayers and heart!
Love, Mary Cimonetti Burkins


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