Robert F. Darby

July 10, 1923April 7, 2013

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.


  • Visitation Wednesday, April 10, 2013
  • Funeral Service Thursday, April 11, 2013

Robert F. Darby

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Vickie Doughman (darby)

March 12, 2014

Dear Sara Alice, I am sad to hear of Bob's passing. Bless you always and I will always be filled with find memories of you both.

April 15, 2013

Mrs. Darby,

We are so sorry to hear of Mr. Darby's death. He (and you) are so special to all of us. You will be in our prayers daily!

Love you,

Annette, Raymond, Matthew and Megan Waller

Kathy Hamilton

April 12, 2013

Mrs. Darby, I am so sorry that we are out of the country and were not home to attend Mr. Darby's funeral. He was such a sweet man and our wonderful neighbor for so many years. He always gave me a hug and a kind word. You and he are so very fortunate to have shared your lives together. You set such a fine example for us all. We will keep you in our prayers during this very sad time.

wade tye

April 12, 2013

Bob gave me my first job, out of college, and I was always impressed with his profesional dedication to architecture and the busines world. Bob was one of the good guys..

Major Bert Tanner

April 11, 2013

Dear Sara Alice:

What wonderful memories I have of Bob. He was a mentor and an example of a true Christian gentleman. He led me through some difficult projects during my time in Jacksonville. You and Bob were so kind to our family.
My love to you My Dear.

April 10, 2013

Dear Sara Alice,
My thoughts & prayers are with you and your family. May your faith keep you strong and fond memories gladden your heart.
Greg Buch
Philadelphia, PA

Lisa Cusimano

April 10, 2013

I was saddened to hear about the death of Robert Darby. He and Sara Alice attended Riverside Baptist for a time and I have always kept them in my thoughts. Sara Alice, I will keep you in my prayers.

Jay Vogeley

April 10, 2013

Dear Sara Alice, I know you always say:"God is in charge, so all is well" and that you have the faith and strength to go on without Bob. We will miss him here at the Carriage Club, though. We are here for you now. Love from Bill and Jay Vogeley.

Marie Tobias

April 10, 2013

Bob and Sara Alice were the dearest couple, sweethearts from the second grade-- what a wonderful example of a Christian marriage.
They were so loving and caring--always ready to share,
Bob will be greatly missed, they just don't make them like him anymore.
Special prayers for his family.
Marie Tobias

April 9, 2013

Sara Alice and family,
So sad to hear of Bob's passing. A dear man that will be missed. My Bob and I always enjoyed visiting with you both. He loved you and family dearly. I pray out Lord will give you peace and comfort in your days ahead. Cherish your memories as I know you will.
Linda A. Uible
Jacksonville, Florida