Deceased July 16, 2009
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Yesterday I was informed of the passing of my best friend, roommate for four years and fraternity brother at Amherst, Robert L. Mitchell.
I first became acquainted with Bob freshman year when we freshman lived in Valentine Hall. Bob immediately became a great friend when we were pledged to Phi Sigma Delta. Sophomore year Bob and I lived at a home owned by the very peculiar Mrs. Rowson right across from the Emily Dickinson House. She was a widow with the habit of prowling around the house at night, and the only other occupant of the house was her brother, a retired British Army officer, who was a recluse and hardly ever left his room. His appearance when Bob and I occasionally saw him was like someone out of Rudyard Kipling. Of course, in those days we ate in the fraternity house. I became president of the Alpha Chi chapter, and Bob became treasurer. He was brilliant with finances and always knew where we stood financially.
I was always amazed at Bob’s intellectual capacity. Prior to tests, I would be up studying hard and Bob would be in Northampton on a date. Returning, he would spend a brief period reviewing the assignment and then go to bed. That is why he was such a good lawyer.
As is true of many friendships, although we talked on the phone and corresponded, I did not see Bob frequently—only at Reunions and his visit to Chicago on one occasion. However, for me it was a great friendship filled with admiration.
At my age, my memory of the classics is not too good. However, I think it was Shakespeare who said, “He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his life again.”
May Robert Mitchell rest in peace and blessings be bestowed upon his beloved wife Hazel and her family.
—Sam Hess ’43