ForeverMissed

This memorial website was created in memory of Robert Newman who was born on September 27, 1927, and passed away March 18, 2019. 

Bob was married to Katherine Hughes of Glasgow, Scotland, the father of Valerie (Lee Rumaner) and Megan (Jon Dyer), and the grandfather of Alison, Tricia, Max, Anna, and Jane. 

Bob touched many people's lives as an educator and friend. Bob taught at Syracuse University in the School of Education. He was a member of the Syracuse Friends Meeting. 

Posted by Stephen Kasiewicz on July 22, 2019
Visiting Katherine and Bob in Syracuse was always enlightening, comforting and fun. Bob was kind, empathetic and always listened to what I had to say (even if it was nonsense). It's a basic human characteristic that we should all possess. He actually listened, reflected and answered in such a thoughtful, considerate way. In actual fact I should have listened more to him, especially after reading about his teaching philosophy. Bob was so welcoming, so kind and gentle, he was genuine and caring. I consider myself lucky to have met him and talked to him, and write with a heavy heart knowing how much he meant to Katherine.
Posted by Katherine Hughes on July 8, 2019
From our friend Hank Stone:
March 21, 2019
Goodbye to a truly good and beautiful man!
I got to know him at a series of weekend retreats with the New Environment Association. These retreats coincided with his birthday. He had birthday cake, which he would eat before the rest of his meal.
He presented a slide show explaining his early teaching in a one room school house, and how that informed his understanding that children need to be supported by their teachers if they have trouble- not be passed off to the next teacher.
His love for Katherine, his wife, was a thing of beauty!
Hank Stone, Ionia, NY
Posted by on July 8, 2019
A TRULY BOB NEWMAN STORY
My old friend, Bob, was a dear man but he also had a piquant streak and he loved playing kind but benevolent jokes on his friends. He recognized in me a kindred soul who had a good sense of humor and could not only tolerate but enjoy the teasing joke on oneself. The stratagems had to be clearly laid out but could not cost much.
The back story for the setting is this. Our mutual friends, Pat and Harry Schwarzlander, always liked to have a get together for my birthday, which is in the middle of March. It’s a dead time in the winter; not quite freezing like January or February, far enough away from all the Christmas hub-bub, and with a hint of spring. So, we were all invited for cake and tea one night close to my birthday.
Bob’s history of garage-saleing and dumpster-diving would come to the fore. He bought the most unusual things or he pulled them out of the discards when the garage sale was over. Previous to the get together, probably some time during the previous summer garage sale season, he had found this item. He brings it before any other guests arrive and asks Pat if he could set up this spoof for me. 
Here’s the gist of the spoof. He must have brought with him a large spool of rather heavy string. He put the item in another room and wound the string, starting at the box, out of the room and all around, underneath, and through the Schwarzlander’s living room furniture. The other guests come and see the string but no mention is made. We have no idea what is coming. We have our dessert and then Bob tells me I have a ‘gift’ at the end of the string.
Well, in those days, working women wore skirts and nylons in the form of panty hose. Here am I, dressed in my work clothes, with pantyhose, crawling around on the Schwarzlander’s rug. I get to the rather large box, bring it out and open in front of the group. Bob has found for me a black, beaded Chinese curtain compliments of some garage sale leftovers.
One Precious Memory of Bob.
Rosemarie Pagano Bundy
Posted by Liz Sharp on May 10, 2019
Katherine, Hugs for the lasting shared memories.  May your thoughts bend back to the beginnings and resonate fully as you move forward. hugs/peace liz
Posted by Evelyn Kennenwood on April 12, 2019
Katherine, you were so good to Bob. Rest now knowing you gave him your best and that he appreciated it with all his heart. He was just that kind of man.
My favorite story was one he shared once talking to a group about his family. He told that his grandfather had been a lift operator in the mines in Butte, Montana at the turn of the last century. The coincidence was that mine was too! I loved that connection and wondered if they knew each other. ( No, they were not the same man... grin)
I loved that he would eat dessert first and use 1930’s slang, express his delight openly, and that he took deep interest in others.
Bob encouraged me to take a “sabbatical” year off when my children were young and we all recall it as the best year of our lives. I will be ever grateful for that.
Great adventures and journeys to you, Bob, on that spirit side even as I know a part of you remains with Katherine.
Posted by Bob Elmendorf on April 11, 2019
Bob was the kindest, gentlest man I ever knew, a brilliant and innovative educator, on the forefront of peace and social justice and an untiring advocate for Dr. Rafil Dhafir. He always welcomed me warmly into his snug home where he wrote his pioneering books on his new methods of teaching children. He and Katherine were my model for what a marriage should be and my heart goes out to her in her loss.
Posted by Stanley Milewski on April 4, 2019
It was truly a pleasure to know Bob for the last twelve years! His optimism and ever-present smile brought some much-needed light into the world. His positivity was even more inspiring considering the weighty ideas he often pondered, as evidenced by his writing on the topics of education and the problems facing contemporary society as we move deeper into the 21st century. His genuine compassion, caring and concern for our collective future in the years well beyond his own life are attitudes we could benefit from enormously if shared by a larger segment of society!
Posted by Mary Magowan on March 31, 2019
Bob always told me that the world was a better place because I was in it and that made me so feel good.
He was a very sweet man who had the ability to make everyone feel special; a rare and beautiful quality. To value your fellow human being, approach them with unconditional love and make no judgment is what we would all like to achieve.
He loved Katherine and made her so happy, there are no words to describe how much I love him just for that.
He in turn was a very lucky man to have Katherine in his life and her devotion to him is unsurpassable.
It was a privilege to spend some time with him during his last days and with loved family and friends.
My thoughts are with Katherine, my best friend, and a completely devoted (helicopter) wife :-) and most importantly Bob's best friend and love forever...xxx
Posted by Elizabeth Huff on March 31, 2019
I'll always remember his kind smile and thoughtful words of welcome the day I moved in across the street. Over the years I felt blessed to have had him as a neighbor. He was a warm glowing light in the hood. Love and peace going out to Kathy and family. God be with you all.
Posted by Elnara Mammadova on March 26, 2019
I feel fortunate to meet Bob for the last two years of his life. It was amazing to listen to his stories as an educator and to learn more from his teaching ideology that he established throughout his teaching career. His ideas were "out of the box", and I think it is what made him unique and memorable. I will always remember you, Bob!
Posted by Mary Cunningham on March 24, 2019
I brought my daughter to SIEE when she was six years old. Bob had created a space that was loving and intriguing for children. There was a staff of Dotty Shave, Susan Manes, David Knapp , Leah Horowitz and Joyce MacArthur that was one of the most stimulating and loving group of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. And for my daughter it was a space that both challenged her and kept her safe and deeply cared for. When he asked me to work there I was thrilled. I learned from everyone there and took away from that decade a vision of what teaching and learning should like that has stayed with me more than 40 years. My gratitude to Bob is enormous. Katherine, I hope in the days and months to come, you can regrouped your strength and find the path that you and Bob once shared.
Posted by Karen Hayes on March 23, 2019
Bob was a great neighbor and friend. Always stopped to chat or tell a cute, funny joke when he and Katherine went on their daily walk up and down the street. I will truly miss Bob and his wit. Thoughts are with Katherine and Bob's family at this difficult time.
Posted by Thelma Bonzek on March 23, 2019
Bob is one of the greatest friends one could ever have. He was so humble, loving, caring, compassionate and always thought of others. His love for Katherine was beautiful in every way. Bob loved my husband Joe and Joe loved him. Joe's blueberry pancakes made a hit with Bob. He loved my piano music especially Chattanooga Choo Choo. When we talked every night I would say, "I love you" and he would say, "Oh, that makes me feel so good." You were my great professor and you will be my good friend forever Bob. Love, Thelma
Posted by Jim Thompson on March 21, 2019
Bob has been and will continue to be an inspiration for me. I am grateful for having known him. I will be sharing Bob stories with people who weren't lucky enough to meet him for years to come.
Posted by Joe Hughes on March 21, 2019
Megan...Sorry to hear of your dad's passing... you stated that you and your dad looked and acted alike... he must have been quite a great guy... my thoughts are with you and your family...
Posted by Patti Ford on March 20, 2019
Dear Bob,
I will miss your always cheery and smiling presence at Archbold Gym when attending for my daily workout. You always had on hand a humorous story to share to lighten and refresh our workday. Thank you for brightening our days and I wish you peace and love.
Posted by Yuming Tung on March 20, 2019
Dear Bob,
I am traveling in the U.K. right now. Just heard that you left us and went on a new journey. I want to tell you that I truly treasure the time I spent with you at Francis House, holding your hands and having our special conversation without speaking much. I have known you and Katherine for almost 20 years. We always had a good time when we got together. I have learned so much from you. You were one of the most smart, intelligent, and kind people I knew.  I will always love and respect you. I will never forget you. Bon voyage, Bob!
Yuming
Posted by Derek Currie on March 20, 2019
It was my pleasure to know you, learn from you and help you with your work. I only wish I was strong enough to have helped you more. Remembering your depth and devotion to caring will always help me smile. Enjoy your dessert dear friend. And Katherine, thank you for sharing your love with Bob. He was brave and persistent because you are brave and persistent. I love you both.
Posted by Joan Savage on March 20, 2019
My most inspiring memory of Bob was his habit of crouching down to be on equal eye level with a child, and speaking to them slowly and with respect. A totally lovable way.
Posted by Marie Sprayberry on March 19, 2019
Sadly, my husband Ed Voytovich and I only had the privilege of knowing Bob for the last year of his life, while Bob and Ed were both clients at the Menorah Park MPU cognitive care programs. But Ed and I both greatly enjoyed Bob's tales of growing up in California, meeting Katherine, and other important aspects of his life. That life hasn't ended, I'm convinced; it's just moved on into the next dimension, whatever that may be. Peace to his gentle soul, as well as to Katherine, Valerie, Megan, his grandchildren, and all the others he leaves behind.
Posted by Ellen Somers on March 19, 2019
I only had the pleasure of knowing Bob for the last two to three years of his life. But what a wonderful addition to my life. I often referred to Bob as the "deep thinker". He was an educator but also, at heart, I think, a philosopher who lived out the values of which he spoke--kindness, compassion, simplicity, and authenticity. His gentle demeanor will be greatly missed. My heart goes out to Katherine and all of his loving family.  Ellen
Posted by Patricia Carey Schwarzlan... on March 18, 2019
To our beloved and forever friend - we are grateful for being with you on much of your journey, Bob. Harry spoke at our wee Quaker meeting today and said Bob is the most creative person he has ever known. And we both feel Bob lived his life fully. He always looked for the Light in others with kindness and compassion.
And we send this tribute to Bob's wife, Katherine, who loved and cared for him beautifully these many years.
With love and peace from Harry and Pat
Posted by Megan Dyer on March 18, 2019
Dearest Dad:

You taught me to listen.
You taught me to read and to love words.
You taught me that to teach you have to reach a child's heart.
You taught me kindness.
You taught me to value authenticity.
You were fun
People said we looked alike, acted alike, walked alike (bouncy)
I am proud.

Godspeed and Peace.
XO Meg

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Stephen Kasiewicz on July 22, 2019
Visiting Katherine and Bob in Syracuse was always enlightening, comforting and fun. Bob was kind, empathetic and always listened to what I had to say (even if it was nonsense). It's a basic human characteristic that we should all possess. He actually listened, reflected and answered in such a thoughtful, considerate way. In actual fact I should have listened more to him, especially after reading about his teaching philosophy. Bob was so welcoming, so kind and gentle, he was genuine and caring. I consider myself lucky to have met him and talked to him, and write with a heavy heart knowing how much he meant to Katherine.
Posted by Katherine Hughes on July 8, 2019
From our friend Hank Stone:
March 21, 2019
Goodbye to a truly good and beautiful man!
I got to know him at a series of weekend retreats with the New Environment Association. These retreats coincided with his birthday. He had birthday cake, which he would eat before the rest of his meal.
He presented a slide show explaining his early teaching in a one room school house, and how that informed his understanding that children need to be supported by their teachers if they have trouble- not be passed off to the next teacher.
His love for Katherine, his wife, was a thing of beauty!
Hank Stone, Ionia, NY
Posted by on July 8, 2019
A TRULY BOB NEWMAN STORY
My old friend, Bob, was a dear man but he also had a piquant streak and he loved playing kind but benevolent jokes on his friends. He recognized in me a kindred soul who had a good sense of humor and could not only tolerate but enjoy the teasing joke on oneself. The stratagems had to be clearly laid out but could not cost much.
The back story for the setting is this. Our mutual friends, Pat and Harry Schwarzlander, always liked to have a get together for my birthday, which is in the middle of March. It’s a dead time in the winter; not quite freezing like January or February, far enough away from all the Christmas hub-bub, and with a hint of spring. So, we were all invited for cake and tea one night close to my birthday.
Bob’s history of garage-saleing and dumpster-diving would come to the fore. He bought the most unusual things or he pulled them out of the discards when the garage sale was over. Previous to the get together, probably some time during the previous summer garage sale season, he had found this item. He brings it before any other guests arrive and asks Pat if he could set up this spoof for me. 
Here’s the gist of the spoof. He must have brought with him a large spool of rather heavy string. He put the item in another room and wound the string, starting at the box, out of the room and all around, underneath, and through the Schwarzlander’s living room furniture. The other guests come and see the string but no mention is made. We have no idea what is coming. We have our dessert and then Bob tells me I have a ‘gift’ at the end of the string.
Well, in those days, working women wore skirts and nylons in the form of panty hose. Here am I, dressed in my work clothes, with pantyhose, crawling around on the Schwarzlander’s rug. I get to the rather large box, bring it out and open in front of the group. Bob has found for me a black, beaded Chinese curtain compliments of some garage sale leftovers.
One Precious Memory of Bob.
Rosemarie Pagano Bundy
his Life

Article from Syracuse University News

Teaching with Dignity: Friends, Colleagues Reflect on Legacy of Education Pioneer Robert ‘Bob’ Newman

Tuesday, January 22, 2019, by Rob Enslin

https://news.syr.edu/blog/2019/01/22/teaching-with-dignity-friends-colleagues-reflect-on-legacy-of-education-pioneer-robert-bob-newman/

Soon after retiring from public teaching, Thelma Bonzek ’43 treated her former Syracuse professor Robert “Bob” Newman to lunch.

The duo (along with their respective spouses, Joe Bonzek and Katherine Hughes ’91, ’07) rekindled their affiliation over coffee and sandwiches, while espousing the merits of individualized education—a contrast to the more prevalent one-size-fits-all model.

“I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to Dr. Newman for leading the way for me to teach,” says Bonzek, who spent the last 15 years of her career teaching kindergarten at what is now the Seymour Dual Language Academy in Syracuse. “That lunch blossomed into a friendship that has continued to this day.”

That was more than 20 years ago. Since then, the association has outlived Bonzek’s 66-year marriage to Joe, who died of cancer in 2012.

As Newman, 91, adapts to life with advanced-stage Parkinson’s, Bonzek wonders when she and Katherine will have only each other.

“People of integrity, compassion and caring need to be honored,” says Bonzek, speaking by phone from the city’s West Side, which she has called home since 1929. “Dr. Newman was a super professor who believed each child is a special human being and should never lose his or her sense of wonder. He was a hero to me and many others.”

Anyone who has set foot in or driven by The New School—a modest, two-story dwelling on Jamesville Road, which winds its way through the hushed suburb of DeWitt—has Newman to thank. He started the school’s predecessor, the Syracuse Institute of Enabling Education (SIEE), in 1970, while serving on the faculty of the University’s School of Education (SOE).

Newman conceived SIEE as an alternative elementary school, where teachers, parents and children could function as a collaborative unit.

His approach was not necessarily new, explains Mary Cunningham G’05, who co-founded The New School in 1988, following a decade-long teaching stint in SIEE. “In the ongoing argument over which was primary [the child or the curriculum], Bob believed the child came first. He was a man who had the courage of his convictions,” she says, adding that he drew inspiration from the reformist writings of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky and Carl Rogers.

Newman came to Syracuse in 1965 as the free school movement was gaining momentum. His previous experience included serving as a principal at The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (co-founded by Dewey in 1894) and teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in the hills of Northern California.

Bob Newman and Katherine Hughes ’91, ’07

Hughes, who teaches part-time in the Community Folk Art Center, says the latter experience was particularly formative for her husband because it made him switch up his game. “His students in California ranged in ages from six to 14, so he had no choice but to individualize his curriculum. This became the basis for all his teaching from then on,” she adds.

In the late ’60s, Newman received a grant to launch a graduate program in SOE for mid-career workers interested in careers in teaching. Bonzek, a pianist and area music educator, was one of his students. She says his signature style worked on adult students, too.

“There were about 35 of us, and we paid $45 each to enroll,” says Bonzek, a self-proclaimed “devout Christian feminist.” “Dr. Newman demonstrated many of his techniques in a special classroom at the Seymour School, where I was fortunate enough to get hired.”

The associate professor then helped launch SIEE, which, according to Cunningham, viewed teachers as “co-learners and partners” with students. By local standards, the approach was radical—allowing each child’s passions and interests to dictate his or her learning outcomes. Newman so believed in the institute’s mission that he enrolled his two daughters there.

SIEE addressed other hot-button issues, including teacher stress, burnout and attrition. It was a space, Newman maintained, for students and teachers alike to stretch themselves, intellectually, artistically and socially.

“Bob didn’t just believe in these ideas; he turned them into reality. With tenacity, courage and skill, he worked with some of his University student-teachers to bring these ideas to life,” says Cunningham, now The New School’s educational consultant. “He wanted school walls to be permeable, allowing each child to experience the wider world.”

As proponents of experimental education know, schools such as SIEE have ebbed and flowed in popularity, owing to various political, economic and socio-cultural factors. In 1982, Newman took early retirement from the University and turned his attention to other projects, including consulting and writing. His best-known books are “A World Where We’re All in This Together” (Split Oak Press, 2013) and “Building Urban Little Schools: Where Children Succeed with Dignity” (Brookline Books, 1999).

Newman also handed Cunningham the keys to the SIEE kingdom, from which emerged The New School. Thirty years on, the school flourishes—a testament to Newman’s unwavering belief in critical thinking, active citizenship and lifelong learning.

“He has created a legacy that lives on through many people,” Cunningham says.

Adds Bonzek: “I know because I’m one of them. Thank you, Dr. Newman, for all you have done for us.”


Recent stories

A TRULY BOB NEWMAN STORY

Shared by on July 8, 2019

My old friend, Bob, was a dear man but he also had a piquant streak and he loved playing kind but benevolent jokes on his friends.  He recognized in me a kindred soul who had a good sense of humor and could not only tolerate but enjoy the teasing joke on oneself.The stratagems had to be clearly laid out but could not cost much.

The back story for the setting is this.  Our mutual friends, Pat and Harry Schwarzlander, always liked to have a get together for my birthday, which is in the middle of March.  It’s a dead time in the winter; not quite freezing like January or February, far enough away from all the Christmas hub-bub, and with a hint of spring.  So, we were all invited for cake and tea one night close to my birthday.

Bob’s history of garage-saleing and dumpster-diving would come to the fore.  He bought the most unusual things or he pulled them out of the discards when the garage sale was over.  Previous to the get together, probably some time during the previous summer garage sale season, he had found this item.  He brings it before any other guests arrive and asks Pat if he could set up this spoof for me.

Here’s the gist of the spoof.He must have brought with him a large spool of rather heavy string.He put the item in another room and wound the string, starting at the box, out of the room and all around, underneath, and through the Schwarzlander’s living room furniture.The other guests come and see the string but no mention is made.  We have no idea what is coming.  We have our dessert and then Bob tells me I have a ‘gift’ at the end of the string.

Well, in those days, working women wore skirts and nylons in the form of panty hose.  Here am I, dressed in my work clothes, with pantyhose, crawling around on the Schwarzlander’s rug.  I get to the rather large box, bring it out and open it in front of the group.  Bob has found for me a black, beaded Chinese curtain compliments of some garage sale leftovers.

One Precious Memory of Bob.

by:  Rosemarie Pagano Bundy

From a former student and lifelong friend

Shared by Elliott Black on May 22, 2019

I am heartbroken to hear that Bob has left us.  I hadn't heard the news, but I had a funny feeling this evening so I typed his name into "Google" and learned that he had passed.

I am so, SO very sorry for his entire family.

My life was intertwined and influenced by Dr. Newman in many ways.  First and foremost, I was privileged to spend a year as a student at SIEE, in the early 1970's, where I was in the second grade.  He was the first teacher who truly made me feel respected, and it changed my whole attitude toward school, education and teachers.  He took me out to lunch for our first "interview," and I was amazed by the concept of a teacher who really wanted to know what I thought, how I felt and what I was interested in.  If I then did anything right as a parent, it was due at least in part to Dr. Newman.

I believe he was also my mother's graduate-school advisor while she completed her Master's degree in education at Syracuse University, and that, in turn, also had an indelible and positive effect on me, both directly and indirectly.

I was privileged to visit his office in an old-fashioned caboose once, out by the New York State Fairgrounds if I recall correctly.  I remember being astonished by such a humble concept -- of finding something so humble and functionally obsolete, but restoring it and envisioning for it a new purpose.  It helped free up some of my own creative thoughts, and inspired me to stop being constrained by the way things are or the way they have historically been done.

Dr. Newman and I stayed in touch.  We exchanged letters several times over the years.  We were able to cross paths once while I was in college in Ann Arbor.  We shared a lingering breakfast together, talking comfortably with long pauses as we each thought about what the other had said before responding.  He commented then on how much he enjoyed the actual conversation -- a thoughtful exchange of questions and ideas, without the usual banter of frantic debate in which each participant has already stopped listening to the other (or absorbing their words) because they're too busy thinking about what they're going to say next.

I was deeply honored to be able to introduce my wife and two school-aged children to Dr. Newman a few years ago.  He and Katherine welcomed us into their home.  Even in his final years, he was bright-eyed, energetic, articulate, warm and deeply caring.  I will never forget him.

To his family -- please know that I will keep him and all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

With my deepest sympathies,


Elliott Black
Chicago and Washington, D.C.