Obituary

Robert Charles Sondheim
May 15, 1951 - April 6, 2019

Robert  Charles Sondheim

Robert Charles Sondheim
May 15, 1951 - Apr 6, 2019

Robert  Charles Sondheim
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Robert Sondheim was a fifth generation Seattleite who lived mostly in the Magnolia and Queen Anne areas of Seattle. He was the son of Harold Sondheim (deceased) and Sally (Reingold) Sondheim of Bainbridge Island.

He attended Queen Anne High School and graduated from Willamette University in Salem Oregon with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Economics. After college Robert worked for political campaigns for both the state legislature and the Seattle City Council; and, for one year at the Washington State Capitol in the leadership office suite.

Robert was a co-owner of Rosebud Restaurant with his business partner, John on Capitol Hill for 17 years, a notable place to hang out in the Pike-Pine corridor. Mayors, city and county officials, and local Capitol Hill residents liked to dine at Rosebud. There were many autographed photos of movie stars from Robert's family connections in Hollywood along with the famous Rosebud snow sleds that peppered the walls of the restaurant. During the International Film Festivals, movie and entertainment stars liked to go to Rosebud where they could have a great dining experience and not be bothered by the press or the public after performances. During this time, Robert served for 4 years as President of Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.

He enjoyed working for the development of Cal Anderson Park and preserving a remnant of historic older buildings that were going to be demolished for new construction using the "envelope concept" which saved their exterior shells for inclusion into the new architecture. He served on the Board of the Gay City Health project. He was the longest serving volunteer at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). He served on the Board of the Seattle Reparatory Theater and the Board of the Des Moines Historical Society. He ran for the Seattle City Council three times. He was a very active member of the Cadillac LaSalle Club for 35 years and was its President twice. He worked during his retirement years at Daystar Retirement Village in West Seattle.

Robert is survived by his life partner, Herman; his mother Sally; his sisters Cindy and Cathy and their children and grand-children.

 
 

Jerry Leighton on Apr 18, 2019

Jerry Leighton on Apr 18, 2019

This is an article I wrote for our Cadillac & LaSalle Club quarterly news letter: Reflecting on Robert Sondheim:
It is with great sadness and regret to inform our club of the passing of one of our most beloved long-time members Robert Sondheim. Robert fought a 2 year battle with Multiple Myeloma (cancer) and passed away at Swedish Hospital in Seattle on Saturday April 6th at 7 AM.
Robert joined our Pacific Northwest chapter of the CLC back in the late 1970s as a charter member. He has served our club in several officer roles including being our regional President in the 1990s. I met Robert 30 years ago when I joined the club where I got to know him well. We, along with other club members shared many good times at car shows, driving tours and other club related events. I remember several cars that Robert owned over the years including his 1958 Cadillac that he affectionately called “the Contessa”, a 1968 Deville convertible, a 1935 LaSalle, a 1951 convertible and more recently a 1983 Seville Elegante’ and a 1964 Eldorado Convertible.
I would like to share a recent story with you about the 64 Eldo. I recently got a call from one of Robert’s friends Herman who asked if I could please talk to Robert as he had something he wanted to ask of me. I agreed and soon I recognized the voice on the other end of the line. It was Robert alright but he sounded a little despondent. I asked him if he was ok and he told me that no, he was not. Robert let me know that he was still in the hospital and that his prognosis was not good. He then said that he had a favor to ask of me. You see Robert asked me before he went into the hospital if I could replace the battery and cables on his 64 Eldo as the car would not start. I agreed but we had to postpone this appointment as he had to go into the hospital to get another round of chemo. As it turns out, getting his 64 Eldo fixed was all Robert could think about while he was at Swedish and he said that he was “nagging the nurses about this indecently”. Now over the phone, Robert asked me to please fix his car before it was too late for him to know that it had been taken care of. I was out of town but happily agreed to come back one day early to fulfill his last wish.
I notified our current CLC PNR President Bobby LeCoque of the situation. As it turns out he also was out of town and agreed to come back 1 day early to partner with me on this repair (2 gear heads are better than one after all). Evidently, the 64 Eldo had the original battery cables that were now very corroded and much of the insulation was cracked and missing. So I jacked the entire front of the car up, installed jack stands and rolled under that 2.5 ton behemoth of a car on a creeper to unbolt the positive cable from the starter motor while Bobby removed the negative ground cable from the frame. Once removed, Bobby LeCoque and I put the new battery on a charger while we scurried away to the NAPA warehouse to purchase new exact fit cables. We returned in about 1 hour to a fully charged battery, installed the new cables, lowered the car back to the ground and fired her up! Success! No need to replace the starter motor. I made a point to record a video of this on my iPhone to share with Robert at the hospital later.
Bobby and I did make it to Swedish Hospital later that day to show Robert a short video documentary of this whole process including the successful start up. Robert was surrounded by his family and several friends who were there to support him. Robert was so glad to see us and so very happy to witness his 64 Eldo firing up under its own power for the 1st time in several weeks. He actually clapped as he watched the video and when it was over he thanked us. Bobby and I had fulfilled Robert’s last wish successfully and it was a very poignant moment for sure. We said our goodbyes and parted ways for what ended up being the last time. Robert passed away a little more than 5 days later.
I am most thankful to Robert for being the catalyst for our family’s decision to move to Des Moines‘s Washington. Just before Robert was diagnosed with cancer, he invited me and my wife Tina to come visit him at his home at which point he chauffeured us around in his 83 Seville Elegante’ to look at what houses were available in the area. Within a couple of months we made an offer on the home we live in now. This was a life-changing event for us in many positive ways. Robert definitely made an impact on our family’s life.
Like others in our club, I will miss Robert but at least he is now comfortable and at peace. Rest well my friend and I will see you on the other side one day.

-Jerry Leighton CLC PNR Treasurer and Membership officer.

Eva Thomas on Apr 11, 2019

CandleThank you for sharing Robert with us here at Daystar Retirement Village. Residents, staff, and resident family members truly enjoyed him. He was an amazing man and brought so much joy and laughter to our residents. He is sorely missed

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