Happy Birthday, Robert E. Simon

Citizens and dignitaries stop by to wish Reston's founder a happy 97th.

Reston founder Robert E. Simon will be 97 years old on Sunday.

So far this week, Simon has attended the groundbreaking of the Reston Station project and the Reston Little League parade, as well as taken a couple of walks around Lake Anne Plaza.

Saturday was Founder's Day, where people stopped by to wish Simon a happy day, and thank him for 47 years of Reston.

His secret to a long and healthy life?

"I drink a gin martini every day," he said.

Simon was already middle-aged when he purchased the Virginia farmland that would become Reston - an integrated "new town" where people could work, live and play all in the same community.

Nearly 50 years later, Reston is thriving and Simon is its elder statesman.

"Bob Simon is really what we talk about when we talk about what our community is," Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said on Saturday.

Hudgins also announced a new sustainability effort at Founder's Day. This ongoing project will ensure that Reston stays an innovative and environmentally conscious place going into the next 47 years.

Also wishing Simon well at Founder's Day - former Fairfax County Supervisor Kate Hanley; Virginia Del. Ken Plum and Virginia Sen. Janet Howell; developer Chuck Veatch, winner of 2010 Robert E. Simon Award for lifetime service to the community; Reston Chorale founder Beverly Cosham; former  chair Lynn Lilienthal; and dozens of Restonians, both young and old.

Cosham sang God Bless America to Simon on the plaza at Lake Anne, and brass ensembles serenaded Simon from the rooftops. There was a treasure hunt  that sent people all over Reston looking for clues, and visitors could record their oral histories of life in Reston as part of an ongoing project of the Reston Museum.

There was also a custom birthday cake with scenes of Reston.

"I hope Reston will stay true to the values Robert E. Simon established for Reston," Howell said. "Then it will be a wonderful place for 47 more years."

Kia April 09, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Happy Happy Birthday Mr. Simon! Thank you for our amazing Reston. I lived there for a year & was never happier. Reston is my "official" hometown now & I have never stopped talking about it to folks everywhere. I am grateful for the internet so I can virtually participate in this celebration & see pictures of places near & dear to my heart. Live long & continue to prosper, Mr. Simon.
Kia April 09, 2011 at 09:36 PM
I have been searching all day for the poem I wrote about Reston when I lived there in 2000-1. I referenced many well known landmarks in the poem. The year I lived there I lived off Colts Neck, but when I went back the next winter for a work/vacation I was fortunate to stay In Heron House (on the same floor as Mr. Simon) and then on the other side of Lake Anne. I saw the Lake from a different perspective and was enchanted all over again. Restonian Visions watch candles flicker, dancing in mirrored beauty inhale a gift of cherry blossoms early peruse many a well-worn tome 'tis not heaven, but to the orphaned soul, home where neither muscovie nor tiguan forsake as gentle winds caress in ripples the defrosted lake while rustling trees, sans verdure, bare arms swaying in tune it takes thirteen steps to cross the ancient ruin perhaps moonbeams or glowing days i'll forget but ever to recall the beloved friends well-met
RobertCitkowitz April 10, 2011 at 11:12 AM
Happy Birthday, Uncle Bob! Your so loving and proud family
Charles McCool April 10, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Happy birthday, Mr. Simon. I do not think the daily martini is your secret to a long life (maybe a great life, though). Best wishes!
Rod's Sharpening Service April 10, 2011 at 01:17 PM
Happy Birthday Bob! Like to hear more about Restin sustainabiliy
Diane April 11, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Hi Rod. at the Founder's Day event, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins kicked-off the new initiative, "Looking Back, Moving Forward to Sustainable Reston, which is a multi-year effort to set and meet energy efficiency/carbon footprint reduction goals; and to reach those goals through a combination of a revised Reston Master Plan, adoption of transit and multi-modal forms of transportation and a broad-based community action. A community-wide Sustainability Forum will be held on Saturday, October 22nd from 3:00 to 5:00 at the Reston Community Center. We hope you will join in the effort and participate in the Forum.
Jean Beres April 12, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Happy (belated) Birthday R E Simon! Thank you for this amazing paradise!! I moved to Reston from NY 24 years ago and I am still in awe at your foresight and determination to create this wonderful home for people from all walks of life. There was a time when Reston was a sliver of development in a remote part of Washington DC. - now it is an island of nature and beauty within the concrete county of Fairfax. My long time wish is to meet you and thank you in person.
shonnie johnson April 12, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Happy Birthday again (though one day late this time) !! We salute your past vision that resulted in the Reston we now call home...and for your continued interest in and presence at so many of the things that make Reston so special! On a personal note, we were truly amazed that during this overwhelmingly busy Founders Day and Birthday weekend, you carved out time to become FACE # 100 for our artist daughter, Jill Banks, as the "grand finale" of her challenging project of painting "100 FACES in 100 DAYS"! She was so honored that you agreed to sit for her...and as said, especially in the midst of multiple, wonderful activities that had YOU as their focus! We assume you have checked out her blog (jillbanks.blogspot.com) to see yourself as she saw you...and read her comments. She was obviously very grateful for the opportunity to know you...as were we. THANK YOU! Ken and Shonnie Johnson
Pat Williams April 22, 2011 at 10:32 PM
Bob Simon, in his spare time, has also been attending our Aging in Reston planning meetings - and everyone listens intently to Bob's thought-provoking suggestions! Happy Birthday, Bob, and thank you for Reston. Pat Williams


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