2011-03-23 / Obituaries

Robert Carl Bielenberg


Robert Carl Bielenberg Robert Carl Bielenberg Robert Carl Bielenberg, 86, passed away at his home in Red Hook, NY, on Thursday, March 10, surrounded by family.

Robert was born on July 7, 1924, and raised in Detroit, where he graduated from Cass Technical High School as an art major. He won a scholarship to the Cleveland Institute of Art of Case Western Reserve University, followed by training in New York City at the National Academy and the Art Students League.

A childhood injury prevented him from serving in the armed services during World War II so he worked for the United Service Organization (USO) Camp Shows (1943-47), drawing portraits of wounded servicemen and women at Veterans Administration hospitals across the country. After the war, Robert worked as a commercial artist in New York City.

In 1951, Robert married Barbara Weil of Bronxville. In 1955 they built a home overlooking the Hudson River in Garrison. The Bielenbergs were well known for their civic activities in Garrison, having co-founded the Garrison Art Center and Hand-to-Mouth Players at the Depot Theater in the 1960s.

In 1968, Robert, along with Pete Seeger and others, raised funds to build the sloop Clearwater.

One of Robert’s fondest memories was serving as a crew member on the Clearwater’s maiden voyage up the Hudson River from New York City to Albany.

The Bielenbergs moved to Red Hook in 1974 and joined the effort to acquire, restore, and furnish the historic Elmendorph Inn staring in 1977. The Inn serves today as a community center for Red Hook.

Robert is survived by his wife of 60 years and three children, Kristina Louise Bielenberg of Calais, VT, Carl Norman Bielenberg of Orford, NH, and Reid Robert Bielenberg of Hudson, NY, as well as four grandchildren, Sophia, Heidi, Reid (Cap), and Ames Bielenberg.

A retrospective exhibit of Robert Bielenberg’s art work will be held at the Elmendorph Inn on Saturday, April 9, 2011, from 10am to 5pm., and will be open to the public.

A Celebration of Robert’s Life will be held at 3pm, also at the Elmendorph Inn.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Robert’s name to The Friends of Elmendorph, Inc., P.O. Box 44, Red Hook, NY 12571 or to Hospice Foundation, Inc., 374 Violet Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Arrangements are under the direction of Burnett & White Funeral Homes 7461 S. Broadway, Red Hook, NY.

For directions, or to sign the online guest book, please visit Burnett-White.com.

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