Robert E. Stough, 85, an architect whose firm designed schools, churches, and commercial buildings in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan and who was a leader nationally in his profession, died Tuesday in Lake Park care center in Sylvania.
He was in failing health but lived independently in his West Toledo home until three months ago, said a son, Robert Stough.
Mr. Stough remained a partner in Stough and Stough Architects, which he formed 28 years ago with another son, Craig, who also is the mayor of Sylvania. He closed his active career with the firm as specifications writer and bookkeeper.
“He enjoyed coming into the office every day. He only gave it up when he needed to stay home with my mother,” Craig Stough said. “He was a joy to be with every day. I’m lucky to have had that time.”
Mr. Stough was licensed as an architect in 1951, and two years later formed a partnership with Huber Buehrer, an Ohio State University classmate.
In a Blade news item about the partnership, the men said they would offer “complete architectural services on all types of construction.”
Their youth proved to be an advantage in the post-World War II building boom, when some school superintendents preferred to work with younger professionals, son Craig said.
Mr. Stough designed Maumee High School, his first big break, son Craig said. The elder Mr. Stough also designed Port Clinton and Sylvania Southview high schools, the ice arena, business building, and a classroom building at Bowling Green State University.
He designed in a modern style, with clean lines and not much embellishment.
“They were well accepted by school districts to reflect a modern school district,” Craig Stough said.
Harry Fry, a structural engineer who worked with Buehrer and Stough about 30 years, recalled Mr. Stough as easy to work with.
Architect John Hoellrich, who worked for Buehrer and Stough before starting his own firm, added: “He was thorough and paid attention to what the client wanted, and we put out a good project for the client.”
In 1979, Gov. James A. Rhodes appointed Mr. Stough to the Ohio Board of Examiners of Architects, which oversees examinations and upholds professional standards. He was elected president of the board in 1984.
He was active as well in the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and was its chairman, traveling the country to meet colleagues and devise tests, review how tests are graded, and prepare for the profession’s future.
Mr. Stough was named Architect of the Year for 1995 by the Toledo chapter of the American Institute of Architects, of which he was a former president.
“He was honest and proper,” son Craig said. “He did that in his personal life and professional life. I think that’s why he was successful as a local architect and on the national stage. He was open and straightforward with everybody.”
Born in 1926 in Chicago to Madge and Robert A. C. Stough, he attended Redford High School in Detroit and was a graduate of Lima South High School, Lima, Ohio. He served in the Army Air Corps at the end of World War II as a flight engineer aboard B-17s and B-29s.
His father was a comptroller for General Motors, and he took courses at a GM technical institute.
“That didn't strike a chord,” son Craig said. He instead went to Ohio State University, courtesy of the GI Bill, and received a degree in architecture.
Mr. Stough formerly served on the Inverness Club board of governors. He was a Mason, inspired by the example of his father, and a volunteer with the Sertoma Club of Toledo.
He and his wife, Phyllis, married in 1949. She died in May, 2011.
Surviving are his sons, Robert A. and Craig Stough, and three grandchildren.
Visitation is to be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 Sylvania Ave., and the funeral service is to be at 11 a.m. Friday in the mortuary. The family suggests tributes to Grace Lutheran Church, Toledo, where Mr. Stough was a member and which he designed, or Lake Park, Sylvania.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
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