December 6, 1956 - May 16, 2018
Robert Smith probably designed a set you saw in some theater somewhere in Chicago over the past few decades. He was known as a kind, generous, passionate, ingenious designer by every performer, playwright, director, fellow designer who crossed his path. Smith made people feel like family, and he was a genuine piece of Chicago theater history.
Smith acted as co-Artistic Director (with his wife Cathy) of Pary Production Co, resident at The Theatre Building. Smith went on to set design and build most of the shows done by Pary, as well as across Chicago stages, including: the Organic Theatre, Famous Door, Hull House, A Red Orchid Theatre, Next Theatre, Stage Left Theatre, Roundtable, Center Theater Ensemble and The Greenhouse.Notable shows include: Hellcab, Fun and Nobody, Killer Joe, Fastest Clock in the Universe, BUG, Gagarin Way, Conquest of the South Pole, Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom, Greenland, La Boheme, Empty, and Lady From Dubuque.
As a child, Bob loved Superman, Batman, Tarzan, Conan, Dark Shadows, Sherlock Holmes and Edgar Allen Poe among others. He graduated from Waukegan High School, and earned his degree from Illinois Wesleyan University. He worked at Northeastern Illinois University from 1985-2012. Sadly Robert died from complications from a kidney transplant.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Catherine Gross Valladares-Smith and sister Pamela.