Age 91, died peacefully after several months of loving care in the Assisted Living residence of the Silver Maples of Chelsea. Born July 9, 1927, in Kalamazoo to Winfield Church and Helen Grace (McCarty) Glenn, Robert was a 1945 graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School and the first of his family to graduate from university, having paid his own way through school as an improvisational pianist for a dance band. He graduated from Western Michigan University in 1950 with concentrations in Chemistry, German, and English studies; that same year he married co-ed and love of his life Rosemary Ann Kent. Robert spent one year as "the Worst Chemist in the World" before enrolling at the University of Michigan for graduate studies in English Language, Literature, and Linguistics. This time his tuition was paid by Rosemary's teaching salary, and he never forgot the debt he owed for her influence, good faith, and sacrifice toward his successes.
In 1956 Robert began a career in higher education while also pursuing his PhD at the University of Michigan. He held professorships and administrative positions at Cortland State College (now SUNY Cortland) and the University of Michigan in Flint. In 1971, the Glenn family—by then encompassing daughters Tama Delne, Minde Char, and Deri Sabra—moved to Marquette, MI (“heaven on earth”), where Dr. Glenn was named Professor of English and the Dean of Arts and Sciences for Northern Michigan University. The 'firing dean' kept his promises, his high standards, and his door open; within three years he was elevated to Provost and Academic Vice President, a post he maintained through 1984.
With Rosemary's encouragement, Robert made the not-so-difficult decision to remain in his beloved Marquette rather than pursue a position of Provost at a larger university or a college presidency of his own. Instead, he served as Distinguished professor of English at NMU from 1984 until his retirement in 1997. Robert and Rosemary spent more than 40 years in Marquette, deeply involved in the life and worship of Marquette Presbyterian Church, avid sailors, arduous supporters of local artisans and musicians, and faithful officers of many civic and philanthropic causes to benefit the city they loved. Upon retirement, they discovered the joy of travel to historic places, art galleries and museums, and beautiful landscapes. Though they loved the deep snows of the U.P., Hawaii became their perennial winter favorite.
Bringing their art collection with them, Robert and Rosemary sold their ‘big’ house and returned to the neighborhood of The Big House in 2013. Robert was delighted to attend five successive seasons of Michigan Wolverine home football games, walk the beautiful grounds of the Silver Maples Retirement Community, swim and steam at the Wellness Center, choose wines for fine dining with his wife and friends at Silver Maples, and to live in proximity to his family.
Robert was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers-in-law Bill and Loren, his niece Joy, and his beloved daughter Minde (Cliff) Browning. He is survived by Rosemary, his wife of 68 years; dear daughters Tama (Andrew) Abel and Deri (David) Gray; sisters Jean (Loren) Warfield and Sallie (Jim) Platt; sister-in-law Charlene (Bill) Thompson; granddaughters Ashley and Sarah Gray; and several nieces, nephews, and their children.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, December 17, 2018 at Silver Maples of Chelsea, 100 Silver Maples Dr., Chelsea, MI 48118. The Rev. Jeff Crowder will officiate. Reception to follow. Interment will take place on a future date at First Presbyterian Church, Marquette, MI. Memorial contributions may be made to Silver Maples Silver Lining Fund or to the Marquette Symphony Orchestra.