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Robert Irwin Rees
Brigadier General, United States Army
 Michigan State Flag
BRIGADIER GENERAL R. I. REES, VETERAN OF 2 WARS, IS DEAD IN DETROIT

DETROIT, Michigan, November 23, 1936 – Brigadier General Robert Irwin Rees, 65, Assistant Vice President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, veteran of two wars and holder of the Distinguished Service Medal, died here today of a cerebral embolism.

General Rees came from one of the most prominent families in Michigan’s copper country.  His Army career began in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection.  At the beginning of the World War he was made a member of the General Staff Corps, in charge of all educational work in the AEF.  He resigned in 1924 to join AT&T.


GENERAL R. I. REES DIES; PHONE EXECUTIVE
Assistant Vice President of AT&T Had Distinguished Career in the Army
Pershing Aide in France
In Charge of Educational Work of AEF
Had Risen From Ranks To Generalcy

DETROIT, Michigan, November 24, 1936 – General Robert Irwin Rees, Assistant Vice President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, died today in Harper Hospital of a cerebral embolism.  He collapsed last Wednesday in the Hotel Statler just before he was to address a luncheon of the Engineering Council for Professional Development.  He was 65 years old.

Mrs. Rees came from their home in New York Thursday, and was with her husband at his death.  Their son, Murray Gannett Rees, is in Honolulu.  He will leave there tomorrow morning on the China Clipper and is expected to reach Detroit late Thursday.

General Rees was born in Houghton, Michigan, a member of a leading family in the copper country.  He was graduated from the Michigan College of Mining and Technology, and later attended Harvard University and the New York Law School.

General Rees went to France in 1918 and was assigned to General Pershing’s staff in charge of all educational work in the AEF.  He resigned from the Army in 1924 to become Assistant Vice President of AT&T.  He recently resigned, effective December 1, to take over the management of the Engineering Council for Professional Development.

Besides his widow and son, General Rees is survived by three brothers, Allan F. Rees of Houghton, General Thomas Rees of Washington and John Rees of Cleveland.  General and Mrs. Rees lived 1 Fifth Avenue, New York.

General Rees was an army officer who rose through all grades to that of Brigadier General.

Upon completion of his formal education h decided upon a military career.  After his enlistment in the Engineering Corps he quickly won commissioned rank.  He was commissioned Second Lieutenant on October 1, 1899.

He served through the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection.  He was graduated from the Army School of the Line with special honors in 1913.  The following year he attended the Army Staff College.

Detailed as a member of the General Staff Corps at the outbreak of the World War, he served in the War Plans, Executive and Operations Divisions of the General Staff in Washington.  Appointed chairman of the Committee on Education and Special Training in January 1918, he had charge of the military and technical training of technicians and mechanics for the army in educational institutions.  This organization later developed into the Students Army Training Corps, with the added objective of preparing college students inducted into the service for commissions in the Army.

In France, in December 1918, he was assigned to General Pershing’s staff with the rank of Brigadier General, in charge of all educational work in the AEF.

At the conclusion of the war he attended the Army War College from which he graduated in 1923.  For his war service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for “exceptionally meritorious and conspicuous service” to the government and was made an officer of the French Legion of Honor.

At the time of his resignation from the Army he was a member of the War Department General Staff, Operations and Training Division, in charge of Reserve Officers Training Corps.

As Assistant Vice President of the telephone company, he supervised the employment, placement and orientation of thousands of college graduates and encouraged general educational facilities both within and outside of the telephone service.  He was president of the Society for the Promotion of Engineering from 1929 to 1930 and was a member of the executive committee of the American Association for Adult Education.


REES RITES TO BE FRIDAY
Service in Church of the Ascension With Full Military Honors

DETROIT, Michigan, November 24, 1936 – The body of Brigadier General Robert I. Rees, Assistant Vice President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, who died here yesterday, was taken to New York today.

A funeral service will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Eleventh Street at 2:30 P.M. on Friday for General Rees.  The Rev. Dr. Donald B. Aldrich, the rector, will officiate.  Burial, with military honors, will take place at 3 P.M. on Saturday in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington.


200 AT FUNERAL OF GENERAL R. I. REES
Three Colonels Who Services with Him in the Philippines Among Friends Present
A Large List of Bearers
Official of AT&T to Be Buried on Monday in Arlington Cemetery

NEW YORK, New York, November 27, 1936 – A funeral service for General Robert Irwin Rees, Assistant Vice President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, was held yesterday afternoon at the Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street.  General Rees dies in Detroit on Monday at the age of 65.

More than 200 friends attended the service, including persons prominent in industrial, educational and military affairs.  Among the General’s military friends present were Colonel George Chase Lewis, Colonel Oliver H. Dockery and Colonel Russell C. Langdon, who served with him in the Philippines as lieutenants in 1899.

The honorary pallbearers included: J. W. Barker, D. S. Bridgman, E. F. Carter, Dr. K. T. Compton, Louis Cooke, Clarence E. Davies, Dr. Harvey N. Davis, Charles H. Dimick, O. W. Eshbach, W. W. Griffin, H. P. Hammond, Dr. D. C. Jackson, Dr. F. B. Jewett, Dr. F. P. Keppel, Kenneth Lord, Charles R. Mann, C. C. McDavitt, D. H. Morris, H. S. Rogers, R. L. Sackett, Dr. Charles F. Scott, J. T. Sheafor, Major Bernard Sharp, George B. Thomas and Major R. G. Whitten.

The Rev. Donald B. Aldrich, the rector, officiated.  After the singing of processional, “Hark, Hark, My Soul,’ he read from the eighth chapter of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, which refers to those who “walk after the Spirit,” and from the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel which begins, “Let not your heart be troubles,”  The came the singing of “Lead, Kingly Light,” and prayers by Dr. Aldrich.  The service closed with the singing of “The Strife Is O’er” by the congregation.

Burial will take place in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington on Monday.


REES, ROBERT I
BRIG GEN USA
DATE OF DEATH: 11/23/1936
BURIED AT: SECTION 7  SITE 8009-A
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

REES, SARAH ISABEL GANNETT W/O ROBERT I
DATE OF BIRTH: 05/07/1874
DATE OF DEATH: 04/11/1954
BURIED AT: SECTION 7  SITE 8009-A
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

  Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 12 January 2008
Distinguished Service Medal