Robert Caley


Our performance of “Carmina Burana” is sponsored in honor of Robert Caley by his niece, Nancy Nestor-Baker.

An accomplished builder, pilot, sailor, and skier, Robert Caley was a true Renaissance man. He had the hands of a builder, the mind of an inventor, and the soul of a poet.  Bob had the ability to see the synergies of design, structure, and beauty, and the capacities to bring them to life.

Bob Caley was the founder and CEO of Colony House Columbus, LLC; retired as Vice President of Dick Greer Builders; and was integral in creating Columbus State Community College’s Aviation Maintenance Program.  He was an accomplished pilot, earning his pilot’s license at age 15 and building the first of many planes shortly thereafter. He had a particular fondness for sailplanes, for soaring through the sky in watchful partnership with the clouds, depending solely on knowledge and use of the wind. His love and respect for the wind connected with his enthusiasm for sailing. He reveled in seeing the sails billow and fill as he swept across lakes and seas.

Bob and his wife Mary Lou traveled the world together. Exploring his ancestral heritage on the Isle of Man, sailing the Caribbean, escaping from a locked castle in England, skiing in the Alps, sliding through salt mines in Asia, and revisiting Athens where he lived for a time as a child were among the many adventures they shared during their marriage of 70 years.

Wherever Bob was, music was there, too. Oh, how he loved big, grand music! He delighted in its intellectual and emotional power, its layers of tone and rhythm, its tension between structure and freedom.  He could often be found in his workshop, where the sounds of hammers and power tools were accompanied by recordings of operas and orchestras and organs. Music simultaneously grounded and moved his soul.

As age made its presence felt in the past few years, Bob set aside the joys of harnessing wind and waves, of building walls and climbing ladders.  Robert Caley died December 31st, 2022, slightly more than a year after the death of his beloved Mary Lou. His joy in music remained a constant presence until the end,  bringing delight and solace to each day.