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Yale GALA Remembers Robert Leuze '58

Memorial Service for Robert Lueze, a Yale GALA founding member, Saturday, March 2, 2019 2:30 - 3:30 PM at Friends Meeting House, 12 Rutherford Place (@15th Street), Manhattan. All are welcome to attend.

The life of ROBERT CHARLES LEUZE (1936-2018), Yale ’58, one of the founding members of Yale GALA, will be fondly remembered at a Memorial Service Saturday afternoon, March 2, 2019 at Friends Meeting House,12 Rutherford Place, Manhattan 10003. 


The Memorial Service will be from 2:30 - 3:30 pm. There will be refreshments following the Service, so the people can socialize and share their memories of Robert. 


Robert was born July 1, 1936 in Watertown, NY, the third child of Agnes and Lloyd Leuze. He followed his older brother William to Yale, where Robert earned a B.A. in American Studies with concentrations in literature, writing, and philosophy. 


With his passionate love of music, Robert moved to New York where he continued his studies while also taking vocal lessons for opera. Although he put singing aside, he returned to it later in life, performing in concerts and opera companies in the Greater New York area, taking on roles in Rigoletto,La Traviata, Mephistopheles in Gounod's Faust– even Daddy Warbucks in Annie.


Dick Cavett, Robert’s freshman year roommate at Yale, secured him an audition for Beverly Sills, who was on the board of the Metropolitan Opera at the time. Unfortunately it was too late for Robert, a self-described “late bloomer”, to pursue a career at the Met. Nevertheless Sills praised his rich baritone and operatic skills. 


Anyone who heard Robert deliver an impromptu song or two at a party knew he could more than fill a room with his powerful voice, relishing in his puckish way how jolted people were that this mild mannered man possessed such an over-sized vocal instrument. He continued to perform almost up to the very last. Those unfamiliar with his singing or who want to revisit a memory or two, can enjoy excerpts of his vocal skills online at


Acutely affected by the homophobia of the very buttoned-down 1950s, Robert sought out psychoanalysis in an effort to understand himself and his sexuality. While under analysis, he met Sarah Harwood who was in a psychotherapy group with him. Finding a mutually abiding affection, the two of them married in August 16, 1969 and remained together until her death in October 2010. 


Still after 12 years of marriage, Robert came out to Sarah about his true sexuality and his need to be honest in living his life as a gay man. For all of the challenges this presented for both of them, Sarah chose to remain married to Robert, forging a lasting bond between them. Sarah also took up the cause, becoming active along with Robert in Gay and Lesbian Concerns, a Quaker support group.  


Robert was also active in Out Music and was a long-time member of Yale GALA. He attended one of the very first organizing meetings in New York that laid the groundwork for the alumni/ae organization. He later wrote, edited, and distributed the Yale GALA newsletter for a number of years.  


Robert will be remembered as warm, kind, and caring with a gentle and cheery disposition that was as welcoming as it was unassuming. But there was always a playful glint in his eye matched by a tart aside or sly retort. Still his affable disposition never fully hid his anger at the homophobia that he had to endure early in his life, the lengths he went to accommodate the cruel prejudices of the times, and bigotry and oppression that continued to confront the LGBTQ community into his later years.    


Robert Leuze died on December 14, 2018 in hospice at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. He had suffered a series of falls at his apartment, having been diagnosed with ALS in August. He spent his last days surrounded by friends and the music he loved.  

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