Robert Jay Soble

by | Jan 22, 2016 | Obituaries

Norfolk —Robert Jay Soble, 67, died Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 in his residence.

He was a native of Baltimore, Md. and was the son of the late Jonah and Hilda Goodman Soble.

Robert graduated from Granby High School in 1966 and attended Old Dominion University, where he was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity. He was the owner and operator of the family business, Pottery Art Studio in Norfolk, and a member of Ohef Sholom Temple.

Survivors include Sheila Borlase Soble, several cousins and numerous friends.

Robert had a tremendous passion for the City of Norfolk, its politics and its citizens, which led to his willingness to serve on numerous boards, including the Virginia Symphony, Harbor Club, Virginia Zoo, Norfolk Economic Development Authority, Norfolk Festevents LTD, where he was a founding member, and most recently, the NRHA Board of Commissioners. But Robert didn’t just “serve” on a board. He was a doer who brought his larger than life personality and did whatever was needed to make things happen. Robert was a driving force behind the highly successful Zoo-to-Do, and one of the early organizers of Harborfest, where he worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help make it one of the premier events on the East Coast.

Robert was a big man with an even bigger heart who was always willing to lend a helping hand, whether it was for his city or his many friends. He had a rich sense of humor, a gift for gab and a love for Beach music. He had a zest for life and was known to dance the night away at the Hunt Club at the old Cavalier. Robert loved good food, was a talented chef himself and a frequent patron at many restaurants across the region, as well as an ardent supporter and patron of the arts. Those who knew Robert will remember him for his deep love for his city, his ever expanding circle of friends and the many community causes that he dedicated his life to. You can’t look at Norfolk and not see his impact. He was a force that can’t be replaced and will be greatly missed.

Graveside funeral services were held in Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Lawrence A. Forman officiating.

Memorial donations to Eastern Virginia Medical School or the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk. Online condolences may be sent to the family at