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Male, born 1916-03-17, died 1977-02-15

Associated with the firm network

Harmon, Pray and Detrich, Architects and Engineers

Professional History


Detrich served as a lieutenant in the US Navy between c. 01/28/1943 and 11/01/1945. He may have been stationed in Norfolk, VA, in c. 1942-1943. He may have had a connection with the US Navy, (perhaps the Naval Reserve), until 09/1956. (See, Source Information U.S., Select Military Registers, 1862-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013, accessed 04/19/2018.)

Partner, Harmon, Pray and Detrich, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1948- . In 1951, Harmon, Pray and Detrich operated from an office at 605 Stewart Street in Seattle. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1951, p. 531.)


High School/College

Graduate, Austin High School, Chicago, IL, 1934. (See Austin High School Maroon and White Yearbook, 1934, p, 124.)

B.S., Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, c. 1934-1939.



In 1920, the US Census recorded Robert living with his family in Chicago's 35th Ward at 4236 West Crystal Street. This was a three-floor brick apartment building located in the city's West Humboldt Park neighborhood. At this time, Robert in this apartment with his father, Mother, brother George, brother Earl and aunt, Lillian Burgeson (born c. 1902 in IL). (See, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 35, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_356; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 2251, accessed 04/19/2018.)

Ten years later, the Detrichs lived at 2851 Lowell Avenue in Chicago. They owned this residence, valued at a significant $14,500. Margaret had become Robert's step-mother sometime during the 1920s.

Detrich attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, during the period c. 1934-1939. The Lafayette, Indiana, City Directory, 1939, (p. 105), listed him as a student living at 231 Pierce Street in West Lafayette. He graduated before 1940, according to the US Census of that year. Detrich lived in Detroit, MI, in 1940, where he worked as a mechanical engineer in a gear and axle manufacturing plant. He resided at 147 Leicester Street with another mechanical engineer he had known at Purdue University, Arthur K. Fisher (born c. 1917 in MO). Fisher's sister, Fern, (born c. 1921 in MO), also lived with them.

He and Ella lived at 10557 Phinney Avenue in 1951. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1951, p. 325.)

In 1959, Detrich passed through a Los Angeles, CA, airport on 02/01/1959. The plane's manifest indicated that Detrich lived at 5516 NE 180th Street in Seattle, WA, at that time. (See, Source Citation The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Passenger & Crew Manifests of Airplanes Arriving at Los Angeles, California; NAI Number: 2788930; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2009; Record Group Number: 85, accessed 04/19/2018.)

On 11/15/1962, a man named Robert C. Detrich took a flight from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico to Los Angeles, CA. The manifest for this flight indicated that he lived at 5125 Paseo Los Olivos, San Jose, CA. This may not have been the same Robert C. Detrich. No listing for him could be found in San Jose's city directories during this time period.


His father was George Detrich, (b. 09/16/1889 in Basel, Switzerland-d. 01/27/1931 in Chicago, IL), his mother, Agnes Borgeson (born 09/10/1895 in Chicago, IL-d. 09/22/1924 in Chicago). George, who immigrated to the US from Switzerland in 1898, worked as an electrician in 1920; eleven years later, at this death at age 47, George worked as an electrician at the Albion Electric, Light and Gas Company. He had been naturalized in 1912. George Detrich married twice, his first wife having been Agnes, who died very young at 24. After her death, he married Margaret Shorey Detrich Paulus (b. 07/02/1906-d. 01/27/2007).

Agnes supervised the household, overseeing three boys: Robert, George Chester Detrich (01/31/1914-08/12/1999) and Earl Kenneth Detrich (12/01/1920-04-06/1995). Her father was Swedish, her mother, Danish. She resided at 389 North State Street in Chicago, IL, with her sisters in 1897 before wedding George. (See Chicago, Illinois, City Directory, 1897, p. 298.)

George Detrich had a son with Margaret Shorey, named Richard Detrich (born c. 1927 in Chicago, IL).


He married Ella Jane Mercer (born c. 1920-d. 12/04/2008) in Smith Mills, NC, on 08/17/1942. (See, Source Information North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015, accessed 04/19/2018.) Her parents were A. and Estelle V. Mercer, who lived in Norfolk, VA, in 1942.

A note indicated that Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Detrich were donors to the 1965 Mills College Crest Yearbook. It is possible that Robert's wife was a Mills alumna.Interestingly, Mr. and Mrs. Constantinos Doxiadis were also listed as donors to this yearbook; Doxiadis was a noted Greek architect who pioneered the concept of ekistics in the 1960s. Doxiadis lectured widely across college campuses during this decade, including at the University of Washington, influencing many architects, including Frederick F. Bassetti and Wendell H. Lovett.

Biographical Notes

SSN: 355-03-5966.

PCAD id: 3078