Robert J. Schwartz
March 23, 1929-November 19, 2016
Robert (Bob) Jay Schwartz passed away November 19, 2016, in Houston, Texas. Bob was born March 23, 1929, in Houston, Texas to the late Dr. Abel and Ella (Abrams) Schwartz. He graduated from Lamar Senior High before attending Rice University, where he received BSEE and MSEE degrees. He served on active duty during the Korean War with the Marine Corps Reserve as a 2nd Lt., 1st Lt., and Captain. Aft...er the war, Bob moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the government. There he met and married Miriam Cloder, the love of his life. Their son, Jeffrey, was born the following year. They later moved back to Houston, where their second son, Steven, was born. Bob was very active in civic affairs. He was President of the Men’s Club of Congregation Beth Israel, President of the local chapter of the IEEE Geophysical Section, President of the Marilyn Estates Association, President of the Brays Bayou Association, and Corresponding Secretary of the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy. The Schwartz Gazebo at the Willow Waterhole Greenway was recently named in Bob’s honor for his dedicated service to the community. His name also appears on 14 patents. He was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Miriam Schwartz.
Bob is survived by his sons, Jeffrey Schwartz and Steven Schwartz (Julie); grandchildren Kylie and Dylan; sister Aileen Gugenheim (Milton); brother William Schwartz (Barbara), as well as numerous nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy.
Gazebo at Willow Waterhole Named in Honor of Bob Schwartz
Bob Schwarz was a founding member of the Brays Bayou Association and Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy. He tirelessly advocated and promoted flood control projects in the Brays Watershed, helping in the development of Project Brays and the Willow Waterhole Detention Project.
Hurricane Alicia hit in 1983 followed by a major storm causing 1800 homes to flood in Meyerland. Bob and other community leaders focused... on the need to reduce the risk of flooding and created the Brays Bayou Association in 1984. Bob served as an early president and currently serves as president. BBA’s accomplishments include the 1988 approval of a $250M Harris County flood control bond issue.
HCFCD and BBA made the case to U.S. Congressional Representative Kent Bentsen, that if flood control projects were handled by local authorities these projects could be done in half the time and half the cost. The result of these efforts was the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. Also included in the Act was language permitting aesthetics to be incorporated into flood control projects.
In 1997 the BBA engaged noted landscape architect Kevin Shanley to develop a concept which would provide significant flood water detention and also serve as a natural greenspace. In 2000 Commissioner’s Court authorized $480M for Project Brays, which included $75M for the Willow Waterhole Detention Project. In 2001 the BBA sponsored a new 501(c)(3) organization, the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy to act as the community steward. The BBA has long served as the community forum for flood related concerns, information, education, and dialogue.
Bob graduated from Rice University with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and has been active in alumni affairs. He had a distinguished career with Schlumberger and was awarded fourteen patents in various disciplines. He led the project to bring electricity to the Willow Waterhole Greenway in 2013. His engineering background and knowledge of the area made him an invaluable advisor to HCFCD and other authorities.
A native Houstonian and 56 year resident of the Marilyn Estates subdivision, Bob and his wife Miriam led the local civic association as officers for thirty years. He has been a voice of the community and represented Southwest Houston in many organizations and committees over the years. All have made a difference in the quality of life for his fellow citizens. In his honor the gazebo at the Willow Waterhole Greenway will hereby be known as the “Schwartz Gazebo”.