One word that wasn’t in Robert Schwalbe’s vocabulary was “half-hearted.” Whether it was making holidays not-to-be-forgotten experiences for his family or working to preserve California’s majestic landscapes, he gave 100 percent and more.
Indeed, the huge cross-section of the community that packed St. Justin’s for a memorial service after Schwalbe’s sudden death early in January testified to the affection and respect he inspired in everyone who knew him.
“We’ll miss his leadership and friendship and his joy in life,” said business colleague Reid Linney at the service. “His inspiration will continue for those of us who knew this gentle giant of a man.”
A long-time Santa Clara resident, Schwalbe attended St. Clare’s elementary school, Archbishop Mitty high school, graduated from Santa Clara University and worked for many years at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Retirement was an opportunity for Schwalbe and his wife Linda to enjoy their shared passion for travel as well as a commitment to community service.
Schwalbe spent a month every year volunteering at Yosemite in the autumn. No sooner did he return, then it was time to start gearing up St. Justin’s annual holiday food and gift drive, an intensive program that begins work in October to provide holiday meals, gifts and year-round necessities to nearly 900 local families.
“They were here faithfully almost every day, for many hours, helping to put the program together,” says Joe Bauer, head of Community Ministry at St. Justin’s who was also a close family friend. “They were both amazing. Working with them was just wonderful.
“He was such a great person, a great husband, a great father, a great worker, and a great friend,” says Bauer. “He’s going to be missed.”
Schwalbe is survived by his wife Linda and children Matthew, Jenna, and Roxanne. Donations in his memory can be made to the Yosemite Conservancy through the website www.yosemiteconservancy.org or by contacting the Conservancy at 1-800-469-7275.