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Obituary

From Vineyard Gazette on September 15, 2021:

 

Robert Schwartz, known to all as Bob, died on April 21, 2020 in a Stamford, Conn. hospital after a 10-day struggle with Covid-19. He would have turned 96 on April 30, 2020.

 

He was a former longtime resident of Music street in West Tisbury, architect, architectural renderer, prolific painter, talented cook, carpenter, gardener, cheerful raconteur, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and wonderful friend to many.

 

For decades, he and Maggie, his wife of 72 years, entertained often, generously and enthusiastically at their spacious home that Bob designed in the mid-1960s to resemble a barn, which early on was their summer home. He enjoyed good food, good wine, a dry martini and good company. The family lived the rest of the year in the New York city suburbs.

 

After a long, successful career in architectural rendering, primarily in New York, he and Maggie moved to the Music street house year around. As an active volunteer, Bob served on numerous town committees, and as the West Tisbury representative to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. He gave generously of his time and talent to the town hall renovation, the library, space needs study and the relocated war memorial.

 

His many friends constantly sought out his advice and ideas for renovations and new homes. Maggie called it “Saturday morning architecture,” as he would freely spend time with a friend’s project or problem.

 

The Field Gallery in the center of West Tisbury village, now owned by the town, is one of his most visible buildings. It marked its 50th anniversary this year. It was built as a gallery for Island artists by three artist families: the Maleys, the Schwartzs and the Kahns. Volunteers built it under Bob’s nimble direction, on land then owned by Tom and Helen Maley. A memorial bench with a plaque dedicated to Bob will sit facing the gallery in the landmark sculpture garden surrounding it.

 

Robert Edward Schwartz was born in the Bronx on April 30, 1924 to Minnie and Christopher Schwartz. He attended New York city’s public schools, including Stuyvesant High School, which was already then the premier academic high school.

 

Upon the sudden and premature death of his father in 1941, his plan to attend MIT was disrupted and he attended Columbia University until being drafted for World War II. He spent much of his military time in Oak Ridge, Tenn. as part of the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic bombs.

 

Upon discharge from the army in 1946, he re-entered Columbia and finished degrees in architecture and engineering.

 

In 1948, he married Margaret Wilson, whom he had met in church as a teenager. On their wedding day, they saw the film Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House, which Maggie insists became a metaphor for their marriage. They lived in a succession of houses that Bob designed and built.

 

Between 1953 and 1956, they had three children: David, Ellen and William.

 

Bob rendered all the important buildings that changed New York city’s cityscape in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and beyond, as well as in Boston and Albany. Many large architectural firms were his clients. His meticulously detailed, hand-painted images of proposed buildings as they would look on their sites actually looked like photographs. A good rendering could sell a building and Bob’s were the best.

 

He loved to paint, and he did so right up to his hospitalization. His recognizable style produced flowing landscapes, portraits, bridges and streetscapes, all with a colorful palate, and with astonishing speed. They number in the hundreds. His generosity with them was legendary. There isn’t anyone who knew him who didn’t receive at least one painting as a gift.

 

Maggie died on Sept. 10 at age 95.

 

He is survived by his three children and their spouses, four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and another about to be born. Plus many, many friends who miss him terribly.

 

His ashes were interred in the West Tisbury cemetery.