Robert Schwarz Obituary (2021) – Santa Fe, NM

Black, Robert “Bob”

SANTA FE, NM – Robert “Bob” Schwarz, a longtime resident of Santa Fe, NM, died on Monday, August 2, 2021, at his home surrounded by his family, after a five-year battle with aggressive prostate cancer.

Bob was born to Linus and Dorothy Schwarz on April 9, 1950 in Roxbury Wis., where as a young boy he fondly remembered exploring the woods, ponds and fields. The family moved to Prairie du Sac where Bob excelled in sports at Sauk Prairie Schools. His parents enjoyed watching his football matches on Friday evenings, and he also proudly had a track record there for many years. He then received his BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, Ariz.

Bob was an independent and adventurous spirit; as a young man, he traveled solo by bicycle across the US and explored Mexico (where he spoke fluent Spanish) and Europe. He settled in New Mexico in 1980 and delved into the construction industry, building homes and learning about construction, culminating in the years when he built his own (first) home in Lamy, NM. While off work and raising his young family, he wandered, explored, and fell in love with the beauty of New Mexico—backpacking, hiking, camping, studying maps, plotting his adventures. As time progressed, Bob moved on to work in the specialty plumbing and hardware sales industry.

Bob and Kathy Anne Fennema got to know each other in construction when they ran a decorative plumbing showroom in Albuquerque together. They bonded and together recognized the need for a boutique, specialty plumbing and hardware showroom in Santa Fe. They pooled their resources and opened Santa Fe By Design in 2002. Bob and Kathy were committed to providing Santa Fe-area builders a source for purchasing fine, high-quality products for new construction or remodeling projects. Over the years, they connected with similar boutique showrooms and vendors nationally, sharing best practices so that SFBD always offered cutting edge products, style and service.

Bob and Kathy were married in 2004. Together they were work, family, life and play partners 24/7. Over the years, Bob has worked hard to maintain his athletic physique by going to the gym regularly. Kathy’s athleticism matched Bob’s and they built their lives together sharing many outdoor activities when not spending their time tending SFBD: hiking, camping, kayaking, winter skiing, sailing, traveling, as well as a good dip in the hot tub, good food and good whiskey (Bob).

Bob’s generosity shows in so many ways: helping someone migrate to the US years ago (still in the SFBD family now), adopting two family youth from challenging circumstances with no regard for themselves, but only to help them ( because it was the right thing to do), spend an afternoon building a friend’s fence, or repairing a faucet, or a drain, or finding the right solution to a customer’s problem. Bob showed a selflessness, love and concern for others that was unique.

Bob is survived by his loving wife and partner, Kathy Anne; and his children, Joseph “Josey” Schwarz (Lisa) of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Julia Schwarz (Paco) from Miami, Florida; Buck Schwarz (Tish) of Santa Fe, NM; and Leah Schwarz of Santa Fe, NM. He is also survived by his siblings, Richard (Pat) Schwarz of Honolulu, Hawaii; Mary (Chuck) Anderson of Middleton, Wisconsin; Joan (Mike) Morey of Middleton, Wisconsin; Rita (Denny) Olin of Fitchburg, Wisconsin; and Barbara (Kurt Osterby) Schwarz of Santa Fe, NM. He is also survived by his first wife, Patricia Schwarz of Waskom, Texas; his grandchildren, Alex, Skippy and Robbie; as well as many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents.

A memorial service will be held at the RIVERA FUNERAL HOME, 417 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe, NM, on Saturday, August 28 at 1:00 PM

In lieu of flowers, donations to an educational fund for Bob’s youngest daughter, Leah Schwarz, are appreciated; please make gifts affordable to Kathy Anne Fennema, c/o Santa Fe By Design, 1512 Pacheco St., Suite D101, Santa Fe, NM 87505.

The family also extends a special thanks to hospice nurse, Janet Smith, for her attention and care for Bob and his family. In Bob’s name, memorials can be made for her foundation, which provides palliative care to those in need – go to to donate or for more information.

Published by on August 18, 2021.

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