Robert A.D. Schwartz, local business businessman, philanthropist, patron of the arts, and jazz musician, died last Saturday, Feb. 18 at the age of 92.
Born in 1925 in Chicago, Ill., Schwartz received his B.S. in June 1944 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). Upon graduation, he became an Ensign in the Navy and was sent to the Pacific.
He was an Oakland resident since 1951. He earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Golden Gate University Law School, becoming a member of the California State Bar in 1974.
In 1952, he founded Schwartz & Lindheim Inc. Electrical Contractors. The company evolved over the ensuing years to become Key Source International, Inc., a business that develops, and manufactures keyboards for education, retail/point of sale (POS), telecom, government, banking, and healthcare markets.
In 2016, Keysource International was named winner of the 2016 American Hospital Association’s Healthcare Environment (AHE) Innovation Award recognizing the company’s technological excellence. Key Source International was
In November, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution recognizing the company for its award winning work.
As Chairman of the Northern California Democratic Party, he worked tirelessly for the first campaign of Jerry Brown for Governor. He also worked on the campaigns of US Congressman Ron Dellums, US Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and California State Senator Nicholas Petris.
A philanthropist, Schwartz served as chairman of Urban Strategies Council, a non-profit organization, which works to eliminate persistent poverty in the Bay Area.
He founded the Robert A.D. Schwartz Foundation in 1979. The foundation’s mission is to develop vocational, musical and citizenship educational programs.
The Schwartz Foundation has been a major supporter of the Oakland Symphony and the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra.
He also founded Peer Tutoring Resources Center, which works to support the development of caring and collaborative citizens by enhancing the use, expansion and sustainability of peer tutoring – a model engaging students as instructors and leaders in classrooms and across schools.
He was named Oakland Citizen of the Year in 1996.
Schwartz had a long history as a musician, a tenor saxophonist and clarinetist, going back to his college days. While he was a student at M.I.T., he organized a 15-piece band, the “Techtonians,” which performed in 1943-1944.
Until recently, he was active as the leader of his new band, “The Therapists,” which performed for free at local senior seniors.
He produced two CDs as executive producer, Comeback Jazz and Comeback Jazz with Dance. The Comeback Jazz website is comebackjazz.org.
Schwartz is survived by his brother Charles (Susan) and sister Polly; wife Debbra; their children Margot and Noah; former wife Deanna Osterberg; their son David (Myla) and grandson Alexander; children Robert (Chan-Sook), Stevon, Paul (Pamela), and Donald (Elizabeth); grandchildren Shinyung, Yea-Eun, Aeri, Junghee, Jaegyun, Borami, Jaeman, Charles, Donald, and Samuel; as well as one great-grandson Alpha Buta.
A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center ( www.splc.org) or the Peer Tutoring Resource Center (www.peertutoringresource.org).