Resident Spotlight – Richard Schwab

Meet Carlton Senior Living’s spotlight resident, Richard Schwab – Richard was born to parents Phillip Edgar Schwab and mother Ruth Narum on September 12, 1927, in Little Falls, Minnesota, the same town where the historic aviator Charles Lindbergh was raised. Richard’s father worked hatching chickens, and his mother was a schoolteacher and office worker. Richard had three brothers, and describes his brother Phillip as his closest friend and comrade. Richard says they had such similar life experiences, thoughts, and says, “how lucky could I be to be born into the same family!?”

Richard and his family lived in various places in Minnesota, and he then traveled to join the Navy Air Corps in Cleveland, Ohio. In virtually that same breath, the Allied forces brought the war to an end in 1945, and Richard went on to attend the Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University). He then moved to Kentucky to attend the University of Louisville and recalls marching (as part of the Navy Air Corps) into the racetrack as part of the ceremonies at the Kentucky Derby.

Having completed his studies in Louisville, Richard was accepted to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he received his PhD in History. He was now waiting to be drafted into war, and was denied several offers of employment by universities because of his draft status before being told he was too old at the age of twenty-seven by one military secretary. He was fortuitously chosen by the UC Davis History Department as a professor, which led to a long and lustrous career spanning four decades.

He and his wife Sonya had three children, one a career geologist with the Forest Service who has the rare specialty of being in charge of overseeing and managing caves –and the bats that inhabit them. Richard proudly calls him “Batman.” His other son is a junior high teacher in Fairfield, and his daughter is a nurse. Richard has four wonderful grandchildren.

Some of Richard’s fondest memories are centralized around his passion and love for exploring, hiking, working and camping in Glacier National Park in Montana’s Rocky Mountains. He was able to hike and summit many of the peaks there, and describes it as a “family religion.” His family and many friends continue the tradition. He also describes a trip to Kenya in Africa with his son Mark’s Peace Corps tour as being an unmatched experience.

Richard states that kindness is the greatest of human virtues, and to be kind above all. He describes himself, and has been described by others, as a gentleman, humorous, peaceful, conversationalist, hard worker, and humane. Richard says that he is “a punster,” and that “puns are the highest form of wit.” He enjoys classical music, blues, and opera. He likes almost any pasta dish, and bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. One of his favorite movies is “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”

Richard says the best thing about living at the Carlton Senior Living Davis is that everyone is kind, and that the personnel is well-chosen.

View additional Resident Spotlight articles.

Written by Eric DeMuth


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