Robert “Bob” Ellsworth Schwab, 84, of Tidioute, PA, passed away Friday, July 26th, 2019 at his home surrounded by family. He was born June 11, 1935, to the late Joseph Ellsworth Schwab, and Mary Elizabeth (Kinter) Schwab, in White Township, Indiana County, Indiana, PA. He grew up in Tidioute, PA, where at a young age he developed a strong work ethic and sense of serving his community as a paperboy, an altar boy, and worker at his family’s gas station and garage. Robert excelled in all endeavors as a young man and graduated from Tidioute Area School in 1953 as the President and Valedictorian of his class. Although accepted into Pennsylvania State University, he elected to enter the family owned/operated business, City Garage (later to become Schwab’s Ford), where he then attended the Ford Marketing Institute (FMI) in Dearborn, MI, to learn Ford Automotive dealership management, marketing and sales as an 18-year-old. At the time, the minimum age to attend FMI, and be a Ford Dealer, was 23 years of age. In his early years after high school, when he wasn’t working at the family owned business, he dutifully served in the US Naval Reserves as an Electronics Technician from March 1954 to March 1961.
It was during this time, he married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Carol Schall, on December 31, 1955, at the St John’s Roman Catholic Church in Tidioute. Together they would raise their family in the Tidioute valley over the next six decades. During those decades, Robert energetically became an active member of the Tidioute community as a business owner, civic leader, church activity organizer, and community function participant. Robert’s life was an unselfish commitment, to his family, his businesses, and numerous organizational activities that he felt were worthy causes for the people of his beloved town. The following are the some of those activities: 46 year owner/operator of Schwab’s Ford of Tidioute and 10 year business partner of Schwab’s Ford of Titusville (appointed to the Ford Dealer Council as one of the few dealers to be the voice within Ford Motor Company to represents all small dealerships across the country); Proprietor of Country Clean Laundromat and Car Wash, Fairlane Apartments, Schwab Finance Company, and The 1824 Inn Bed & Breakfast; Principle party responsible for establishing the town’s Dental Clinic and Pharmacy during the 1970s and 1980s; President of the Borough Council for 2 terms (8 years) where he spearheaded the efforts to establish the Tidioute Towers for those in need of housing, and paved the way for a new, and much needed, water/waste treatment facility for the borough; Board member of the Tidioute and Warren County School District Authority for 17 years with design and construction inputs to the early 1960’s addition to the Tidioute School that added a library, cafeteria, kitchen, office space, a gymnasium and elementary classrooms, as well as engaged in the district’s special program for wayward students; Member of the Pennsylvania Mayoral Association whereas he served as Mayor of Tidioute for 8 years; Tidioute Public Library president and board member that spanned for more than 3 decades and was instrumental in the effort for the growth and expansion of the Library’s new wing in 2008/2009; Principle board member to the current Tidioute Health Center where he championed the cause for land acquisition and funding, to include architectural design and construction inputs; Charter member of the Tidioute Lions Club, to include terms as president, that supported functions such as the Pennsylvania State Fishing Tournament, Sight Seal campaign (glaucoma, diabetes, pre-school vision screening), town/cemetery beautification efforts, Boy Scout programs, a town trash recycling program, and the town’s Little League teams in the Warren County Hot Stove league; Member of the St John’s Roman Catholic Church in Tidioute where he served as the Chairman of the Finance Committee that oversaw the renovation of the altar, funding for a new and ornate roof, the expansion of the town’s Catholic cemetery to St. Jacqueline’s on Morrison Hill Road, Deerfield Township, and also assisted the St. John Women’s Guild with Fishing Tournament parade floats that garnered numerous accolades throughout the years; Member of the Knights of Columbus of the Fourth Degree; Member/Social Member of VFW Post 8803 and American Legion Post 0334; Member on the Board of Directors of the Titusville Hospital; Supporter and participant of the Tidioute Holiday Lighting Committee by providing the open space to prepare the decorations for the holidays; Member of the Tidioute Chamber of Commerce through the 1960’s and 1970’s; Tidioute Area Volunteer Fire Department fireman; Member of the Grand Old Party (GOP) and was a committed fundraiser, to include donating and supporting local and national Republican candidates; Member of the Community Foundation of Warren County that directed scholarships and grants to worthy causes within Tidioute and the county; Vital member of Tidioute school’s Driver’s Education Program by lending cars to the school to facilitate the program (awarded the Highway User Federation special citation for outstanding support); and mentor to many young men in the area, as he employed them at the dealership, or at the “Riverhouse”, where he instilled the values of a good work ethic, the knowledge of basic mechanical principles and landscaping techniques, but more importantly, how to enjoy a cold soda, all the while…listening to Bob’s stories after the work was done.
For his early sport’s prowess, he was inducted into the Tidioute Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 as a member of the renowned Class of 1953 basketball team. After high school graduation, he remained an active in basketball as a member of the Warren YMCA through the late 1950’s and early 1960’s where he continued playing the game with his friends. In addition to playing sports, as the owner of the Schwab’s Ford, he also individually sponsored and donated money to the town’s Little League teams for over a decade.
Robert’s entrepreneurial business ventures also led him to Florida and Utah where he was charter board member of The Englewood Bank and Trust of Englewood, FL; a home builder in the Sarasota County, FL area, and also a business associate to Lewis Homes, Inc., Eden, UT, that built over 200 condominiums and townhomes.
During his earlier dealership years, Robert wasn’t always working at the garage, but took time to travel with his sweetheart, Nancy, stateside and abroad. Together, they cruised the Rhine River in Germany, visited the Caribbean and Hawaiian beaches, and visited every major city from New York City to San Francisco, usually to view a new car show, but nonetheless fun. To note, his favorite “getaway” in his early years were the weekends he spent at Chautauqua Lake camping/boating with his family. After his retirement from Schwab’s Ford in 1999, he continued to focus his attention on the community, but his true passion was spending time near the water at the “Riverhouse” in Tidioute, or at his “Anchorage” winter home in Englewood, FL with Nancy, family and friends. His favorite activities included fishing, golfing, mowing the grass, beekeeping, boating, tinkering in his barn, working on/washing/waxing his collection of Ford cars and trucks (that included a 1915 Model T truck, a Model A, and two old Ford tractors, an 8N and 9N), having breakfast with friends, taking Nancy to dinner, spending time at “The Camp” on Lamb Run, traveling to see his sons, and being a fun-loving consummate grandfather.
Robert is survived by his lovely wife Nancy (Schall), to include four sons/daughters-in-law, and 13 grandchildren; Scott/Jacqui (Everett) with Christopher and Ryan of Westbrook, ME; Kirk/Maureen (Roethlein) with Kaleb, Karly and Kiersten of Harmony, PA; Bruce with Kyle, Abbey, Nathan, and Annabelle of Eden, UT; and Neil/Rachel (Lyter) with Luke, Samuel, Noah, and Joseph of State College, PA. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Constance “Connie” (Buckley) with nephew Louis, and niece Lee Ann Tooley (Schwab) of Truth or Consequences, NM. He is preceded in death by his brother Joseph Louis Schwab of Truth or Consequences, NM. Surviving are numerous in-laws, nieces, nephews and cousins to include the following: Berlins of Blue Bell, PA and Plano, TX, and Schalls of Tipp City & Farmersville, OH; Granada Hills & Reseda, CA, High Point & Greensboro & Mocksville, NC, and St. Johns, FL.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 10th, at St John’s Roman Catholic Church, 25 First Street, in Tidioute, PA with Rev Joseph Kalinowski. Visitation with family members will begin at 10:00 am at the church, with the memorial service starting at 11:00 am. A celebration of life and luncheon will follow at “Bob’s Barn” from 1:00 – 5:00 pm, 1 Scott Street, Tidioute.
In lieu of flowers, please donate and make memorial contributions to Robert’s community passions that included: Tidioute Public Library (197 Main Street, Tidioute, PA 16351), Tidioute Charter School (241 Main Street, Tidioute, PA 16351), the Tidioute Area Volunteer Fire Department (228 Main Street, Tidioute, PA 16351), and/or St John’s Church, 25 First Street, Tidioute, PA, 16351.
Robert was loved by many, and will missed by all.
The Donald E. Lewis Funeral Home, in Warren, has been entrusted with Robert’s final arrangements. Condolences to the family may be made at www.lewisfuneralhomeinc.com or sent to the Schwab Family, 1 Scott Street, Tidioute, PA 16351.