Robert J. Schmitt, 88 years old
Bob was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1931. He met Jim Alan Egan in his undergrad Washington University days, and they soon became life partners until Jim’s death in 1987. After receiving his AB in speech therapy from Washington U., Bob served in the Army from 1953 to 1955. He received training in education for the deaf at the Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) in St. Louis and went on to get his MA from Washington U.
Bob taught deaf children at the CID and then in the Houston, Texas, Independent School District. After being recruited by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to help start Project Hurdle, the goal of which was to help teachers bring media into classrooms for the deaf, Bob moved with Jim in 1968 to Oakland, California, where Bob worked for the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley and then later in Fremont, first as a teacher and then as an administrator in charge of Instructional Media and the Educational Center, until his retirement in 1992.
Bob became a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Oakland in 1991, where he was active with church activities and which became the focal point of his life. Bob was a devoted fan of opera and live theater all his life and enjoyed the opera and theater scene in the Bay Area as well as traveling to Santa Fe for the summer operas. In retirement, he took many trips including London, Paris, Berlin, and Beijing, and cruises to the Panama Canal and Alaska. His attendance at the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, in 2000 was one of the highlights of his life.
After a series of strokes, Bob moved to assisted living in Oakland and finally to Chandler for the last year of his life so that he was able to get out of his apartment more to attend movies and go out with friends. He died on February 19th from complications of an infection. He was preceded in death by his parents and his longtime partner, James Alan Egan. He has a godson, James Thacker, of Arnold, Missouri, and cousins in Missouri, Maryland, Virginia, and New Mexico, and dear friends in California, Arizona, North Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, and Washington, D.C. He was loved and will be missed by his many cousins and friends.