American Veteran 04

Robert (Bob) Schweitzer, Sr.

April 10, 1955 ~ November 8, 2022 (age 67)

Obituary

Robert W. Schweitzer, Sr. of Bethel, an entrepreneur and food industry professional with a deep passion for sports, his pets, and his family, died on Tuesday, Nov. 8, with loved ones at his side at Regional Hospice in Danbury after a hard-fought, two-month illness.

Robert was born in White Plains, N.Y. on April 10, 1955,  a son of Frank J. Schweitzer and Frances Arrigo, who pre-deceased him, as did his brother Frederick and his nephew Jason Yale Schweitzer.

As a youth, his mother’s wanderlust carried him across all corners of the United States, instilling a love for exploring both well-trodden and off-the-beaten-path destinations, including notable Civil War locales like Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa., a favorite. Road trips gave way to a love for the skies, both traveling in and observing jet airplanes in flight. “Old” Las Vegas and various parts of Florida (including Walt Disney World!) were other highlight destinations.

A graduate of Danbury High School, Robert entered the workforce at a young age, supporting his childhood sweetheart and wife of 50 years who survives him, Margaret M. Schweitzer (née Natale). Their son, Robert W. Schweitzer, Jr., who lives in Bethel with his partner, Steven Aubin, also survives.

Robert was particularly proud of his work in law enforcement and public safety, serving as a member of the Connecticut State Police Auxiliary, a volunteer for many years with the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department, serving as a Danbury Special, and as a New Fairfield constable. A squawking scanner remained omnipresent with him even after his public safety career ended.

Dismissive of formalities and pretension, Robert, also known as “Bob,” had an uncanny ability to size up people’s authenticity (or lack thereof), an instinct that served him well throughout his professional career, which, despite having never ridden a motorcycle, started as a salesman at Cycle Ranch.

Grit and an entrepreneurial spirit led to success there, followed by a long career in the food industry, first at Jowdy’s Industrial Catering in Danbury, where he built several profitable routes from scratch and later managed its commissary. He and his wife then bought and operated for several years Yankee Eatery in Danbury, turning an underperforming restaurant into a popular breakfast and lunch spot, after which he managed Ponderosa Steakhouses in Danbury and Southington.

His capstone was creating and implementing Deli Express, a full-service deli concept featuring made-to-order food designed to work in a service station environment. Looking for opportunities in a new field, he later worked with his oldest brother, Frank, an executive leadership and sales trainer, traveling the country and helping him grow that business into a formidable enterprise.

His “retirement job” was in shipping, receiving, and asset protection at BJ’s Warehouse in Brookfield.

Athletic and always with a strong competitive streak, in his younger days, Robert enjoyed playing the niche sport of jai alai, tennis, softball, and bowling as well as racquetball, which became an obsession for many years.

He was a diehard fan of both the New York Mets and the New York Jets since their founding.  He proudly coached soccer and youth basketball in New Fairfield, including an undefeated championship team.

A drummer with a lifelong love of music, Robert’s favorite artists included The Beatles, Elvis, and Queen. In later years, Robert enjoyed tag sales, working the grill, playing cards, and “scary good” restaurants. An unabashed television fan, his family estimates he saw every episode of The Andy Griffith Show at least a dozen times.

In addition to his wife, son, and beloved cats Cleo and Lucy, survivors include his siblings Frank J. Schweitzer, II and his wife, Gail, of Woodbury, Roy G. Schweitzer and his wife, Linda, of Kissimmee, Fla., and Robin L. Schweitzer of Westlake Village, Calif.; his nieces and nephews, Frank J. Schweitzer, III and his wife, Regina, of Bethesda, Md., Catherine Hirschauer and her husband, John, of Southbury, Andrea Minardi and her husband, Michael, of Ridgefield, RJ Schweitzer of Pueblo West, Colo., Dana Schweitzer of Pueblo West, Colo., and Cole Mannuzza of Calabasas, Calif.; and siblings-in-law Kathleen and Joseph Jowdy of Danbury and Fran and Laura Natale of Brookfield. He is also survived by Bryan Haeffele of Bethel, whom he considered his “other son,” many grandnieces and grandnephews, cousins, and friends.

The family will receive visitors on Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 5-8 pm at Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home, 9 Granville Ave. in Danbury.

Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers or other generous condolence gifts, donations may be made to Danbury Animal Welfare Society, (www.daws.org) or the National Kidney Foundation, (www.kidney.org).

His family offers special thanks of gratitude to the staff of Regional Hospice and the nurses of 12 West and 10 East at Danbury Hospital, most especially nurse Rob, who provided compassion and comfort during the last stages of his illness.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert (Bob) Schweitzer, Sr., please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Tuesday
November 22, 2022

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home
9-11 Granville Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810

Donations

Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS)
147 Grassy Plain Street, Bethel CT 06801
Web: http://www.daws.org

National Kidney Foundation
30 East 33rd Dtreet, New York NY 10016
Web: http://www.kidney.org

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