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Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » Richard “Dick” N. Schwab ’58

Richard N. Schwab (“Dick”), aged 86, died Nov. 24, 2021, after enjoying a last visit from beloved family members. 

In high school he fell in love with theater and became active in the drama club – although his chosen role was as a “techie” backstage. He appeared only once onstage, he said: in Arsenic and Old Lace, to speak the line, “I thought I’d had my last glass of elderberry wine,” moments before his character was to be poisoned by it. He pursued his interest in theater throughout Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio. His intention to become a lighting designer for the professional stage was sidetracked in grad school by a growing interest in how people see, leading him to earn a master’s degree in Physiological Optics at Ohio State University. This led to a lifelong career in research on seeing and driving in “adverse environments” with the Federal Highway Administration. During his 30 years in the field he was active in the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, winning a gold medal for his contributions to research from that organization.

When just graduated from Antioch, he visited friends in Yellow Springs and went to a folk dance with them where he met his soon-to-be wife Rochelle Hollander (Shelly) ’63. Instead of dancing, they stood and talked all evening, went out for pizza, and married four months later. Dick and Shelly celebrated their 60th anniversary this year. Through all his years of family life and employment Dick maintained his involvement with theater, still always as a techie with several community theater groups, at first specializing in lighting and eventually in producing plays. Until the Covid-19 pandemic, he relished attending theater as well.

He is remembered with love and sadness by all of his family. In addition to his wife, Shelly, he is survived by two daughters: Wendy Thong (son-in-law Stephen Thong); Jill Schwab (daughter-in-law Pam Horn), and grandchildren Ben, Jeremy and Sarah Thong, and Vahana Keene. He is survived too by many nieces and nephews and long-time friends.

In lieu of flowers, contributions should be directed to Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio.