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Robert Schutz - Tributes and Condolences

Summary: We are deeply shocked that Robert Schutz, Rhino reseller from Off Broadway and a leader of the Rhino community suddenly passed away on June 7, 2007 as he was leaving a restaurant after having dinner with friends. Services will be held this Friday (June 15th) at 11 am at the Burwood Cemetery, 28320 E River Rd, Escalon, CA.
Celebration: A celebration of Robert’s life will be held on Thursday June 21, 2007 at 7 pm at 64 Bellevue in Piedmont. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to Rocio at (510) 520-6525


Please add your pictures, comments, and condolences

Rose Vigdal

What a pain in butt Robert could be but so very loveable at the same time! I will always remember the late '80's early '90's Autodesk conventions with a smile. Katie, Virginia & I would always have some story to share after those special “invite only” parties that we'd all get into. This news of his passing is a shock - you will be missed, my friend!

Ben Thompson

Robert will be missed by many of us regular swimmers at Temescal Pool in Oakland. He was a fixture at the pool, always friendly and gregarious. Never shy about telling you exactly what he thought. We will miss him buzzing around the neighborhood on his electric bike. There are those of us who know nothing of his professional life and never heard of Rhino. Here was a multi-dimensional guy. I'm in shock. Hard to believe a guy so full of life can be gone so suddenly.

Bye Robert (for now).

Christine (Schutz) Phillips

I am Robert's cousin, Christine. I wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of you for your kind words about Robert (although, he will always be Bobby to his family). You enriched his life tremendously and I know that he was so proud to have transcended his physical limitations to achieve great success in his professional life. Your comments have lightened our grief.

We are so sorry that due to the circumstances surrounding his death that we are locked out of his home/business establishment and cannot open his home to you for a final goodbye. Our choice would have been to have services there in Oakland, where he spent his adult life, so that his friends and associates could gather for a memorial and share stories of this wonderful man.

I do hope to make it up to the memorial in Piedmont next week…perhaps I will meet some of you there. Robert will be deeply missed by his family and friends, here in the central valley where he grew up (in a small town named Riverbank). While you (all) knew him as the accomplished adult that he became, we will remember him as both the young boy who grew up across the street and the cousin who became the computer wizard!

Thanks again for all your kind words and for being such wonderful friends to Robert.

Andrea B.

I just found your newsgroup and I just wanted to let you know that I was with him when he passed away. He apparently had a major heart attack right after we finished dinner at a restaurant in Emeryville. He was gone so fast, in the middle of a conversation. My condolences to all of you who knew him. I'm still in shock, but if it helps you to talk, please email me privately at Thank you.

Eric Clausen

Robert Shutz 9/12/50 - 6/7/07

I’m an Architectural Blacksmith in Oakland California.

I’ve known Robert for a long time, since the mid seventies. He popped up on the scene at Gaylord’s on Piedmont Avenue when I used to hang out there. Religiously, every morning, noon, and night, I would go there to have coffee.

Robert drove an old 1956 Dodge panel truck. It had wood paneling inside and he rebuilt the engine himself. He was very proud of it. There was a bird on his shoulder, a parrot that spoke a few phrases and had Robert’s laugh.

His profession at the time was as a machinist. I was impressed when I visited him where he worked, he was running a large lathe at the time.

Robert had a rocky childhood. His mother had abandoned him. Robert had to help take care of his father who was bed ridden with polio and was in an iron lung. Robert also had polio and had a crippled leg. He shed his dark past when he drove west. The Bay area greeted him with open arms and soon he was a fixture on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.

He was determined to get past his handicap. I remember the BMW he had in the eighties. This car was all custom fitted with hydraulic pistons that worked the clutch. It was operated by thumb on the gearshift lever. Being a machinist benefited him in many ways; it allowed him to see how things work physically and also laid out a foundation for discipline in the digital world. All this was useful in his venture into the high tech work where he was selling AutoCAD and eventually Rhino 3D. Being a blacksmith and working in reality 3D I can thoroughly understand how he was fascinated by it. Machining without standing in front of a machine all day, cool!

He was a very sharp businessman and was always available for advice for anyone. When we’d go out for lunch, for example, if something could have been done more efficiently he would advise the headwaiter in a helpful manner. To the end he’d keep beating into me that I had to raise my prices.

About 10 to 15 years ago I talked Robert into swimming at Temescal pool for exercise. He was nervous and worried that people would be aghast by his brace.

I told him he was no different and how I used to be worried about my weight when I started swimming. I also told him no one cared and they’re all worried about other things like how their swimsuits look etc. Well, he was hooked and had been swimming there daily ever since.

Last year I took Robert to the mountains in the mother lode at the Yuba River to swim. There is a trail there, one of the state parks only wheelchair accessible trails in the US. He loved it. We brought his wheelchair and I pushed him through the woods for a couple miles. On the way back I was getting tired but my dog “Dodger” was still full of spunk. So we hooked Robert up to Dodger with a rope and I had to run to keep up with them.

Every 4th of July we would participate in the Piedmont parade in my old 1956 Cadillac convertible and throw candy to all the kids. He loved it.

I saw Robert the night before he passed away. He was feeling so fit that he wanted to go out to Fenton’s and have an ice cream…. I passed and told him I need to watch my weight and ice cream was the worst thing for me.

It’s hard to believe he’s gone. When my wife Jeanne was busy with her friends I’d call Robert and we’d go for a dinner and a movie. The 4th of July is coming up. I’ll be throwing candy to the kids and life will go on but I will dearly miss my friend Robert.

Bob McNeel

It is hard to know where to start when there is so much to say. Robert Schutz was one of my oldest friends. He was a true friend. Someone you could always rely on.

I first met Robert at an Autodesk event in Sausalito CA in about 1986 or 7. Autodesk was a relatively new company and we were both new resellers. Robert was the guy with the prettiest girl at the event hanging out with him. Lucky for me, I met Robert when Jackie, my sales rep brought me over to meet her sister Jennifer, Robert’s sales rep.

Somehow we spent most of the event discussing and arguing about the business of being an Autodesk dealer. We really had no idea what we’re doing but Robert was one of the few people there that thought about what he was doing and questioned everything and everyone. Our business discussion has been going now for 20 years. It is his constant critic of my wild ideas that I will miss most.

Some background on Robert that most of you might not know or know better so please correct…

Robert grew up Los Angeles until he was 6 or 7. He contracted polio just as they were finishing the field trials for the polio vaccine. It was only a week or two after he was diagnosed that all of the kids in his schools were vaccinated. I believe that was 1956 or 7. His father also contracted polio about the same time and shortly after that his mother left and he hasn’t heard from her since.

Robert (crippled) and his father (on an iron lung) lived with an aunt until he was old enough to drive. For many years Robert lived out of his pickup. At some point he went to a trade school and learned to be a machinist. He worked as a journeyman machinist for a few years until his legs would not stand the stress any longer. After that, in the early 1980s, he made a living arranging Rave (illegal) parties in the warehouse district of San Francisco.

Robert was not married but once dated Paul Hawken’s (of Smith and Hawken fame) twin sister. He has an aunt and some cousins in the Modesto, CA area and an uncle in Cle Elum, WA.

When I first met Robert he was living in a small house he rented in the hills above Oakland. He later purchased the building that housed his business, an engineering business, and ten apartment units. He lived in one of them.

Robert’s business, Off Broadway, was started in about 1985 as an AutoCAD reseller and was until about 2003 or 4. He was one of our largest Rhino resellers with extremely loyal customers.

Robert always told me that polio was what had made him into such a good businessman. Since polio had made most every effort painful, he spent most of his time figuring out how to do everything with the least effort possible.

Robert would visit us in Seattle from time to time and he would just sit in a chair and watch what we were doing. And then from time to time he would ask “What are you doing that for?” That was his polite way of saying “That is really stupid.” Robert was not known for being polite so more often than not he would more directly point out how foolish we were.

The most significant advice he ever gave me was when he pointed out how much time we spent screening, tracking, and prioritizing tech support calls and if the support people just answered their phone and answered the questions we could provide much better service at one-third the cost.

The next time he was up, he told me to pick up my phone myself and quit wasting everyone’s time by having someone else answer my phone. Since then, nobody sits at our reception desk and everyone answers their own phone.

Many the great successes we have had in our business are thanks to Robert… and more importantly his persistence to make sure we didn’t ignore him.

Ted Kyte

Although I had never met Robert in person I immediately grew to respect him.

He was a major factor to a lot of people learning Rhino and I was one of them.

Robert and his web site along with many other contributions were a huge part of the Rhino community and he will be missed by all.

His videos and tutorials will live on forever to provide the recognition he deserved.

My condolences go out to all his family and friends.

Rest in peace Robert.

Michael Turner

Like Ted, I too had never met Robert in person, but I found him to be not only friendly but extremely helpful. I talked with Robert several times on the phone and he always had time for me. I watched every little Camtasia video Robert made and his voice is one I will miss. Those videos did more for my limited Rhino skills than any other single thing I have tried. My condolences and prayers go out to his family and I know that shortly, we will all understand fully how much we are going to miss Robert in the Rhino community.

Wendy Hemmelman:

My husband Tim and I both work at Robert McNeel & Associates and we've known Robert Schutz for about 16 years. I think all of us at McNeel considered Schutz (as we called him) part of the family. I was in Oakland on vacation in April. I spent an afternoon with Robert and he took me to dinner. It's the first time I'd seen him in person for 6 or 7 years, though we frequently exchanged emails, chatted on Skype or talked on the phone about business.

He was a gracious host and tour guide. It was a gorgeous afternoon in Oakland, and Robert drove me all around sharing a wealth of information about the city. He pointed out an iron gate his friend Eric made for CACC. He gave me a tour of his warehouse and office, and his workshop where he built model engines. I lost track of how many home improvement projects were either in the works or recently completed.

Of course much of our conversation was about Rhino and how fascinating it has been to watch it grow over the past decade. Robert was overflowing with ideas about Rhino and how to approach this new, exciting phase of his business. Every conversation I ever had with Robert included his deep admiration for Bob McNeel.

He mentioned several other friends in conversation that day, too: George the filmmaker, Eric the metal worker, the beautiful ladies he had coffee with every day. At the time I remarked to myself what diverse interests and talents he has, and friendships with a broad spectrum of people. I am so grateful now to have had those hours to have caught a glimpse of that, to have seen him a context besides business, and to have been reminded of what a warm, caring individual he was.

He will truly be missed.

Gerard Petersen

In this e-world I had first contact with Robert when he asked me by e-mail to post a tutorial of us. More and more I became aware that Robert was a Rhino reseller doing a lot of other things for the Rhino community. He was a catalyst in the Rhino community trying to make new connections between people, companies, knowledge and products. His websites for tutorials, models and off course the first and best Rhino blog are another example of his generosity to share. Robert contacted me about a new initiative and it was then that I first spoke to him via Skype. His voice was direct and open and before we knew we formed a discussion group of resellers who often talk via Skype about our experiences. Robert was driving this with great enthusiasm and for us, young people, it was and will be a challenge to keep up with him.

Robert, your voice I will miss the most……..

Jørgen Holo

Thank you for all your time and sincere help Robert. I have met few people who are so willing to share their trade secrets, and who sincerely wanted the best for everybody, Robert, thanks for the time we knew each other, I wish it was longer.

As we say in Norway: “takk for følget” which means “thanks for the company along the road” and it also implies “see you later”.

We will miss you Robert.

Robert loved old tug boats

On a trip to Seattle, we drove up to the San Juan Islands to see an old Foss tug boat that was for sale. - Bob McNeel

Robert hosted the Bay Area Engine Modelers club meetings

A gift for Robert from the club members. Pictures in Robert's machine shop.

rs3.jpg rs4.jpg rs5.jpg

Jonah Barnett

Very sorry to hear such sad news. My best wishes to his family and friends.

Matt Sederberg

I first interacted with Robert when I stumbled upon his website. We were interested in some more advanced models to test our early T-Splines Rhino plugin, and Robert generously shared some with us. Over the next year, Robert would regularly contact me over Skype to offer critiques about the T-Splines movies we were making, giving suggestions about how to more effectively format them. One of my proudest moments with Robert was when, after I had been the (grateful) recipient of many suggestions from him, he noticed something new that we were doing, asked for details, and later adapted this technique with his own videos. Even though the balance of knowledge transfer between us was definitely skewed in favor of Robert offering advice to me, it was gratifying that he was open to learning as well.

Robert was very generous in sharing with me his experiences about what worked and what didn't work when reselling to the Rhino community–he IMed me for 30 minutes on the day he died to make sure I was on track with setting up a reseller channel the right way–it was much easier to get it right the first time than to try to fix it later, he emphasized.

Ricardo mentioned that Robert was like a big brother to the Rhino Community–I second that opinion.

Dan Bayn

That is terrible news. He was such a huge part of the Rhino community. He will be missed.

Vittorio Carlotto

Very sorry to hear such sad news. My best wishes to his family and friends.

Safak Cinar

Very sad news, and a big loss for Rhino community. My condolences to his family.

Willem Derks

How sad to hear.

“Life is a gift to celebrate, Death is to remind us just that” My thoughts go out to the people close to him; the ones he left behind. For them I wish nothing but the strength to overcome such loss. My condolences.

Heath Satow

From many of the above sentiments… “Lots of thanks to Robert for what you have done to and for this community. You will be greatly missed.”

I must agree… Happy trails, Robert.

Fred C

Very sad news. I join everyone here in offering my sincere condolences to Robert's family and friends. His helpful and generous attitude will be greatly missed.

Paul, UK

Really sorry to hear that, he will be missed a great deal. My sincere condolences go out to his family at this time.

Rafael del Molino

Very bad news. My condolences to his family.


Speechless… what a terrible loss. We will miss you, Robert.


Completely unexpected. Best wishes to his family and close friends.

Yianni Andrikopoulos

His vision and generosity is a great example for us to follow. I met Robert only recently, we talked via Skype during some long nights. I only talked with him maybe six or eight times but that’s all it took him to earn my respect and might I say my his friendship?

In Greece one of the expressions we use for condolences is “let us live to remember him”. I think Robert would like that phrase.

In ancient Greece it was believed that people should do good deeds so they will be remembered long after they are gone, in my books Robert have achieved just that.

So long Robert, your memory will remain alive in our hearts and minds.

Ricardo Amaral

I thought of him like the elder brother around here, he will be missed. My sincere condolences to his family and close friends.


I am also far far away, but I would also like to participate in sending something from the newsgroup. What an asset to the Rhino community he has been… it leaves us with a big, big gap that will never be closed. I bet he is reading this thread somewhere in a better place.

Lowell Walmsley

The first time I remember talking to Robert was at a monthly Autodesk beer bust in Sausalito in the mid '80s. In the early days of Autodesk, they held beer busts so that everybody that worked there had a chance to get to know each other. Other hangers on were allowed in sometimes. Robert was somewhat of a celebrity because of the video drivers he was selling to make AutoCAD work with high end graphics cards on DOS. He had gotten somebody to write a driver for him and figured out enough about programming to modify it for different cards.

Robert was something of an opportunist and schemer but he was always honorable in everything he did and I respect the care he took with that in his business. He also worked very hard and was very focused and competent in the work he did. One of the things that concerned him the most was the thought of getting old and not being able to take care of himself. He wanted to be sure that he at least had some resources to pay for what care he needed.

Over the next several years I ran into Robert at trade shows and Autodesk events and eventually he became a close personal friend. I have quite a few good memories of long evenings of drinking and talking long into the night. As we were both Autodesk resellers, he started visiting our office in Seattle to talk about the AutoCAD business. Sometimes when he was in Seattle, he would stay at our house. He was a friend to my whole family and was godfather to 2 of my kids who are now 16 and 21.

Robert loved projects that involved making things and interacting with other people around those efforts. I'm sure others will have stories about his involvement with model boats, railroads, engines, and probably some other things. He liked making the things, but I think he liked being around the other people even more. Robert always had something good to say about the people that he met in his neighborhood, at the coffee shop or the swimming pool.

After the airport security tightened up a few years ago, Robert quit flying because he wore steel leg braces and it was too hard to get through the checkpoints. During the time since then I didn't see nearly as much of Robert, having only visited him a few times in Oakland, but we talked on the phone and emailed fairly often. In the last few days before he died, Robert talked about wanting to travel somewhere again. He really wanted to go to Europe and the UK to meet people from the newsgroup and Rhino community there but didn't think it would work for him because of his legs. He was planning to visit his uncle in CleElum (100 miles from Seattle) and spending a little time in Seattle this summer and I was really looking forward to seeing him then.

I talked to Robert on the phone just a couple of hours before he died and he was in good spirits and feeling really upbeat and hopeful about his business and some projects he was working on. It was good to hear and remembering that makes me smile a little when I think about him now.

I count myself fortunate to have known Robert and I won't forget him.

J. Andre

Wow… that's so sad. I was just on the phone chatting with him maybe a week ago.

Jess Maertterer

This is really sad. We will miss Robert. My condolences to Robert's family and friends.

Jonas Callewaert

Robert created inspirational connections and brought much meaning in his great blog to people both new and old to Rhinoceros. I think this calls for more devoted effort on all our parts to fill a gap or create more resources, for those who choose to. How will his work either be maintained, preserved or carried on to the next phases?

Life lost, let us learn/have learned from it all that we can.


Thanks for everything, Robert! Such great contributions… all of it and you will be missed. Blessings to you and your family.

Glen Adomovicz

Terribly sad news, he was a great contributor to Rhino and it's community. He will be deeply missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

Roland M

My condolences to his family and friends. His enthusiasm and help will be sorely missed by the Rhino community.


My condolences to all their family and near people. It is really very sad that somebody who devoted so much to the Rhino web site, blog, exchange of models, and support in the forum has left. Thank you Robert for everything. All my respect. Good-bye.

Armido Cremaschi

Great loss for his family and for us all of the Rhino community. We owe him. I hope his contributions will continue to be valued and somebody will follow in his steps.

Joakim Möller

Thank you, Robert, for all your help. This is very sad; we will miss you very much. My best wishes to his family.

Don Lewis

What a loss. My prayers to his family and friends.

Clement Greiner

These are very sad days for anyone Robert has left behind and for the Rhino community. Robert has been one of the most helpful Rhino resellers, he managed to bring new things together on his website and collected every info about Rhino he could find. You will be missed much Robert, I wish you a good time. My condolences to his family and all his friends.


What a big loss for his friends and family and for the Rhino community. We'll miss him!

Fran Davey

I am so sorry to hear of Robert's passing. He is a good soul who will be missed in this world.

Farid Nedjam

I communicated with Robert a few months ago, and he certainly was a nice person to deal with. My condolences go out to his family.

Victor Soto

Robert's passing is sad and unexpected, and has left a deep emptiness among his family and Rhino's community. Thank you, Robert, for the inspiration you instilled and your good disposition to share. My sympathy and prayers for his family.

Francis Drouillard

That is so sad. You couldn't meet a more pleasant gentleman and kind person than Robert. He will be missed.

Paul Cowell

I was just getting to know Robert. I will greatly miss his direct, honest and insightful advise.

My condolences to his friends, I bet he was a great guy to have known well.

Rick Loheed

This is indeed very sad news. I made many of my purchases of Rhino and Rhino related software from Robert for many years. As a machinist myself, I found I wanted to get to know him better – I recently purchased MadCAM from him and he was most helpful and very responsive. I routinely check his website for news and interesting items, and he will be missed.

Evan Yares

It's been a few years since I've seen Schutz. The last time was when I was in the bay area, for some business trip. We hung around and talked about all kinds of stuff – old engines, model boats, pretty women—then went out for some dinner –- me on foot, and him on his homemade electric bike. I stayed over, and slept on the couch in his warehouse.

We first met in the late 1980s. It was at an Autodesk event… at the time I, like him was an AutoCAD reseller. I remember him talking about how he became a reseller. At the time, they had a “one to go, one to show” kind of deal. You just had to buy two copies of the program to become a reseller. He walked in to Autodesk's offices with cash – a move which apparently really made them happy. He was always trying to figure out how to do things better or easier.

When Lowell refers to Schutz as a “schemer,” I understand completely that it's with true affection. In the early 80s, Schutz approached a bunch of mutual friends at one of Autodesk's CAD Camp meetings, and put together a thing he called the “McNeel Group.” It was about 10 reseller companies, from around the country (one actually was from England), and we'd meet 4 times a year, at various locations, to talk about business. For me, being part of that group was an amazing thing, because of the personalities. Especially Schutz's. It was a bunch of friends, trying to figure out how to get along in a complex and changing world.

If I trace back what I'm doing today in business, and what I've done for the last 8 or 9 years, a lot of it was precipitated by conversations with Schutz. But it was not just business. Every time we'd get together, I felt like I came away thinking about why and how I was doing things… in all of my life. He was always really good at calling me on my bullshit.

Over the last few days, I've been thinking about Schutz, and what he's left behind. People often think about family, but for Schutz, his friends were his family. Business and hobbies may have provided a context for many of his friendships, but the connections that grew out of that context were genuine and enduring.

One of the tragedies of life is that you never truly miss someone until they're gone. Losing Schutz is a reminder of that. Yet, the fact that he is going to be missed, and by so many people, is a real testament to a life well-lived. I am richer for having known him.

Jon Yares

It was my good fortune to be introduced to Robert when I became a member of The McNeel Group back in about ‘92. He has been a great positive influence in my life that continues to this day. His ability to find an alternative approach to almost any situation often amazed me.

I always enjoyed his company, though I haven’t spoken with him for some time. It has been my intent for a long time to go by and see him when I made it up his way. I guess I just expected he would always be there.

I am deeply saddened by his passing.

McNeel Group Notes

As Evan mentioned the McNeel Group was one of Robert's inventions. We all had some great times and some great trips. Often the meetings were a day before or after a major tradeshow but we also made some special trips together. They included:

  • Hawaii
  • Grand Canyon
  • Memphis
  • New Jersey/New York

Hopefully we can find some pictures (predigital) from those trips. They were great trips.

Phil Kreiker

He was my friend.

McNeel Europe

Even if we never met Robert personally, we admired his contributions to the Rhino community, his commitment and his dedication.

Our condolences to his family and friends.

Jurek Dabrowski

Very sad news!!

Rajeev Nair

I am a newbie to Rhino. I am really touched by the compassion of the people in this forum. It speaks volumes about the company .. which is unlike any CAD company I've ever know. My condolence to Robert's family and friends. I sincerely wish the company makes good progress in democratizing CAID software from the clutches of Alias and ICEM Surf.

Tarik Walmsley

I have known Robert since before I can remember. He worked with my dad and they became good friends. He was also Godfather to my sister and me. I remember going down to visit Robert in Oakland. Although I don't know much about his business life, I do remember him saying he can't wait to make his first million. He accomplished this, as well as many other things. I have heard stories about when Robert was first starting out and he would throw parties in his warehouse just to get on his feet, but he always had a way with business. He knew what he wanted and what his goals were, and he almost always achieved them.

I also remember him coming up to Seattle when he would stay with us. He would talk about his new girlfriend, and he was the first one to introduce me to the TV show blind date.

Robert had a good sense of humor and a tough love. He wouldn't push anything, but he wanted me to succeed. A few days before his death, I got a check in the mail for a trip that I am taking to Guatamala this summer with one condition. He wanted me to watch a movie on Guatemala that he recommended. This just reminded me of the generosity that Robert had, but he was always trying to educate and make people think.

In the last few years I haven't seen much of Robert, but we emailed frequently. Robert was in a good place in his life when he died, and was afraid of getting too old that he would not be able to take care of himself. He was a good friend to my dad, a good mentor to my sister and me, and a hard working business man who always held himself to high morals.

Robert accomplished a lot in his life, and I feel lucky to have known him.

John Brock

It's hard to believe Schutzy is gone. He was a talented and observant friend that had to fight more than his fair share of life's battles. He had a keen eye, a sharp wit, and didn't suffer fools lightly. If he liked you, you knew it. If he didn't, you knew that too. Many people misunderstood his honest, direct manner with gruffness. He was a softie at heart and easily had his feelings hurt. With Robert (never call him Bob), the wheels upstairs were always spinning. Unless he was in one of his massage chairs, the man could not sit still.

I met Robert shortly after coming to work for Bob McNeel back in 1987. We met up at several trade shows and he would come to Seattle from time to time. We hit it off quickly. I think it was at one of those trade shows when were watching Bob McNeel speak with someone. Schutzy was intently watching Bob and told me to pay attention so I did. Afterward we compared notes on what was said, what was learned, and other subtle nuances of what Robert called “Bob-speak”. Robert was a great student of “Bob-speak”. If I ever needed to know what Bob really meant, I could always ask Schutzy. Shortly after he bought his building in Oakland, Bob, Lowell and I stopped by to visit. Even then before he started improving it, it was cool.

He installed 3-phase electrical service so he could run his big machine shop tools; another interest we shared. Robert was meticulously clean and kept his shop like a journeyman. Over the years, I would go down and teach Rhino classes in his building. Sometimes I'd sleep on the sofa by the pool table, sometimes in his apartment, and sometimes in a vacant apartment if one was available. Robert was a great host and enjoyed visitors. He knew where the fun restaurants were and who had the best deals on anything. We swam at the local pool, drank beers at local establishments like Lane Splitters, and enjoyed BBQ and pie at Emil Villa's. I will miss watching all the hummingbirds with Robert while sitting on his deck or looking out the windows.

Every time I went down to teach a class, he'd want to know what I wanted for breakfast and load up everything. He was a great host. We laughed a lot. On my last visit, another Harley riding friend in Oakland met us at Lane Splitters for pizza and beer. We ended up going back to Robert's place to show my friend his place. Like most creative people, Jon was blown away by Robert and his building.

Robert and I had different political views, but we enjoyed discussing them. He always had a different take than I did. He told me several times that he had to keep his politics to himself in his neighborhood, but was very pleased we could talk about them openly and passionately without anger. I will miss Robert.

Amy Ladner

Thank you all who have put up pictures. I have few if any of him so these I will treasure.

I met Robert shortly after I moved to Oakland in 1992 when architects were leaving in droves. I suffered through a few short lived jobs that would dry up for lack of work but through one of them I met Robert. I could not stand him after our first conversation. He was quite insulting or so it seemed at the time. The next week when my boss and I met with him and he was so charming and forth right that we dated for a while and became close friends. I lived around Piedmont Ave. for most of my years in CA and saw Robert almost every day at Peets Coffee, on weekends he would have been and gone before I made it down but if I called him he would come back up for another cup or tell me to come down to the warehouse to hang out and see what was going on.

For several years he kept me employed, not directly, but someone would call and ask if he knew any drafters and he would call me if he thought they were good to work for. I was never out of work for more than a couple of days and eventually one of those contracts turned into a real job I had for years until I returned to Texas. I owe him my life and my quality of life not just for the work he passed to me but for the confidence he gave me that I could go out and get work and be on my own without a 'job'. He also told me what to charge and how to conduct myself in some of the places he sent me, like the place with girly calendars on the walls.

For several years my roommate and I had summer parties and Robert was always up to to take charge of the grill, grumbles thrown in for free along with all the laughs, the good ideas and the chef's hat and whatever other accessories he would have to give his role flare.

Robert had flare!

He had a joy in life like few people I've known. He always told me he wouldn't live a long life but I always felt that he was such a force of nature that I would know him the rest of my life. He was right as usual.

I'm remembering so many times we shared (though I always felt I was just a small part of a big life, he knew everybody!) I can't write them all down. I can't believe I'll never hear his voice again.

Frank Sparks (aka Frankie Schutz)

I just found out my brother passed away. My name is Frank Sparks and Bobby was my friend and step brother. We grew up in River Bank together when our parents married. We played at the family owned roller rink and Bobby and I were terrors on the roller skates. We played at our Uncles, John and Merle's homes with our cousins. Our life was happy as kids on a summer's day. Playing in rubber pools in the back yards, chasing chickens and lambs we raised. Our family pet was a lamb we called Diapers and our dog Spot. Diapers was an indoor lamb, hence the diapers and the name.

We moved to the San Fernado Valley when Bob Schutz got a job surveying and lived in a house in Reseda on dirt streets. We would soak the dust with water and roll in the mud caked from head to toes. We would climb in the crab apple and fig trees and eat the ripe fruit till we got sick. Bobby was always fun and I honestly never remember a fight between us. We were watching tv one night, pushing and teasing one another, Bobby got up and I tripped him as brothers do, Bobby could not get up from the fall. He came down with polio. I thought I was to blame. Then Dad, Bob Schutz, came down with a more virilant strain of the polio and was hospitalized and in an iron lung. Soon a divorce of our parents came along and Bobby went to River Bank to live. I missed my brother and loved him and always will.

I only saw Bobby one time after that, he came to visit his half brother Raymond and our mother in L.A. I think Bobby felt a bit uncomfortable around me, Bobby's hair was down his back and mine was military short, since I was in the Navy then. Little did he know my hair would have been as long if I had been able to grow it.

I am sorry to hear that Bobby had a hard time after the divorce, but I know if heaven is what I believe, Bobby is running and playing as hard there, as we did when we were young. I love and miss Bobby and I always will. God protect and keep a smile on Bobby's face, there are few brothers in this world as good as he. Frankie

If any would like to contact me, I can be reached at

Fon Davis

I work in the San Francisco Bay Area film industry and Robert was our software supplier for the work we did on many major motion pictures. I was saddened to hear about Robert's passing. It does not seem that long ago that I called him for some upgrades and we'd talk about all the new and exciting tools available for 3d design. We were supposed to meet and discuss some project calibrations when I got back into town from an out of state project. He never returned our e-mails, and then we found the bad news online. Robert approached us not as some sales rep, but as a friend with great advice and enthusiasm for whatever we were doing. He was instrumental in many complex projects and always went that extra mile for us. He will be missed. Thanks Robert where ever you are.

people/robertschutz.txt · Last modified: 2020/08/14 (external edit)