Herbert Joel Schwartz
Herbert Schwartz
Herbert Joel Schwartz

May 8, 1949 - March 20, 2024
Resided in Windsor Heights, Iowa
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Herbert Joel Schwartz of Windsor Heights passed away on the evening of March 20th after a year-long battle with cancer. Herb was born in Brooklyn, NY. The youngest of three children of Leonard and Frances Schwartz, he spent his childhood with his sister Jo-Ann and brother Michael.

Memorial service 1:00 pm June 17th at the Drake Observatory with a visitation from 12-1 pm.

It will not surprise anyone who knew Herb to read his life-long interest in technology, astronomy, and planetary science started early in his life. These interests spurred him to join the Audio-visual and Science Clubs in his school years, and eventually join the Brooklyn Children's Museum where he created one of the institution’s first planetariums.

After graduation from Hofstra University, Herb was hired by the Science Center of Iowa as their Planetarium Director. It was at the Science Center where he met the love of his life, Ruth Ann Eggers. The couple was married in the summer of 1974, and together they raised two children, Krystina and Benjamin in Des Moines and Windsor Heights.

While he moved on from the Planetarium Director job, his love of science and the enjoyment he felt through sharing his pursuit of learning with others inspired him to take on multiple teaching and educator roles in the community. One of the most constant and public was the weekly lecture series at the Drake Municipal Observatory where he was a major contributor and lecturer for almost 50 years. The Observatory was one of his most loved venues, allowing him to share his passion for the universe, technology, and his quirky sense of humor with the public. His dedication to the weekly sessions deepened the community's understanding of the complexities of the universe as he explained the intricacies of planetary physics, making the topic entertaining, insightful and accessible for all. He always felt a deep satisfaction when his programs sparked the interest of a young person, some of which followed that passion with local and international positions in astronomy. Occasionally, his talents were called upon as a guest personality by WHO News Radio during several major and noteworthy astronomical events. He was also active in the Des Moines Astronomical Society, holding multiple roles within the organization.

Herb’s dedication to serve the community extended beyond the reaches of science, as he had a strong personal faith. He served as a Deacon, Trustee, and Elder at Windsor Presbyterian and Westminster Presbyterian churches, and he also volunteered as a leader in the Cub Scouts.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Frances Schwartz and father and mother in-law, Leon and Dorothy Eggers.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Ruth Ann; their children, Krystina (John) Riley and Ben (Shawna) Schwartz; Grandchildren, Logan, Mason, & Grace Riley; brother, Michael (Marilyn) Schwartz and sister, Jo-Ann (Michael) Rapaport: As well as many other family members and friends who will miss him greatly.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Donations in his name will be contributed to a science charity of his choosing.

Arrangements by Iles Westover Chapel.




Drake Municipal Observatory
4898 Observatory Rd,
Des Moines, IA US 50311
Friday, May 17, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Drake Municipal Observatory
4898 Observatory Rd, , IA 50311
Des Moines, IA US 50311
Monday, June 17, 2024
1:00 PM