Published on August 10, 2021

The View from my Seat

Bob and Tissie Schwebel went to banquet, learned building has been named after them

By Ernie Williamson / The Bulletin

Bob and Tissie Schwebel couldn’t help but wonder what their sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren were doing at the recent Santa Ana Ball, a re-enactment of the ball that followed the Battle of Velasco in 1832.

It didn’t take them long to find out. There was a surprise.

With their family watching, David Jordan, president of Brazoria Heritage Foundation, announced that the foundation was honoring Bob and Tissie by putting their name on one of the buildings that once was Brazoria Elementary School.

Bob, as the first president of the heritage foundation, was the driving force behind saving the school buildings from destruction by convincing the Columbia-Brazoria Independent School District to donate the buildings to the foundation.

The foundation has converted the school into a civic center for the community.

Bob, who attended the school, says the motivation for his involvement is simple: “I love the town; I love the people and love the school,” he says.

The heritage foundation was established in 2004 to help preserve the history of the city and the county.

The foundation hopes the civic center will be a place for Brazoria to unite in entertainment, commerce and festivities.

Thanks to the foundation, the old school buildings already house such things as the chamber of commerce, a railroad museum, a local history museum and a health clinic.

There are also rooms to rent for social events like weddings and quinceaneras. The money goes to the heritage foundation for use in improving the almost 90-year-old buildings.

The building that once housed the school principal’s office will be named the Bob and Tissie Schwebel Administration Building.

Bob jokes that having his name on that building seems appropriate since he “spent a lot of time there as a kid.”

Tissie says her husband deserves most of the credit for saving the school buildings, but Bob disagrees.

“I am a two-finger typist,” he says. “We could have never gotten this done without Tissie handling the correspondence.”

Both Bob and Tissie were born in Brazoria County and have been married for 63 years.

They started dating in 1957 when Bob was a freshman at Texas A&M.

“I think it was that cute military uniform that caught my eye,” says Tissie. They were married in 1958.

Bob began a Lake Jackson veterinary clinic in 1966 and sold it in 2000.

He planned on retiring, but the county’s farm animals wouldn’t let him. He traversed the county caring for everything from cows to llamas and boa constrictors.

According to a wonderful anecdote in a 2003 article in Out Here Magazine, Bob made the mistake of not wearing gloves while doing a rectal exam to determine if a cow was pregnant, or how far along she was in her pregnancy.

After the exam, he noticed his class ring was missing. “I never did find it,” he says.

Having just turned 83, Bob no longer practices veterinary medicine. He remains involved, however, with the heritage foundation as the non-voting CEO.

Jordan takes great pleasure in pulling off the surprise announcement at the Santa Ana Ball.
“It wasn’t easy keeping it a secret,” Jordan said. “Bob still attends all the meetings.”

(Ernie Williamson welcomes reader input. Please contact Ernie at williamsonernie@gmail.com. Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)