In Memory of Fred Switzer (1922 - 2017)
Fred Emmet Switzer, brother to Robert Switzer and inspirational leader in the early years of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, passed away in March 2017 surrounded by his family of loving daughters. His wife, Shirley, was deceased in the prior year. Fred was a proud 94 at the time of his passing.
Fred was a crucial trustee and visionary for the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. He was involved in the creation of the Foundation and its vision of supporting environmental leaders, academic excellence and efforts to improve environmental conditions. His warm and sharp wit was always present in meetings or gatherings with Switzer Fellows, family or friends, especially on his home turf in southern California.
He served as a trustee of the Foundation in the late 1980s and early 90s. Like his brother Bob, he believed that individuals can make a difference, and that determination, passion and commitment are as important as the particular issues an environmental leader may take on.
In the 1940s, he ran Switzer’s Pharmacy with his father in Berkeley, California, and by the early 1950s joined his brothers Robert and Joe at what became the Day Glo Color Corporation, in Cleveland, Ohio. He became Vice President and eventually President of the company until his retirement in 1986.
The growth of the Switzer Fellows Network in southern California was a particular joy to Fred. He didn’t travel much in his later years and he was always energized and inspired by joining our Switzer Fellow gatherings. I am personally grateful that he and his daughters could be part of our 30th anniversary celebrations last May and that I could feel his spark and spirit at Huntington Gardens with all of us, as we stopped along the garden paths to talk about issues like land conservation, water management, and diesel pollution, all with his inquiring and supportive energy.
We miss him and will remember the significant contribution he made to shaping the Foundation, its commitment to the Fellowship program and an evolving perspective of leadership in changing times. Thank you Fred and family!