Howard Schwartz
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My Adulthood

Special Memories

I have 2 special children who have been a blessing to me throughout my life. I was involved in their lives throughout their school years. I was the room parent for both Shawn and Danelle during their elementary school years. Mostly this activity involved bringing different food for the many celebrations during the school year. Both girls played musical instruments. Shawn played the flute while Danelle played the trumpet. I remember going to an elementary school program where they started the program with the orchestra playing the star spangled banner. If they had not asked the audience to stand and place the hand over heart, you would have never known what the song was.  Both girls were Brownies and then Girlscouts. My best memories of my girl’s youth are when they were in high school and during the summer we would go to Kansas City for the weekend. We would go to Worlds of Fun Saturday during the day, then have dinner out and go to the Royals game that night. On Sunday we would go to brunch then a Sunday afternoon game. During their HS years, I split 4 season tickets to Royals games so we watched a lot of baseball games.

We always had pet dogs throughout our lives. The first one for the girls, was Chevas, a German Shepard.  During this period of our lives, we were living in a rural home in Tecumseh, KS, with 4 acres of land.  I got Chevas from a good friend, AJ Feldman.  His dog was Lobo was the mother of Chevas, who was a great pet for the children.  It was Shawn’s first day of school at elementary school and she was going out to wait on the school bus.  I heard her screaming and shrieking from the front yard.  I was in a panic rushing out to see what happened to my oldest daughter while she continuously hearing her scream.  I was fearing the worst, and upon observing what was going on, there was Chevas eating a rabbit on the front porch, she had just caught.  After that episode, Chevas no longer wanted to be a house dog, so I had to relocate her to my friend, Bob Gast’s dad’s farm in Paola, KS.  Whenever Bob and I get together to this day I ask Bob when we get together how Chevas is doing and he replies Chevas is out hunting rabbits.  It sure keeps this memory alive.

Shortly after this I moved into the city of Topeka and bought a house found for me by Bob Gast after he sold my house in Tecumseh. I bought the house because it was near schools and supermarket within walking distance for the girls.  I divorced when the girls were very young so I was a single dad raising them by myself.

Our next pet dog was Sable who was a Yorkshire Terrier.  Danelle and Shawn took care of her until they went to college and then she became my dog.

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My first full-time real paying job was in 1972 at Kansas State Teachers College. I had a split position in the Bureau of Educational Statistics/ Dept. of Higher Education. I taught 2 graduate classes and was responsible for the state-wide public school achievement testing program.

In 1976 the state of Kansas was seeking someone to administer and develop civil service employment tests. So we moved from Emporia to Topeka, the state capital. The building I worked in was 801 Harrison. It no longer is there it is now a parking lot. The first employment tests that I developed was for the Highway Patrol. It contained a written test, a physical performance test(gender neutral) and interview questions.

I left that job in 1979 to work for Kansas Supreme Court(9-13-1979) eventually being appointed to the top non-judicial job, Judicial Administrator. After 32 years I retired. I was the second person to hold this position and this was my dream job and I believe that during my time with the courts The contributions made by my office, Office of Judicial Administration(OJA) improved life for residents and business of the state.

My favorite hobby has always been reading. I have and continue to be an avid reader. I have always tried to read at least 1 book a week and continue that into my retirement. My other passion is music. Rock & Roll, Jazz, Blues and classical. No C&W for this guy!!

On my job as Judicial Administrator, I was privileged to travel to all the states. My favorite cities are New Orleans, San Diego, Philadelphia, Boston & San Francisco. You can tell that I am a big city guy.

MEMORIES

I taught Shawn how to drive but it made her nervous so Uncle Paul finished the task.  She decided she needed a car as it was too far for her to walk to high school with all her books and activities, and all her friends had cars. So, I bought her a car.  When it was time for me to buy Danelle a car, I told her I would.  I was out of town on a business trip and I received a call from Danelle that she had found a truck she wanted.  I replied a car I will buy, not a truck.  Upon returning from my trip I discovered Danelle, on her own, went out and bought the truck. Danelle always had a mind of her own, and Shawn was more compromising,

In future years, that truck decision was a great one, cause she kept it for many years and she gave it to me and then when I was ready to give it back a couple of years ago, she sold it and made some money from it. The girls were a great source of pride to me. I cooked they cleaned. They really had no desire to learn how to cook, and as it turned out they both married mem who would cook. They both graduated from the University of Kansas and went on to great professions.

I have 5 wonderful grandkids thanks to my girls. Shawn has 3: Addison, Joaquim & TT. Danelle has Burke& Brynn. They are a treasure.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

My most significant and accomplishment that I am most proud of was raising two wonderful daughters who both have been a source of joy to me throughout my life.

Also, I have received awards and honors for programs and policies that were implemented during my tenure as Judicial Administrator. My idea of case management where the judge takes control of the pace of litigation and the pace is monitored by the administrative office was a revolutionary idea. Until this change attorneys controlled the pace which cases moved through the court system.

Another idea which won wide acknowledgment was 1 day 1 trial for local citizens.  Essentially if you were called for jury duty you served either for 1 day or 1 trial. That would satisfy your juror duty for 1 year.

Another innovation of which I am most proud is the centralization of child support collections. Instead of 105 individual courts collecting and dispersing child support we centralized it and kept records and enforced the court’s order.

I am assisting my wife Elaine, who is the Trustee of the Kay McFarland estate, to cause the construction and building of Kay’s Garden at the Topeka Zoo. The Zoo is the number 1 tourist attraction in Topeka and this addition will greatly enhance the experience of visitors to the Zoo. I believe in a small way we will enhance Chief Justice Kay McFarland’s legacy to Topeka. Since I now call Topeka home I am proud to assist Elaine in this endeavor.

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