Albert B. Schwarzkopf, III, age 78, of Norman, passed away Tuesday, October 6, 2020. He was born in Newton, MA, to Albert B. Schwarzkopf, Jr. and Kathleen Mae Peek. He grew up in Birmingham AL, and graduated from Shades Valley High School. He met the love of his life, Jan Bredeson, at Vanderbilt University. They married in 1965 and studied together at the University of Virginia for graduate degrees in mathematics.
Al received his Ph.D. in Math in 1968, and they headed to Monterey, CA, where Al taught math and statistics at the Naval Postgraduate School as an Assistant Professor and USNR Lieutenant. Al, Jan and son Albert came to Norman in 1970 to begin Al’s 50 year tenure at OU as an Assistance Professor of Mathematics.
Daughter Mary arrived while Al and Jan were singing in the choir and sponsoring the High School Group at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Al became an early contributor to the Norman Youth Soccer League as an assistant to Bob Shalhope and then as coach to daughter Mary’s soccer team from 1st grade through college. He pioneered the first girl’s travelling team in Norman, the Norman Conquest. He established the Women’s Soccer Club at OU and travelled throughout the Big Eight even winning a Big Eight Championship Title. He then helped establish the OU Varsity Team and retired from coaching.
Professionally Al was tenured in Mathematics and established the Statistics Consulting Center to work with university groups doing data research and with ISP/PDS, an Oil and Gas database that was marketed from OU to the industry.
Al moved to the College of Business in 1984 to help establish the new area of Management Information Systems within the Management Division along with Leon Price. Al served as Division Director of Management from 1991-1995 before MIS Division split off in 1998. A major accomplishment in those years was keeping the Energy Management program alive while many others closed. He also established the OU technical presence in Tulsa where he created and taught in the Telecommunication Engineering Program splitting his teaching between MIS and Tulsa. He returned full time to MIS in 1998 when the Tulsa program was consolidated with Electrical and Computing Engineering.
Al was active in faculty governance. He served on the IT council as either member or president in Mathematics and then in MIS. He was elected to the Faculty Senate from Business and served as chair of the Senate from 2001-2002. As part of that service he became a lobbyist for OU at the state capital. At first he found himself saying “Hi, I’m Al Schwarzkopf. Give us money.” That approach was less than useless, so he continued to lobby on a two pronged strategy: he put a face of the OU faculty for the legislator and he thanked them for what they do. When Al was appointed Regent’s Professor, David Boren commented that Al was an effective lobbyist.
Al taught the Capstone Field Project Course for twenty years, first with Leon Price and Richard Van Horn, then by himself. He supervised over 160 projects with his students and dozens of Oklahoma companies. He called it the most rewarding of his teaching experiences. In 2005 he and Jan decided to extend a recent tradition of giving an end of semester party for graduating students, MIS faculty, and close relatives. Al had developed a hobby of cooking Cajun style in big colorful iron clad pots and lots of rice to compliment the dishes. As the division grew, so did the parties—from 10-15 through upwards of 50 in the backyard in the spring and house in the winter.
Al and Jan believed in giving back. They established the Schwarzkopf Memorial Scholarship Fund in 1993 after the death of Al’s mother. Proceeds from the fund have supported MIS students for many years. And they were founding members of the Adams Society of Price College.
Al is survived by his wife Jan of the home; his son Al IV (Heather) and daughters Koby, Taylor and Claire of Durham, NC; his daughter Mary Beer (Joe) and children Justin, Kathleen, Andrew, Nathan, and Julia of Perrysburg, OH. He follows his parents Al and Kappy of Birmingham and his brother George of Tulsa In passing.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks family and friends to consider a gift in Al’s memory to the OU Foundation in support of the Schwarzkopf Memorial Scholarship Fund.
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