Seldom are you afforded the privilege to know a TRUE LEGEND. And that is exactly what Bill Schwartz was to the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS) and his family. Bill truly cared about family; his immediate family and relatives, the LAGERS staff and their family, the LAGERS membership and their family, and various professional contacts and their family.
Bill was a faithful employee of LAGERS for 36 years. He was appointed Director of the LAGERS retirement system at the age of 26. At the time of his retirement, he had served as director for 32.5 years which he believed was the 2nd longest serving director in the country. But Bill was more than just the Director; he knew every employee’s spouses name and in many cases even knew the children’s names. And family always came first when there were school activities or a physical need. Bill enjoyed family stories and laughed and cried with the employees. If you should be so unlucky as to have a severe illness, rest assured Bill would be there whether at the hospital or at home. Most of the time he was there to simply provide encouragement, but he shared in his own unique way that you were still needed back at the office. That is the caring boss and mentor that LAGERS staff will always remember.
Being born and raised in Central Missouri, Bill had a special connection with the LAGERS membership. Bill truly ‘Got it’; that the membership was a group of hard working employees that had dreams and aspirations for their local community. Daily he strived to assure that those employees would be financially supported in their retirement years, thereby giving back to the communities in their retirement years. Again, Bill knew the people, individuals and was saddened when adversity came to their doorstep. He also expressed great pride when the system was able to support a member through a lengthy retirement of 40 plus years.
Additionally, Bill made close relationships with various professional contacts over the years and served in multiple leadership positions beyond LAGERS. His leadership positions included: the Missouri Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (MAPERS), the Missouri Society of Association Executives (MSAE), the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA), and the Government Financial Officers Association (GFOA). He was definitely a thought leader on public pensions and especially public pension accounting authoring numerous articles, handbooks, etc.
And though Bill was a Public Pension Legend, it was his family that brought him the most enjoyment. He was extremely proud of his children’s accomplishments and the Schwartz family regularly attended conventions, combining business and a family vacation. Bill and his wife, Sandy, were nearly inseparable at the numerous events that required Bill’s attendance. They were definitely a team. And because of his heartfelt commitment to family, Bill will always be a TRUE LEGEND to each of us that had the privilege to know him.