By Jason Stapley
Fred A. Schwendiman, former vice president of BYU, passed away Friday, July 2, at age 85.
Schwendiman worked for BYU for 31 years. His time at the university was dedicated to the physical facilities and he was involved in the development of many buildings that serve as spiritual centers for the university and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The MTC and Provo Temple were constructed with his help and he supervised the Jerusalem Center project.
Fred”s work on the Jerusalem Center project was the highlight of his life, said Maureen Schwendiman, Fred”s daughter-in-law. He spent seven years in the Holy Land supervising construction and other elements of the center”s development.
Maureen said Fred was successful in Jerusalem because of his love for the people.
“They just revered the man,” Maureen said. “He loved all the different groups in the area.
He was also impacted by the importance the church placed on the project, Maureen said. He worked closely with President Hunter and Elder Faust during the project, she said.
“He was just so impressed that everything in the building was of the very best quality,” Maureen said.
Fred demanded the same quality of those who worked on the construction. He worked very hard to make sure the workmanship was the finest possible.
Carl Bailey, controller of the Jerusalem Center, worked as an administrative assistant to Fred when he served as vice president of support services for the university from 1979 to 1984.
“The [Jerusalem] Center would not be there if it weren”t for him,” Bailey said.
While Schwendiman was vice president, he worked to secure the site for the Jerusalem Center and the clearance for the construction. After his retirement, Fred and his wife, Noni, moved to Jerusalem so Fred could oversee the project. He would come to Utah quarterly to report to the First Presidency, Bailey said.
Ed Cozzens, vice president of physical facilities for BYU, agreed that Schwendiman”s work was necessary for the Jerusalem Center”s construction. He said Fred”s people skills were very important for the project”s success.
“Fred had great P.R. skills and had a lot of friends,” Cozzens said. “He was a personal friend of Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem. We wouldn”t have had the Center without Kollek.”
Fred”s friendship with Kollek was important to gain support for the Jerusalem Center among religious groups in the area. Kollek is known for his work unifying all the religious groups in Jerusalem.
Fred also accomplished a great deal in Provo.
“Fred was one of our very key people in the university,” said Ben Lewis, former executive vice president of BYU. “He was a great soul, a great talent, dedicated to the university.”
Bailey said Fred was very friendly and his concern for other people made him successful. One of Fred”s habits stands out, he said.
“We had a weekly staff meeting on Monday morning,” Bailey said. “Fred would start the meeting by going around and asking the head of every area, ”Who do we need to pray for in your area?””
Bailey said he recalled one time when a mechanic had fallen ill and Fred went to visit him in the hospital.
“That was typical of what he might do,” Bailey said.
Cozzens said Fred would never leave the office until every phone call on his desk was answered. He added that Fred”s military experience contributed to his ability to get things done.
“His motto was, ”There”s a way to get things done, just find it,”” Cozzens said.
Cozzens said what seems to be the sentiment of all who worked with Fred, “He was one of the unsung heroes of BYU.”
Funeral services for Fred Schwendiman will take place Friday at 11 a.m. in the Sharon Second Ward chapel, 641 S. 400 E. in Orem. Friends may call prior to the services from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.