Robert Caswell passed away on Dec. 11, 2019 at the age of 77 after a long battle with multiple sclerosis and dementia. He was never defined by his illnesses and maintained his larger than life spirit until the end.
He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on Nov. 17, 1942 to Mary Ruth and Erwin Caswell. He graduated in 1964 from Loyola University and was honored as Outstanding Marketing Graduate. He then received his law degree from Loyola University and received the Charles F. Bailey Man of the Year award in 1967.
He served as a Captain in the Adjutant General’s office at Fort Sam Houston from 1968-1970, and then returned to New Orleans to practice civil law. He became an accomplished trial lawyer who never shirked from a fight, and prided himself on serving his clients with ethics, integrity and careful preparation.
In 1980, he moved to Lakehills, Texas. He continued his law practice in Bandera and Bexar counties.
In 1981, he began the Great Gumbo Cook-off to help raise funds for the Lakehills Civic Center, which was in foreclosure.
With his drive and vision and hundreds of devoted volunteers, the event would eventually develop into the highly successful and nationally recognized Medina Lake Cajun Festival, which will mark its 40th year in 2020.
He was passionate about his Cajun heritage and was proud that he helped to bring the music, food and heritage of Louisiana to Texas. He considered his involvement in the development of the festival and his place as its founder one of the great accomplishments of his life and said years ago that the festival would continue after he was dead and gone.
He is survived by his brother Erwin Caswell, his wife Barbara Engel, his daughters Beth Stephens (Scott,) and Celeste Caswell (Sam Martin,) his son Robert (Holly Wherry,) grandchildren Liv Stephens, Owen Stephens and Walter Martin-Caswell, and by Judith Moore Caswell, the mother of his children.
He is predeceased by his parents and his brother, Michele Caswell.
Donations may be made in his memory to the building fund of the Lakehills Civic Center, P.O. Box 404, Lakehills, Texas, 78063, or the National MS Society.
A Celebration of Life will be held April 4 at 4 p.m. at the Lakehills Civic Center.