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Jim Guidry Commentaries Hurricane Ike Remembered
In Remembrance
Charles L. Zwiener
Carnes Brothers Funeral Home

Charles L. ZwienerCharles L. Zwiener died peacefully on October 29, 2007.  He was born in Schulenburg, Texas, July 14, 1915, to Charles W. Zwiener and Hallie B. Zwiener.  Mr. Zwiener was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Douglas R. Zwiener and his daughter, Jane Z. Cooper.  He is survived by his wife Mary Jane Zwiener, daughters, Wendy D. Zwiener of Houston, Texas and Catherine Z. Glesener and husband Russell, of San Marcos, Texas. He also leaves two grandchildren, Brooks A.S. Broyles and his wife Jeannine, and Willa Jane Glesener as well as several cousins, nieces and nephews.

Charles L. Zwiener was reared in Austin, Texas and graduated from The University of Texas, with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1938. During college, he was on the varsity swim team, and was the national collegiate backstroke champion. He was a member of Phi Kappa Psi social fraternity. 

Charles met Mary Jane Stout and they were married at Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas on April 18, 1942.  They moved to Galveston, where he worked as a marine architectural engineer at Todd Shipyards. He supervised the design and construction of wooden dry docks that were sent to Pearl Harbor to raise sunken ships in the harbor.  After WWII, he opened his solo practice of architecture at the Cotton Exchange Building in downtown Galveston, where he maintained an office until retirement in 1986. The Zwieners had been married for sixty-five years at the time of his death.

In his practice of architecture, Charles Zwiener was a key figure in the restoration of many of Galveston’s architectural jewels, including Garten Verein, the Trueheart-Adriance Building, Trinity Episcopal Church and School, The United States National Bank Building, and many others.  In the 1970’s and 1980’s, he worked closely as a consultant to the Galveston Historical Foundation on the revitalization of the Strand District.  His practice was not limited to historical restoration and he earned his reputation as a designer of schools, commercial buildings and fine residences.  He designed a number of homes in the Denver Addition as well as throughout the island. His accomplishments as an architect garnered him respect and recognition in several publications on the architecture of Galveston, Texas. He was recognized by authors Ellen Beasley and noted Rice University architecture professor, Stephen Fox, in their book Galveston Architecture Guidebook as a driving force in bringing modernism to the West End.

Charles Zwiener was an avid sportsman, fisherman and hunter throughout his life. In his earlier years, he also enjoyed sailing and skeet shooting. He and his wife Mary Jane were watercolor artists and their common interest took them around the island and elsewhere on sketching trips. Charles Zwiener was a backyard gardener for decades and became certified as a Master Gardener by the Galveston County Agricultural Extension Service.  Mr. Zwiener, or “Bear”, as he was known to family and friends, shared his garden skills, in the form of fresh produce, with his many friends and neighbors. The Zwieners were active in the Galveston Little Theatre and the Tandem Club.

Mr. Zwiener was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and was a member of Rotary International, the Galveston Historical Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and was a lifetime board member of the Salvation Army.  Mr. Zwiener was a parishioner of Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston and held several elected positions at the church during his lifetime, not the least of which was his annual appearance as Santa Claus for the children at Trinity Episcopal School.

Funeral Services for Charles L. Zwiener will be at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, November 1, 2007, at Trinity Episcopal Church. For those desiring, memorials may be directed to: The Galveston Historical Foundation, The Salvation Army or the charity of your choice.

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