Dr. Theresa Frances Flynn Schwarzer

Dr. Theresa Frances Flynn Schwarzer

1940 - 2021

Born & raised in Troy, NY she married & had one daughter before moving to Houston, TX in 1969 where she called home.

Dr. Schwarzer was considered among the pioneer women of the Geo Sciences. She graduated Valedictorian from Lansingburgh HS in 1958 always knowing she wanted to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in NY.

In the Fall of 1958 she entered RPI as one of five women in the freshman class of 1200, a year later she became the first woman to major in Geology at RPI.

She received her B.S., M.S., and in 1969 her Ph. D. in Geology from RPI. Shortly afterward she moved to Houston, TX as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at Rice University. There she conducted natural radioactivity surveys from Oklahoma to Puerto Rico in helicopters flying so low they barely cleared trees and power lines. While at Rice she was awarded a fellowship to attend a NATO Advanced Study Institute on uranium prospecting held in England.

In 1972 she joined Esso Production Research Co. as the first woman PhD hired by the organization and participated in frontier oil exploration research and development of new Geophysical and Geochemical Techniques. She also founded and chaired the Association of Women Geoscientists under the American Geological Institute.  She joined Houson Geological Society on 9/1/2000.

In 1978 she transferred to Exxon Co., USA as a Senior Exploration Geologist, and by 1980 Dr. Schwarzer was the head of Exxon Texas Offshore Exploration Group involved in the search for domestic oil and gas along the Gulf of Mexico. After 24 years with Exxon, Dr. Schwarzer retired in 1995 as a Senior Supervisor within the Exploration and Production Division. Her golden years were spent travelling the world, playing the piano, attending the Houston Symphony and Rice University concerts, baking her famous apple turnovers, putting together amazing photo albums as gifts and sharing her terrific stories with everyone around. She was preceded in death by her parents, Francis & Nelda Flynn, her husband Dr. Rudolph R. Schwarzer in 1993 and her only daughter Cynthia Anne Schwarzer Buznego in 2015. Dr. Schwarzer led an inspiring and accomplished life and was a true joy and blessing to know and spend time with. She will be missed greatly by relatives, colleagues, and many friends and neighbors.