The Tomball community gathered the week of March 15 to honor the late City Manager Rob Hauck, who died March 13 in a single-vehicle crash in Waller County, according to an obituary release from the Tomball Police Department. A memorial service was held at the Tomball ISD stadium March 19.

“As we all know, to know Rob was to love Rob,” Mayor Gretchen Fagan said in her memorial address. “From the minute you met him, there was a connection. You suddenly felt that you had a close friend. He made us all feel special, appreciated and cared for. You knew you could call him day or night, and he would be there for you. ... Tomball is a better place because of Rob.”

Hauck leaves behind his wife, Kathleen, and their three children, Lauren Hauck Andrade, Madeline Scott and Connor Scott.

“In my world, my daddy was invincible. There was no problem too big for him to solve,” Andrade said during the March 19 memorial service. “He loved big, and he loved wide. He made you feel like you were the center of his universe. ... No creature was too big or too small to feel the gravitational pull of my father.”

Hauck, age 54, served as city manager since April 2018, before which time he served as Tomball's assistant city manager from 2014-18 and chief of police from 2008-14, according to his obituary. He also served two decades in the Los Angeles Police Department.

"Rob loved this place," said Tomball Police Chief Jeffrey Bert, who served with Hauck in the LAPD, on March 15. "I'm here; my family's here because of him."

As police chief, Hauck was instrumental in creating the K-9 unit and an air support division; the police department’s gyrocopter named Michael One has worked with Harris and Montgomery counties for operations over the last 10 years, according to Tomball Police Department information. In commemoration of Hauck’s legacy, the city retired Michael One’s tail number following a flyover at the March 19 memorial service.

“He never saw the bad in people, which absolutely blew my mind. How can a man early in his career who probably saw the worst in humanity while working as a young officer in the LAPD be so positive and completely willing to help anyone when they didn’t even want to help themselves?” acting City Manager David Esquivel said March 19. “To the Tomball community, he loved you all. He loved being at community functions, and he loved just being with you.”

George Shackelford, who preceded Hauck as City Manager from 2010-18, said he pursued Hauck for assistant city manager because of Hauck’s leadership, skills and willingness to learn.

“He just kind of dove himself into all the departments and learned,” Shackelford said. “He was kind of like a sponge—he just absorbed so much, so quick. He just did a great job. ... Rob could learn anything.”

In his memorial address, Esquivel, who has served as public works director and assistant city manager under Hauck for the last six years, said each city department had a special place in Hauck’s heart—from first responders to public works. Esquivel recalled Hack’s interest in learning about wastewater treatment plants, among other city duties.

“Six years ago when I came to Tomball as a director of public works, he would come into my office and sit for hours almost every day,” Esquivel said. “Oddly enough, he wanted to know everything about the wastewater treatment plant. I often wondered ‘Why?’ ‘Why would this guy want to know so much?’”

He described Hauck as a mentor, a lover of life and “the best friend you’ve ever asked for.”

‘Community concierge’

Hauck was born in Gardena, California, and received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in management from The Johns Hopkins University, according to his obituary.

According to a resume provided by the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce as part of its Citizen of the Year nomination form, Hauck’s professional experience also includes serving in the criminal investigations division of the U.S. Army Reserve Corps., supporting new police chiefs as a mentor with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and various advisory roles with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Shortly after coming to Tomball, Hauck joined the TOMAGWA HealthCare Ministries Board of Directors in 2010, served as president from 2012-18 and remained as an emeritus director, according to TOMAGWA information.

“He was passionate about TOMAGWA’s mission and advocating on behalf of our patients and families in need right from the jump. I learned later that he could personally relate to a lot of their stories,” CEO Timika Simmons said. “His legacy is the families that we have the privilege of serving; it is the community that knows without hesitation where to send those in need. Even now Rob is sharing TOMAGWA’s mission by designating our clinic as an organization to receive memorial funds.”

Community members can donate to TOMAGWA in Hauck’s memory via the Rob Hauck Memorial Fund, according to TOMAGWA information.

“I can’t reflect enough on how much this clinic has grown and the lives changed without memories of Rob. It brings smiles to our faces, but we can’t help but to be sad about missing him,” Simmons said.

For his dedication to the community, Hauck was the chamber’s reigning Citizen of the Year, honored in 2020, chamber president Bruce Hillegeist said.

“It’s not what people do or what they say—it’s how they make you feel. And that is the key to life: how we love on and serve others,” Hillegeist said. “[Rob] was a community concierge. ... It wasn’t just a job to him.”

Personal life

Hillegeist said Hauck loved parades and animals, owning several horses, dogs, cats and chickens on his family’s property in Tomball.

“Many times we would be on a Zoom call this past year, and he would be all scruffy and come in—he had just fed all the animals. ... He loved to talk about feeding the animals and whatnot,” Hillegeist said. “All he exuded was the fact that he loved this town that became his home because of the ability to live, I think, a lifelong dream [to farm].”

In addition to his love for animals, Hauck loved his family and God, Esquivel said.

“Rob never missed an opportunity to brag of his kids,” he said. “Rob loved his church and everyone in it, and as you know, there was never any doubt that Rob loved God above everything else. ... The theme here is Rob loved life and he wanted all of us to love life like he did. He spent his day always showing us and encouraging us to live life and love each other.”

Brandon Guindon, lead pastor of Real Life Ministries in Tomball, said Hauck served on the worship team, led a small group and served with the men’s ministry as well as mentored couples along with Kathleen.

“He was an amazing father to our three adult children; not a day went by that he did not speak all three of their names and let someone know just how proud he was of each of them,” Kathleen Hauck said in her memorial address. “He was an incredible man of faith. He was a believer and a follower of his Lord and savior Jesus Christ. He loved like Jesus did and encouraged those around him to do the same, especially me.”