|September 10, 2008|
College mourns loss of Professor Swartz
Professor Charles D. Swartz
The College is mourning the loss of Charles Dana Swartz, the Frank and Marie Louise Bailey Professor of Physics Emeritus. He died on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008. He was 93.
He taught at Union from 1956 until his retirement in 1979.
He lived a long, full life that encompassed a wide range of interests and rich experiences. The youngest of five brothers, he was born in Baltimore, Md., in 1915 to Charles and Elizabeth Swartz. He remained in Baltimore through his education at Johns Hopkins University, earning a Ph.D. in physics in 1943. He worked on the Manhattan Project before embarking on a long career in academia.
He married Katherine Hunt Swartz in 1949. After beginning a family in Baltimore, they moved in 1956 to Schenectady and Union College. His tenure was punctuated by sabbaticals at Ankara University (Turkey), Oxford University (England) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. He also taught summer courses to science teachers in India in 1965 and 1968.
The child of a geology professor, he developed at an early age the curiosity and careful observation he would always rely on and encourage in others. He was a lifelong learner, largely self-taught in photography, botany, gardening, sailing, investing and many other fields. He could make or fix most anything he set out to do. He was a voracious reader. Coupled with a liberal education and extensive travel in the United States and internationally, he could speak with authority on many topics. He was a formidable foe in any game that involved words.
Three years into their marriage, Kay contracted polio. Undaunted by her resulting disability, the couple developed into a resilient and self-sufficient team, allowing them to maintain their active, independent, adventurous lifestyle. They raised three children, traveled internationally and vacationed every summer at their beloved, rustic family camp on Kinneho Island, N.H. Their shared life was an inspiring example right up until Kay’s death in 2007.
Charlie and Kay remained devoted to their broad community of friends in the Schenectady area. In 2001, they were among the first residents of the Glen Eddy retirement community in Niskayuna. This provided an independent yet supportive base for their final years.
Survivors include three children, Timothy (Merry Shernock) of Northfield Falls, Vt.; Douglas (Karen Spencer) of Fort Collins, Colo.; and Christina (Mike O'Brien) of Boise, Idaho.
A memorial service is set for Saturday, Sept. 20, at 2 p.m. in Memorial Chapel.
Memorial contributions may be made to American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St, Philadelphia, Pa. 19102; or Planned Parenthood, 1040 State St., Schenectady, N.Y. 12305.