Adelphian Seal Adelphian Academy Alumni Scrapbook
1905 - 1987 "Where Education is Life"       

Dr. Richard W. Schwarz
(1925 - 2013)

Richard Schwarz

Life Sketch for Dr. Richard W. Schwarz

Richard William Schwarz was born on September 11, 1925 near Wataga, Illinois. His father, George W. Schwarz, a farmer and WWI veteran, and mother, Mildred Imschweiler Schwarz, a nurse at Hinsdale Sanitarium, were first-generation Adventists, and in 1936 at eleven, Dick was baptized into the SDA Church. Between 1931 and 1938, Dick and his cousin Dale attended a country school with one teacher, a dozen pupils, an outhouse, and a meager library, nearly all of whose books Dick read while completing eight grades in seven years. He finished ninth grade by correspondence while living with his aunt and uncle in Galesburg.

But in 1939 he went to Broadview Academy in La Grange, Illinois, working his way through school as a janitor and third floor dormitory monitor. After receiving his diploma in May of 1942, Dick attended Emmanuel Missionary College for a year, where, as a member of the custodial staff, he rose at 5:30 a.m. to turn on the registers to heat the academy classrooms and rang the old Battle Creek College bell in South Hall. In the midst of WWII, he returned to the family farm in Illinois and received an Agricultural Deferment from the U.S. Government.

But growing weary of farming, in June of 1944 Dick and his cousin Dale took the train to the Great Lakes Naval Station northwest of Chicago for basic military training, after which he was dispatched to Madison, Wisconsin to become a radioman. Upset with his refusal to train or work on Sabbath, however, the navy sent him to San Francisco for general sea duty.  There Seaman First Class Schwarz found himself working in the Fleet Post Office for a Jewish supervisor who gave him Sabbaths off and allowed him to live in civilian housing. In 1945 Mailman Third Class Schwarz was shipped off to the Philippines, serving in the Fleet Post Office in Samar and then Leyte for ten months until the war ended. Honorably discharged at San Francisco in 1946, Dick took the train home to Illinois. Three weeks after his arrival, he accompanied his mother to the hospital for surgery; days later on the way home, however, she died in her son's arms in the family car.

Heartbroken, Dick returned to EMC in the fall of 1946 to pursue a major in history with minors in business, education, and English. He joined the Teachers of Tomorrow Club and became a member of the exclusive "6:49 Club," a protest movement against the cafeteria's early breakfast schedule. As vice-president, it was Dick's responsibility to waken the other eight members of the club in time to make the last-minute dash from Burman Hall to Birch Hall before the dining room closed its doors at 6:50 a.m. As he daily awakened Carl Jorgensen and Ray Hoffmann, Dick became attracted to a photo of Joyce Anderson sitting on a dresser. When Joyce and her boyfriend broke up, Dick asked her if she would go out with him. During one date to a Chinese restaurant in South Bend, Dick and Joyce—unchaperoned—ran into women's dean Miss Christman and Miss Ambs. Nonplussed, they stopped to chat with the two women; when the couple left the restaurant, Miss Christman had a broad grin on her face and a twinkle in her eye, for she knew that Joyce haled from Minnesota "where all the women are strong" and can keep their sailors in line!

Following graduation from EMC in June of 1949, Dick returned to Broadview Academy, where for four years he taught history and general business courses while serving as librarian and registrar and working on a master's degree in library science at the University of Illinois. On June 11, 1950, he married his college sweetheart, Joyce Frances Anderson, of Minneapolis. Two years later their first bundle of joy, Constance Kay Schwarz, was born on August 30, 1952. In 1953 they accepted a call to Adelphian Academy near Holly, Michigan, where Dick taught government, history, and economics while serving as assistant librarian. Here their second bundle of joy—Richard Paul Schwarz—was born on March 18, 1955. During his two years at Adelphian, Dick completed his Master of Science Degree in Library Science (1953) and also did a stint as assistant librarian at the Minneapolis Public Library in the summer of 1954.

In 1955 the growing family moved to Berrien Springs where Dick began a distinguished career of 35 years of service to EMC and Andrews University. During his first year here he was assistant librarian ('55-'56), then acting librarian for two more years ('56-'58). Granted the rank of Instructor in 1955, he taught a few history and economics courses. After 1958, however, Dick taught full time in the History Department while in the '60s Joyce taught art at the Village SDA School. During those years he taught undergraduate courses in Western Civilization, Principles of Sociology, Russian History, Modern U.S. History, British Empire and Commonwealth, Seventh-day Adventist History, School Library Administration, and the first Black History course ever offered at Andrews University. He also taught graduate courses in Historical Methods and Research and Great Historians (a history of historical writing). In 1959 he earned the Master of Arts Degree in History (with a minor in Sociology) at the University of Michigan and was advanced in rank to Assistant Professor of History. Then on April 8, 1962, Dick and Joyce's third bundle of joy—Dwight Luther Schwarz—was born. Two years later, Dick completed his Ph.D. Degree in History with Professor Sidney Fine at the University of Michigan; his dissertation was entitled "John Harvey Kellogg, American Health Reformer."

After Dr. E. K. Vande Vere's return to full time teaching in 1966, Dick became Department Chair, a position he would hold for the next eleven years. During the '60s he co-directed with Dr. Merlene OLgden two highly popular three-month study tours of Europe. In 1968 he was advanced to Professor of History and two years later, his revised dissertation was published by Southern Publishing Association as John Harvey Kellogg, M.D.   Dr. Schwarz's vast research, his college teaching experience in Adventist history, and his significant biography on Kellogg (which nearly half a century later is still the definitive work on the doctor's career), made him the logical choice when the General Conference Education Department needed someone to write a denominational history textbook for a college-level course. With Don McAdams as chair of the Department beginning in 1974, Dr. Schwarz chose Brian Strayer, a recent M.A. in History graduate, as his research assistant to help him complete this enormous project. In 1979 it was published by the Review and Herald press as Light Bearers to the Remant.

In the meantime, however, Dr. Schwarz had been chosen as Vice-President for Academic Administration in 1977. During the next ten years, his administrative responsibilities would take him to Africa, Mexico, and the Caribbean numerous times as he consulted with various educational institutions affiliated with Andrews University. During the summers, he taught workshops and maintained a rigorous scholarly and publication schedule. In 1987 at age 62, he resigned as academic vice-president and returned to full time teaching in the History and Political Science Department until his retirement in 1990.

As an outstanding scholar in the field of Seventh-day Adventist History, Professor Schwarz published dozens of articles and book reviews in such journals as Spectrum, The Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Adventist Heritage, Andrews University Seminary Studies, The Library Journal, The Journal of True Education, and the Dictionary of American Biography. He also presented scholarly and professional papers at the Michigan Academy of Science, the Historical Society of Michigan, and the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Historians conferences. He held active memberships in the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Historians, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta, and Phi Kappa Phi. His name and contributions appear in such publications as Who's Who in America, the Directory of American Scholars, Contemporary Authors, Who's Who Among Authors and Journalists, the Dictionary of International Biography, and the International Authors' and Writers' Who's Who.

In addition to his teaching, administrative, and scholarly contributions, however, Dr. Schwarz dedicated his life to service in many areas. He served as an editor and contributor to  the book Adventism in America (1986) and was a frequently consulted resource person for both the Kellogg Museum in Battle Creek, Michigan and the Ellen G. White Estate at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland. For many years he served as a consulting editor for the Adventist Heritage Magazine and for five years (1967-1972) as editor of the newsletter for SDA historians. Widely known in the Michiana area, Dr. Schwarz was greatly in demand as a public speaker at Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, Exchange, and City clubs as well as a member of the Dowagiac Human Relations Council. For decades he also served as a deacon, Sabbath school superintendent, and Seminary Sabbath School teacher at Pioneer Memorial Church where the family had their membership. In his spare time, he enjoyed gardening, traveling across America with his family, and reading.

In 1990, after forty-one years of denominational service, Dr. Schwarz retired from active teaching. In addition to cultivating his large garden on the university campus and with Joyce's help keeping the grounds at their home on 229 North Maplewood Drive immaculate, he volunteered his time as Reference Librarian at the Berrien Springs Community Library. Then to escape the harsh Michigan winters, in 1994 Dick and Joyce moved south to Hendersonville, North Carolina where they eventually settled into Fletcher Park Villas, a retirement community near Fletcher Academy. During the next thirteen years, Dick served as an elder in the Fletcher Seventh-day Adventist Church; he sat on the Board of the Hendersonville Rescue Mission; and he joined the Hendersonville Christian Business Men's Club.

But in May 2007, with the infirmities of age catching up with them, Dick and Joyce accepted the invitation of their son Dwight and his wife Launnies to share their home in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Here they enjoyed much-needed rest, delicious food, loving care, and warm Christian fellowship with many Adventist friends at the Kailua Seventh-day Adventist Church over the next six years until Dick passed away at eighty-seven on May 16, 2013. After cremation, a memorial service was held on June 15 at the Kailua Seventh-day Adventist Church. Three days later, on June 18, the ashes of Navy Seaman Schwarz were interred with full military honors in the Punch Bowl National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. Although he did not hear the plaintive notes of the bugle on that occasion, someday soon he will be awakened by the trumpet blast of angels summoning him to meet his Savior and go home to heaven with Him for all eternity.

Awaiting that glorious resurrection day are Dick's wife of sixty-three years, Joyce Schwarz, of Kaneohe, Hawaii; Dick's daughter Connie and her husband Roger Smith of Eau Claire, Michigan, with their daughter Kimberly and her husband James Shumaker of Greeneville, Tennessee, with their son Oliver; Dick's son Richard Schwarz of Ooltewah, Tennessee, with his son Rick Schwarz II and his wife Stephanie of Visalia, California, and Richard's daughter Chantel and her husband Jared Litchfield of Portland, Tennessee, with their daughter Lyla and son Jacob; and Dick's son Dwight Schwarz and his wife Launnies of Kaneohe, Hawaii, and their son Scott and daughter Caitlin of Collegedale, Tennessee.

Brian E. Strayer, Ph.D.
History & Political Science Department
Andrews University
Memorial Service, PMC (July 27, 2013)

Bookmark and Share