2008-09-17 / Obituaries

Arnold Victor (Vic) Schwarz

Arnold Victor (Vic) Schwarz of Cold Spring, passed away on Wednesday, September 3 at Hudson Valley Hospital following a 14-year battle with cancer. He was 76 years old.

Vic was born on April 21, 1932 in Kingston, New York, to Arnold F. Schwarz and Helene Lawless Schwarz. He was raised in Newburgh and worked in his father's pharmacy in Beacon when not attending school. He graduated from Newburgh Free Academy in 1950.

Following his graduation from Pratt Institute in 1953, Vic was drafted into the Army and served in Korea as a field photographer in the Corps of Engineers. Upon returning to the United States, he was stationed in Mineral Wells, Texas. After an honorable discharge, Vic returned to the Hudson Valley where he met Linda Schuler when both were singers in the Philipstown Chorale. They married on January 4, 1959, and settled in Cold Spring, where they raised their three children.

An accomplished musician, historian, and conservationist, Vic and longtime friend Pete Seeger collaborated to realize their vision of inspiring and mobilizing people to save the Hudson River from pollution and neglect. Their combined vision brought about the creation of the sailing ship Clearwater, a replica Hudson River Sloop that continues to be used as an environmental educational tool. Their activities in support of Clearwater were the beginning of Riverfests and are acknowledged by historians and conservationists as being the birth of the environmentalist movement in the United States, as well as inspiring similar projects around the world.

Vic's interest in bookmaking and printing led to his career as a book designer and hobby of wood engraving and printing. He owned and operated Mt. Taurus Press, a working restoration of a 19th century print shop in Nelsonville, New York, for over ten years. There he created a series of Hudson River prints that became classic representations of his work as an artist and a print maker.

Vic returned to his musicianenvironmentalist roots with his active participation in the formation of the Little Stony Point Citizens' Association. This grass-roots organization of local people is dedicated to the preservation and care of Little Stony Point, one of the very few sandy beaches along the Hudson River. As president of the Association, one of his proudest achievements was pursuing and obtaining the funding necessary for the replacement of the formerly condemned bridge, which was the only access to the site. The beach is now a very popular recreation area on the Hudson River.

When Vic was diagnosed with cancer in 1994, he decided to devote his time to what made him happiest. Vic established a small business as a luthier, repairing and building acoustic stringed instruments. His business as a luthier led many musicians to his door, and Vic became an enthusiastic performer with friends, his group, Acoustic Workshop, and became a fairly regular performer at the legendary Guinan's in Garrison. As Vic's declining health curtailed many of his activities, a dedicated group of friends would often gather at Vic's house to play music with, and sometimes for, him.

Vic is survived by his wife, Linda Schuler Schwarz; his son Carl Victor Schwarz of Lake Carmel, NY and grandchildren Tyler and Elliot Schwarz; his daughter Maria Joy Schwarz Rodriguez and son-in-law Oscar Rodriguez of Blue Point, NY and grandchildren Carl, Lauren, Melanie, and Arlo Rodriguez; his daughter Julann Mae Schwarz Cobb and sonin law John Cobb of Beacon, NY and grandchildren Ethan and Miles Cobb.

Vic's life will be honored in a gathering of his many of friends and loved ones, sharing music and fond memories in his honor. Friends are invited to participate in this celebration of Vic Schwarz's life on Sunday, October 19 at 2pm at the Garrison Fish and Game Club. In honor of Vic's legacies, charitable donations may be made in his name to Little Stony Point Citizens' Association or to Clearwater, Inc. For information about the memorial celebration or making donations, go to: friendsofvic.com or call (631) 891-9701.

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