Professor Emeritus Elias Schwartz dies

Elias Schwartz, professor emeritus of English, died on April 5, 2012.

Schwartz grew up in New York City and was attending the City College of New York when his education was interrupted by World War II. He was a radioman and gunner in the Air Force, and flew 25 missions in a B17 bomber before being shot down in 1944. He survived but was captured and kept as a POW in Germany through the remainder of the war. He received a Purple Heart.

After the war, Schwartz earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University, a master’s from the University of Chicago and a PhD in English from Stanford University. He met his future wife, Marjory Bagby, at Stanford; they married in 1953.

Schwartz taught at the University of Notre Dame for eight years before coming to Binghamton University, where he spent the remainder of his career. He published two scholarly books, The Mortal Worm: Shakespeare’s Master Theme and The Forms of Feeling. He and Marjory retired to North Carolina in 1985.

In his obituary, his family remembers him this way: “During his life and as he was dying, Elias had a beautiful and generous spirit. He was a wonderful husband for more than 58 years to his wife, Marjory, and a loving father/grandfather to his five children and 13 grandchildren. His family enjoyed the heck out of him. He was ever glad to see us and hear news of us. Elias loved Shakespeare, poetry, the novel Gilead (foremost among many others), hitting a good backhand, singing, grocery shopping, growing tomatoes, babies, good and bad jokes, his own jokes, thrift stores, Japanese maples, making salad and eating good bread. He maintained an intense interest in current events and the welfare of the nation right to the end, reminding us to send off his last of many letters to the Editor of the Chapel Hill News after he was hospitalized.”

Schwartz is survived by his wife, Marjory Schwartz; daughter Martha Wheeler; sons Peter, Paul, David and Daniel Schwartz; a sister and brother and 13 grandchildren. The family asks that donations in his memory be given to any charity addressing hunger.