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Harold M. ‘Hal’ Schwartz, 93, of Sheffield

The family is in the process of planning Hal’s celebration of life and will be announcing details soon.

Harold M. “Hal” Schwartz, lover of life, passed away peacefully in his sleep June 22, at the age of 93, surrounded in his final days by the love and embrace of family and friends. A world traveler, a grand daydreamer and doer, an artist and appreciator of great art, a jubilant force of warmth and positivity, and a generous spirit who lived as intensely as he loved, he was loved and adored right back.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1930 to Anne Phillips and Ed Schwartz, he was the second of three siblings, a little brother to Roberta Ackerman (1926–2020) and a big brother to Stuart Schwartz.

Harold M. “Hal” Schwartz.

Hal fell in love with everything about the world, and his greatest love language was to find a captive audience with which to share it. His first great audience was his brother Stuart, who calls Hal “a gateway to the world”—through which he taught Stuart games in the room they shared, showed him how to grow up, and introduced him to art, music, and travel.

Hal’s passion for travel was sparked by early trips across the U.S. on sleeper trains, with every detail crisply preserved in his memory. At 18, he and two cousins took a transformative trip to Europe, arriving by boat and biking across the continent as three bright-eyed students just three years after the end of World War II, shortly before he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree at New York University (NYU) and served in the Korean War.

In 1955, Hal married Judy Shapiro, and while eagerly discovering the world together, they raised two beloved children, Jill and Jonathan—Hal’s next great audience for travel, culture, and art. He encouraged his children to be big dreamers and to find joy in their lives, and he served as their main mentor, confidant, and shoulder for support.

Hal was a creative ahead of his time, the life of any party, whose love poured out in the form of eccentrically themed costume parties and decorative birthday extravaganzas. He took over the family trade as a printer, but just like with anything in Hal’s life, he added his own uniquely Hal-colored dose of joy and whimsy, transforming the company offerings with his keen eye for graphic design. He was also a brilliant photographer on a quest to capture the essence of any scene, everywhere he went, regardless of how many poses and adjustments it might trouble his subjects to take. In the end, his photography catalog was his proudest creative project.

Hal later met Doris Cadoux, a kind, curious, industrious spirit to match his, and for 30 years, they explored together, from the forests of Tanzania with Jane Goodall to a Semester at Sea with Desmond Tutu. Through it, and through Doris, Hal found philanthropy and nonprofit work, serving passionately on the boards of the Jane Goodall Institute and Free The Children.

In the 1990s, Hal became a proud, present, and adoring grandfather to Wyatt and Cooper, and together they shared many great adventures to Martha’s Vineyard, California, Disney World, and beyond, always with an ebullience and sense of humor, bits, spontaneous dancing, and humming lyrics he couldn’t quite remember.

Hal was an infectious spirit, survived by a tsunami of adorers, including his children, Jill (Steve Thompson) and Jonathan; his brother Stuart (Roberta); his grandchildren, Wyatt and Cooper Ronan; his nephew Jim Ackerman (Nina); his nieces, Jessica, Maryam, Juliet, and Leah; and so many more.

Born in the shadow of one world war and on the heels of another, amidst a sea of tailors, printers, doctors, and lawyers, Hal became an artist, and in so doing, he paved a path that has led an army of creatives to march behind him.

Hal loved to chase and relive his brushes with celebrities (and there were many), and in his nearly 94 years on this Earth, that childlike wonderment was a spark that never left his eyes. He will be missed impossibly, and his verve for living will be his family’s greatest inheritance.

The family is in the process of planning Hal’s celebration of life and will be announcing details soon. In lieu of flowers, friends and loved ones are encouraged to contribute to the Jane Goodall Institute or another charity of your choice. Condolences may be made through the website of Birches-Roy Funeral Home.


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Karen A. Beckwith, 77, of Great Barrington

A graveside service will take place at St. Bridget's Cemetery in Housatonic on Monday, July 29, 2024, at 12 p.m.

Pauline Marie Montgomery, 86, of Housatonic

Cremation has taken place, and the family will announce a burial at a later date. Pauline will be interred in Greenlawn Cemetery along with her poodle, Molly.

Rodney H. Christman, 79, of Sheffield

In keeping with Rodney’s wishes, all services are private.

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.