By Cherie Karo Schwartz, his loving wife
My husband, Larry Schwartz, was just Larry to most everyone who knew him, yet he was really Dr. Lawrence Schwartz: MIT- and UCLA-educated aerospace engineer, chief scientist and Top Fellow at Hughes and Raytheon for 43 years.
Larry’s salient attribute, beyond his genius and magnificent mind, was his gentle sense of humor filled with puns. Blessed with a kind heart, Larry had always been a quiet man until the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in 2006 gave him the gift of gab. He loved finding out about others’ lives, and he had seven strong personal stories of survival and strength that he loved regaling anyone and everyone with, usually in a running dialogue.
One of Larry’s loves was supporting the arts in all forms: liberal, Jewish and educational causes, and organizations for social justice. Always creative, he designed my wedding dress per our shared vision of it, my engagement ring, our wedding invitation, and our entire home. He even made some of the furnishings.
Larry also was an outstanding artist who, after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, contributed several drawings to the Alzheimer’s Association Memories in the Making (MIM) arts gala, which he attended for several years, helping to raise funds for the Association. He watched with pride as two families got into a bidding war for one of his standalone pieces, “Pigasus,” in the silent auction. He offered commentary and got to talk with the winners. He was flying with joy.
Larry derived great happiness from the dual support groups, poetry, croquet, befriending some special people, and being on the advisory board for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Early Stages Fall Forum. He loved working under the guidance of Alzheimer’s staff members Vicky, Ken and Sharon. One of his proudest moments came as he was chosen to address the crowd at the Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s. He spoke beautifully before thousands of people.
Larry lived with Alzheimer’s for more than nine years, doing big jigsaw puzzles, playing games, dancing, singing, and loving life. Sadly and tragically, his life ended too soon. Until the end, he still knew those he loved and who loved him, and was as kind and sweet as he had always been throughout his life. He died very peacefully on Nov. 22, 2015. His memory is a blessing, and his stories live on in those he loved.
In Larry’s memory, I am proud to underwrite the Early Stages programming of the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado for the coming year through the Larry Schwartz Remembrance Fund. These were interactive programs that Larry loved dearly, and supporting them for other families living with Alzheimer’s is a fitting way to honor his memory.