Lester L. Schwarz Lester L. Schwarz, a former and long-time Park Ridge resident, died peacefully at 7:45 p.m. April 14 in the Glen Oaks Nursing Home in Northbrook, IL. He was 75. Cause of death was emphysema. Mr. Schwarz had been afflicted with schizophrenia for most of his adult life and endured a variety of its disabling symptoms. For the last year and a half he was bedridden and constantly on a ventilator. "Among the highlights of his life," stated his brother, Robert R. Schwarz of Arlington Heights, "were: the astronomy telescope he constructed at the Adler Planetarium for personal use as a pre-teenager, his graduation from the University of Arkansas [he was a member of the Acacia Fraternity], and his legacy of a son [Spencer Schwarz of Escondido, California] and a daughter [Lisa Duffy of Leander, Texas]." He is also survived by his former wife, Sally (now Beasley) of Kingland, Texas, and three grandchildren, Ashley and Hannah of Escondido, and Samuel of Carrollton, Texas. Mr. Schwarz , a 100 percent disabled veteran, was a U.S. Air Force
officer candidate when his mental illness emerged. Rounds of hospitals and nursing homes followed his general discharge. "Nurses repeatedly told me," stated his brother Robert, "that my brother, despite pain and a 24-hour life of intrusive body tubes, never complained and flashed a genuine smile at them whenever they entered his room." On May 27, 2011, while in an intensive care unit at the V.A. hospital in North Chicago, Mr. Schwarz was received into full communion with the Roman Catholic church after making a solemn profession of faith. Referring to the conversion of a psychotically ill person in I.C.U., the attending chaplain, Fr. VanderHey, exclaimed, "In my twenty years as chaplain, I've only seen this twice !" In his internet blog, "Exodus Trekkers" (http://exodustrekkers.blogspot.com/
) his brother has posted Lester's life story ("Lester's Crucifix.") In it, Lester's brother writes: "For this chaplain, along with RN's, Lester's conversion, I believed, proved to be a powerful stimulus to their faith and professional callings; it was bound to strengthen their diligence and steadfastness in caring for hospitalized veterans. I knew that during the years of Lester's rehabilitative care, other physicians and caregivers had at sometime discerned the spark of God's love in Lester's eyes and , hopefully, were now mentioning that spark to family and friends." Mr. Schwarz had a profound interest in astronomy and geology, no less than his love of fishing and camping with his father and brother family in the North Woods of Wisconsin. His parents, now deceased, were Walter and Dorothy Schwarz, who raised their two children at 801 S. Chester Ave. in Park Ridge. A private memorial service will be held this Saturday. Burial of Mr. Schwarz's consecrated urn will be at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the
, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004; or the St. James St. Vincent de Paul Society, 820 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60004.