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Muriel Schwandt

Muriel (Rowe) Schwandt

On March 10, 2013 Muriel (Rowe) Schwandt passed away at age 94 with her daughter Rosemary by her side in Sonoma, CA. Muriel, born in Newcastle-on-Tine, England, was united in marriage on December 1, 1945 to American soldier Robert "Bob" Schwandt, U.S. Army, who was stationed in the North of England. The couple met at at a Service Club dance and dated until "D-Day," 1945 at which time Bob was deployed to Germany and France to defeat Hitler's Germany. Bob proposed to Muriel from his station in Munich, Germany, and the wedding followed shortly after. The happy couple honeymooned in London, England. The bride attended High Heaton High School and was then employed by the government in the capacity of Registrar until her marriage. After the honeymoon Bob returned to the war front while Muriel made arrangements to board an Army troop ship sailing to the United States.


Muriel remembered the war years as being a very rough and tragic time as food was sparse and the air raids and attacks frequent. She recalled going to bed and hoping to get a couple of hours of sleep before the bombs started to fall. She stated that Winston Churchill was their hero that kept them going. Yet, she also remembered those years as some of the happiest because of the wonderful spirit of the people helping each other, and, since they never knew if each day would be their last, they made the most out of every day.


Muriel said that the worst week of her life was spent in the hold of the liner to America, where she suffered seasickness and homesickness. Upon landing on the American shores Muriel made her way to Bob's hometown of East Chicago, Indiana. Upon his return from the war Bob became a switchman for the B&O railroad, riding in the train's caboose. Muriel said she was not readily accepted into postwar American society as it was thought that American soldiers should not marry foreign-born girls.


Muriel obtained a position as a bookkeeper for Walgreen's. Bob remained with the railroad until 1977 when when he was tragically struck by an automobile and killed while crossing a street just before Christmas.


Muriel and Bob had one child, Rosemary. Muriel remained in her bookkeeper position until her retirement when she and her daughter moved to Hayward to live near a sister-in-law. Rosemary then married, moving to Sonoma and Muriel followed in 1990.


Muriel loved crossword puzzles and reading. She loved walking, as well, until her heart needed more rest. Muriel stressed that her years in Sonoma, with her family around her, were the most wonderful times in her life.


Muriel is survived by her daughter Rosemary Colvig (Dan), two grandsons; Robert (Kimberly) and Bryan Colvig; seven great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.


At Muriel's request no services are planned. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers donations are encouraged to the and the Sonoma Humane Society.


Special thanks are extended to Sonoma Healthcare and Hospice staff for their wonderful caring assistance.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 24, 2013
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