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A. Michael Schwarzwalder

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A. Michael Schwarzwalder Obituary
Schwarzwalder (Alan) Michael Schwarzwalder, age 69, died June 24, 2013, at home. Michael is survived by daughter, Betsy Schwarzwalder, living in Oakland, California; daughter, Abby Schwarzwalder; son-in-law, Tim Roche; and granddaughters, Simone Roche and Lucia Roche living in Los Angeles, California; son, Sam Schwarzwalder, living in Washington, D.C.; and sister, Caroline Schwarzwalder of Newton, Massachusetts. Michael was born on October 30, 1943 in San Diego, California to Alan E. and Caroline Schwarzwalder. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he grew up. His father served as a municipal court judge for many years and instilled in Michael a deep commitment to service. Michael graduated from North High School in 1961 and The Ohio State University with a degree in political science in 1965. That same year, he and Karen Rounds married and shortly thereafter they served in the Peace Corps in Tanzania until 1967, where they taught English. This experience impacted Michael profoundly and through it he became an early "citizen of the world." He never missed an opportunity to practice his Swahili with Africans he met in the U.S. Michael and Karen moved back to the United States and in early 1968 Michael and Karen had a daughter, Betsy, and in 1970 a second daughter, Abby. Following in his father's footsteps, Michael earned a law degree from the OSU School of Law in 1970. After passing the bar exam Michael and several fellow law school students started a law firm and practiced law for several years. In 1976, at the age of 33, Michael campaigned for the 16th district Ohio State Senator seat and won. Michael served as senator for two terms and during that time earned a reputation as a left-leaning, liberal Democrat and proposed legislation to support civil and human rights. A vocal opponent of the death penalty, he served as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in his second term. Michael and Karen divorced in 1983. After losing a contentious senate race in 1984 Michael began a career in the telecommunications industry and served in high-level management and legal advisory positions. Michael married Susan Burk and moved to Chicago and then Washington, D.C. where they had a son, Sam. Michael and Susan divorced in 2002. In 2003, Michael moved back to Columbus, Ohio and worked for Mayor Michael Coleman as his Chief of Staff for a year before moving on to head the Environmental Steward Office, where he was an impassioned advocate for reuse, repurposing and recycling. Michael had many interests including human evolution, marine biology, politics and world cultures. He traveled widely throughout his life and never missed reading the daily newspaper from cover to cover each morning. He loved his children and was very proud of them, never missing an opportunity to brag about their accomplishments and personalities. Michael was very social and loved to dance and have a good time. He had many lifelong friends and particularly loved spending time at the Columbus Community Festival each year. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to The Judge Alan E. Schwarzwalder Fund in Public Service within the John Glenn Institute of OSU. A memorial service is being planned for late July 2013. Arrangements entrusted to SCHOEDINGER NORTHWEST CHAPEL. To share memories or condolences, visit www.schoedinger.com
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on June 30, 2013
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