Thomas J. Schwab (1927 - 2020)

7 entries | 1 photo
  • "Lois- I send love,prayer, and personal sadness in learning..."
  • "Dear Lois - I was so saddened to hear of Tom's passing...."
    - K.C. Conlan
  • "Dear Lois - I was so saddened to hear of Tom's passing...."
    - K.C. Conlan
  • "We have lost a true friend and fellow musician. We were so..."
    - Nola Kulig
  • "Dear Lois and family my deepest condolences for the passing..."
    - Betsy Abel Singer
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Service Information
Ascher Zimmerman Funeral Home, Inc.
44 Sumner Avenue
Springfield, MA

Thomas J. Schwab, a noted attorney, compassionate civic leader, and gifted musician, passed away on January 14th at his home in Loomis Village in South Hadley due to chronic kidney failure. Tom lived much of his life in the Washington, D.C. area, where he was a successful corporate lawyer and active member of the community. In 1984, after retiring from his full-time legal practice, he moved from Bethesda, Md., to Holyoke with his wife, Lois (Abrams), who was born and raised in Holyoke, to pursue his interest in community service and music. For the next 35 years, Tom was a fixture in the local community, using his legal background to volunteer his help to a wide variety of civic organizations, notably Neuva Esperanza, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Holyoke Reach Out and Read, Providence Ministries, and the Holyoke Public Library, which he helped guide to its major renovation. In addition, Tom was an accomplished musician and a long-time member of a number of performing groups, including the Holyoke Civic Symphony and the Pioneer Valley Cappella. His many contributions to the community were officially recognized in 2006 when he was awarded the Human Relations Award by the Greater Holyoke Council for Human Understanding. Tom, an energetic figure with sparkling blue eyes, was known for his extremely wide circle of friends, colleagues, fellow musicians, and admirers, as well as his devotion to his extended family, beginning with his 63-year marriage to Lois. First in Washington, and later in western Massachusetts, he was someone who was sought out for his wise counsel on complex business and legal matters; for his deep commitment to social justice and helping others in need; and for his mastery of the violin and the viola and his joy of singing, which formed the foundation of his lifelong passion for music. Tom was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 3, 1927, and attended the city's Walnut Hills High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in July of 1945 and served on the battleship USS Iowa. He attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a master's degree in economics from the University of Chicago. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1953 and was a teaching fellow for a year. He then served as a motions clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia before embarking on a career in law in the nation's capital. In 1984, he retired as managing partner from the law firm of Wald, Harkrader & Ross. He leaves his wife, Lois, and three children and their spouses: David Schwab and his wife Carla Cantor of Maplewood, N.J.; Dr. Jonathan Schwab and his wife Cheryl McNeill Schwab of Northampton; Liv (Schwab) Nash and her husband Michael Nash of Needham, Mass.; and six grandchildren: Danielle and Michael Schwab; Zachary and Alec Schwab; and Ethan and Ellie Nash. He also leaves his brother-in-law Dr. Robert Abrams and his wife, Frances, of South Hadley, and many nieces and nephews. He is pre-deceased by his brother, Edgard; his sister-in-law Estelle (Cookie) Abrams; and his sister-in-law Frances Radovsky and her husband Milton. There will be a private family graveside ceremony. A celebration of his life and music is planned for the spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to the Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke, Mass., 01040. The Ascher-Zimmerman Funeral Home is assisting the family.


Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Jan. 16, 2020
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