Patricia "Patty" Bliss Schwartz lived a long and joyful life, filled with an abundance of love, laughter and friendship. It all began in Freeport, NY, where Patty was a student leader, a baton twirler, a thespian, a competitive public speaker and a master of the flute (including two appearances in the Macy's Day Parade). She graduated from Cortland State (NY) Teachers College (where she was the drum majorette) and went on to teach in the elementary school she had attended. Soon after, she met the love of her life, Alvin "Alvy" Schwartz, at the Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale during spring break. They married on Long Island in 1958, had their first child (Kathy), and bought a home and veterinary practice in Exeter, NH.
Three more children followed soon after (Carl, Laura and Heidi), yet Patty remained very active in the community; she had lead roles in several productions with "The Exeter Players," taught flag twirling at the Exeter Recreation Center, was a member of the Junior Women's Club, was active at Christ Church in Exeter and served as senior warden at St. Andrew's-by-the-Sea in Rye. Having discovered an affinity for counseling adolescents, she became involved with a seacoast family mediation program that helped troubled teens avoid the court system. She also served on the board of Seacoast Mental Health for nearly a decade. Empty nesting did not agree with her, so she returned to school in her fifties for a master's degree in social work at UNH. Continuing her work with young adults, she joined the counseling department at Phillips Exeter Academy. There, she launched the Student Listeners program -- a peer-to-peer
support system -- that continues to this day.
Patty was the proverbial life of the party and her kitchen was always open with a hearty meal and an empathetic ear. Stuffed shells, a stiff manhattan, an infectious cackle, and a witty retort were her hallmarks. Every July 4th, you could catch her on Wallis Sands Beach for her annual fire baton show, a much-anticipated spectacle that continued into her 70s! It brought joy, and a touch of fear, to many.
Aside from her beloved Alvy (who passed in 2008), nothing gave her more joy than spending time with her nine grandchildren: Kayla Czajkowski; Taylor, Spencer, and Liza Schwartz; Charlie and Georgie Venci; Jack, Carly, and Eli Brotman. In addition to her grandchildren, she is survived by daughter Kathy/Kate Schwartz of Exeter, son Carl (Whitney) Schwartz of Rye, daughter Laura Schwartz (George Venci) of Stratham, and daughter Heidi (Ken) Brotman of Chevy Chase, MD.
A celebration of life will take place on Sunday, September 15th, at 1pm at St. Andrew's-by-the-Sea Chapel, 30 Church Road in Rye Beach, NH.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Seacoast Mental Health in memory of Patty Schwartz.
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