93, passed away January 25, 2023, at his earthly home in Batesville, IN.
Al believed in GOD, JESUS, and the HOLY SPIRIT. He understood and accepted the Scripture:
“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3:2).
Al was born February 4, 1929 to Albert Frederick Schwartz, Sr. and Elizabeth Prietzsch Schwartz, in Pittsburgh, PA. Throughout his life, Al honored his parents.
On August 30, 1957, Al married Barbara Ruth Fife, the love of his life, at Bethel Presbyterian Church, in Bethel Park, PA. They were married for 63 years. They renewed their vows in 1982 at the Batesville United Methodist Church, Batesville, IN, on their 25th Anniversary.
Al had four children, who thank GOD for blessing them with him as their Dad. He was a great provider, someone to look up to who taught them right from wrong, and a hero to them all: Albert III, Philip Fife, Kenneth Karl (Brenda nee Childs); Barbara Bennett (Rick). He had three grandchildren Christopher Schwartz, Henry Schwartz, Norman Schwartz, and a great-granddaughter, Kiley Oliver.
Barb, Al’s beloved wife, passed away in 2021. His grandson Jacob Isaac Fife Schwartz passed away in 2012. He was also preceded in death by his Dad in 2002, his Mom in 1978, and his brother, Donald Richard Schwartz, a noted professional artist who specialized in animal portraiture, in 2010.
Al loved his family very much, both immediate and his extended family of aunts and uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. He enjoyed getting together with family: eating great meals, playing games, story-telling, and singing.
Al grew up in Upper St. Clair township, located in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh. He was an energetic youth and a natural athlete. He played football and basketball, among other sports, excelling at Track & Field.
At a young age, Al trained at the bakery his great-grandmother, Gertrude, owned and operated in Carrick, PA., mentored by his Uncle, Dick Prietzsch, a notable cake and pastry maker. Al remembers being taught how to make bread.
He attended Clifton school in Upper St. Clair, PA and later Mt. Lebanon High School in Mt. Lebanon, PA, where he threw the discus and set a javelin record as a member of the Track & Field team. He graduated from Kiski Preparatory School, class of 1948, participating in Track & Field as a runner and throwing the javelin, setting a record in that event that held for 33 years.
In the 1940s, his family moved to Pasadena, CA. Their home was on the Rose Parade route where they had a front-row seat annually. He attended Pasadena Junior College in Pasadena, CA where he played football as number 39, one of the “Bullpup Lettermen.”
Al enlisted in the Army in 1950, serving for three years, including tours in Korea and Japan during the Korean War. He was part of the intelligence corps, which focused on cryptography and code breaking. He would never be able to reveal what he knew, even so many years after the War, unless given permission by the government. And, being a person of integrity and honor, he was true to his commitment.
Among his memories from his war-time experience was Al’s return to the United States, a memory which he related often. In September of 1953 he returned on the Marine Adder, a ship which brought back the first American POWs from Korea. He remembered the powerful emotion he felt when the ship pulled into San Francisco Bay: the Golden Gate Bridge, the dolphins swimming by the ship, and the other vessels in the Bay spouting water as a tribute to the returning service people. He said it was a very moving moment to be returning to his country and its freedom.
For his service, Al received three bronze service stars and a UN service medal with 2 O/S bars.
Al was honorably discharged from the Army and, after his service, attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Among his frat brothers at that time were Jack Kemp (former Buffalo Bills quarterback and candidate for Vice-President of the United States during the 1996 election) and Jim Mora (one-time Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts).
While at Occidental, Al lettered in varsity Track & Field. He specialized in the javelin. He trained under head coach, Payton Jordan, who later was the head coach of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Track & Field team.
A born competitor, to Al sports and games were events. As games progressed, he would often state “this is for the World Championship!” whether it was putting, shooting hoops, playing Monopoly, chess, backgammon, cards, cribbage, or any sport or game. The pressure was on!
While living in Pittsburgh, Al worked for Burroughs, Remington Rand, and Westinghouse Credit Corporation, as a Systems Analyst. He attended Robert Morris Business College and the University of Pittsburgh at night to further his education.
In 1972, Al and family moved to Batesville, IN, where he worked for Heritage Acceptance Corp., a part of the Hillenbrand family of businesses. He later worked for Batesville Casket Company (BCC) as a Systems Analyst in the company’s Information Technology department. He retired from BCC in 1995. However, he was asked to return as an IT consultant, a role he played for the next several years.
After Al retired from the business world, he got to spend more time playing the one sport he seemed to enjoy more than any other: golf. He would golf rain or shine. As a member of Hillcrest Golf & Country Club he could often be seen putting on the practice green by the clubhouse even after having completed 18 holes, always wanting to improve his game. He played in many tournaments and won numerous trophies. He made three holes-in-one: the first in 1994, the second in 2008 and the last in 2012 when he was 83. He played into his 90’s making numerous friends and acquaintances through the years. Toward the end of his playing days, at an end-of-season banquet, as a tribute to him, each person at the banquet presented Al with a golf ball. He was very moved by the tribute and cherished the memory.
A patriot, Al was the kind of citizen who sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and pledged allegiance to the flag. He made trips to Gettysburg, PA and was humbled by the history and stories of bravery during the battle to preserve the Union.
He was a fan of aviation and remembered the excitement of attending the Dayton Air Show and seeing the incredible maneuvers of the performers.
He also enjoyed many annual trips to Holmes County, OH to Amish country. He admired the craftsmanship of the Amish. Al and Barb bought tables, chairs, and other pieces they enjoyed having in their home. He also really enjoyed the food, the peace and quiet, and the scenery of the Amish countryside, of which he took many pictures.
Al was a member of the Batesville United Methodist Church. During his membership there he taught Adult Bible classes, served on the Pastor-Parrish Relations Committee, played as part of the Hand-bell Choir, and assisted at the annual Turkey Supper. He enjoyed studying the book of Revelation in the Bible and reading about end-times prophecy.
In addition to his work in the business world, Al was an accomplished photographer. He took thousands of photographs and videos over the years, providing his family with many visual memories to cherish in the years to come. He was also the photographer for many weddings in both Pittsburgh and Batesville.
Al & Barb, early in their marriage, created photo Christmas cards which they sent out yearly. Those receiving the cards stated they enjoyed watching the family’s progress over the years. Al also enjoyed making cards for others.
He enjoyed music a great deal and listened to it often, his favorites being hymns (particularly “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” and those sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford), John Philip Sousa marches, and classical music. Beethoven was his favorite composer, the greatest ever, he said.
Al really enjoyed nature, taking many pictures of it over the years. He would reminisce about working for the Forrest Service while living in California in his youth. He remembered turning over a rock under which a rattlesnake was hiding, blessedly avoiding injury.
Al had a tender spot for animals. He remembered fondly the dogs his family had while he was growing up. And, later in life, he and the family cat, Emma Kate, had a great friendship for 21 years. His tender heart toward animals was in evidence when he caught a mouse scurrying through the house. Emma Kate just looked at it. Al trapped the mouse in a jar but he couldn’t bring himself to destroy it. The mouse looked as if its heart were beating out of its chest. He instead took the mouse out into the back yard and released it. The family joked that the mouse probably made its way back into such a mouse-friendly house.
In the last few years of his life, Al enjoyed keeping busy on his computer, communicating with others through e-mail and doing graphics work. He also enjoyed using his Kindles, reading Bible passages, catching up on the news, playing games, and watching movies and TV programs. He also enjoyed preparing meals for himself and had a taste for Kroger’s Vividly Vanilla ice cream and Big K grape soda.
Among Al’s accomplishments, and one of his greatest, was quitting smoking. After his beloved wife, Barb, had a massive heart attack in 2019, their children discussed with him their concern about Mom returning home if Dad were to continue smoking. Out of his love for Barb, Al quit smoking, cold-turkey, after ~78 years. He never smoked again.
Al spoke often about how he missed his beloved wife, Barb, and how he looked forward to seeing her again.
Thank you, Dad, Grandpa, Great-Grandpa, for everything. We will miss you here but we will see you there. We love you and thank GOD in all our remembrance of you (Philippians 1:3).
Family and friends will be received on Wednesday, February 22, 2023 from 10 AM until 12 PM in FREYVOGEL-SLATER FUNERAL DIRECTORS, 112 Fort Couch Road, Bethel Park, (Opposite Macy’s South Hills Village) 15241, 412-835-1860. Interment to follow in Bethel Church Cemetery where military honors will be rendered. The family requests memorials to the veterans’ organization Gallant Few or to the Bethel Presbyterian Church, 2999 Bethel Church Road, Bethel Park, PA 15102.