Nature 14

Edward George Schwaegerle

April 10, 1920 ~ December 24, 2023 (age 103) 103 Years Old

Edward Schwaegerle Obituary

Edward George Schwaegerle, 103, passed away peacefully at Kendal at Oberlin Retirement Community December 24, 2023. He was born April 10, 1920 in Cincinnati, the son of George Edward and Ruth Gertrude (nee Schneller) Schwaegerle. Ed's great grandfather immigrated to Cincinnati in 1860 during the great German immigration to the US.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 74 years, Ruth Cecilia (nee Flick) Schwaegerle in 2017; brother, Paul Robert in 2021; and his sister Jean Annette Geist in 2023.

Ed leaves son, Kent Edward Schwaegerle; daughter-in-law Ruth Amy Stafford, both of San Diego, and a sister-in-law Cate Schwaegerle.

Ed came of age during the Great Depression, and the family struggled to make ends meet. Norwood Christian Church was the center of the family's social life. After graduation from Hughes High School, Ed won a $100 scholarship from Mrs. Streitmann of the Streitmann Biscuit Company which launched his studies in the Cooperative Education Program at the University of Cincinnati. Ed met Ruth Flick in 1938 through church activities, and the two dated for four years before their marriage. Ed graduated with a Chemical Engineer degree in spring 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor, and was hired by the BF Goodrich Company in Akron, Ohio and chosen to work on developing polymers for the war effort.

In 1946 Ed was reassigned to the new BF Goodrich Development Center in Avon Lake working there for the next 26 years. Settling in Elyria, Ed and Ruth enthusiastically embraced the programs of the old First Christian Church on Second Street. Indeed, Ed was elected Elder at age 28 and played a role buying property and construction of the current Washington Avenue Christian Church. The couple sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, and chaired several committees. Their son Kent was born in 1952, and the family enjoyed 32 years living on a riverfront property on East River Road, Elyria. Ed had broad interests, enjoying travel, music, gardening, bridge, genealogy, and do-it-yourself projects, including painting the house six times.

In 1972, Ed was promoted to Director of Plastics Research and Development and was moved to the company headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. Early retirement in 1976 allowed more time to develop other interests. Ed and Ruth enjoyed road trips, driving over 425,000 miles in the US, camping, sight seeing, and collecting genealogical information. In the 1980s Ed published two works: a history of the Schwaegerle family in America and an ancestry of his mother's family. Ed also served on a local development committee resulting in construction of the Kendal at Oberlin retirement community which follows the principles of the American Friends Society (Quakers). Ed and Ruth moved in at the opening in 1993 and flourished in the active life there. Over the next 30 years they graduated from independent living in a cottage, to a small apartment, to the assisted-living/nursing care facility on campus. Ed volunteered at the Oberlin College Archives for many years. Life at Kendal was further enriched when his brother Paul and wife Cate moved to Kendal at Oberlin. Throughout his life, Ed cheerfully made the most of his situation which included blindness, hearing loss, and serious back problems. He evolved from a conservative background to an expansive progressive outlook, an evolution he largely attributed to his wife Ruth.

Ed died peacefully, holding hands with his son Kent at his bedside.

A memorial service will be held at Kendal at Oberlin at a later date.

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