Former Philadelphia City Councilman Ed Schwartz died Nov. 29. He was 69. The cause of death is pending but is believed to have been a heart attack.
Schwartz, who was born May 4, 1943, was a civic leader and highly recognized figure in the city.
His wife, Jane Shull, is the longtime executive director for HIV/AIDS agency Philadelphia FIGHT.
Schwartz received his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and his Ph.D. in political theory from Rutgers University.
Schwartz founded community-building agency Institute for the Study of Civic Values in 1973.
Michael Marsico, Philadelphia FIGHT deputy director, worked at the Institute from 1993-98 and said Schwartz worked with every civic organization possible and was very dedicated to the institute.
“His work ethic was phenomenal and his undying passion and his ability to debate, especially for folks who were underprivileged, was his biggest strength,” Marsico said.
Marsico said Schwartz had an unrelenting care for both Philadelphia and its citizens.
“He always thought about how to effectively help those get out of poverty or lower-income status,” Marsico said. “When he would go to neighborhoods, it was about helping people get out of their situations by providing them with tools to do so and giving them training.”
Schwartz was married to Shull for 42 years and supported her work at the helm of FIGHT.
“Ed was always very supportive and he was also complimentary. In the beginning, when Philadelphia FIGHT was just getting set up, I used to ask him questions and he would give me advice, which usually worked,” she said.
Shull described Schwartz as a “radical egalitarian” and said he focused his life on building communities — with a focus on Philadelphia neighborhoods and a civil-rights agenda.
Schwartz served as an at-large member of Philadelphia City Council from 1984-87 and later as the director of the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development.
“He wanted to create a more just world,” Shull said. “He was absolutely committed to the people of Philadelphia and he worked for those convictions all of his life to make things better for people.”
In addition to Shull, Schwartz is survived by daughter Ruth Schwartz.
A memorial will be held 5 p.m. Dec. 13 at the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St. Memorial donations can be made to Public Citizens for Children and Youth at www.pccy.org.