Deacon Stephen Douglas Schwartz, M.D., who served the Diocese of Sacramento for more than 19 years, died peacefully at home in Chico surrounded by his family on April 27. He was 81.
A vigil for Deacon Schwartz will be held on Sunday, May 8 at St. John the Baptist Church, located at 435 Chestnut St. in Chico. Visitation will be at 6:30 p.m. and the vigil will follow at 7 p.m.
Bishop Jaime Soto will preside at the funeral Mass on Monday, May 9, at 12 p.m. in St. John the Baptist Church. The rite of committal will follow the Mass at Glen Oaks Memorial Park, located at 11115 Midway in Chico.
Deacon Schwartz, a native of Pasadena, California, was the eldest son of Walter and Janet (Kuhn) Schwartz. He married his high school sweetheart, Katharyn (Whitlatch), on Jan. 29, 1960 at St. Elizabeth Church in Altadena. Earlier this year they celebrated 62 years of a joy-filled marriage.
He graduated from St. Francis High School in La Canada in 1958. He loved track and had the third fastest time in the country in the 440-yard dash event (48.3 seconds) during his senior year. He attended the University of Notre Dame on a track scholarship and graduated in 1962.
In 1966, he graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine and did a one-year rotating internship at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center and a three-year residency in dermatology at the same institution.
From 1970 to 1972, he served as the staff dermatologist at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc. In July 1972, he and his family moved to Chico. There he joined his friend and fellow resident, Dr. Don Richey, with whom he practiced medicine until 2000.
In Chico, Steve and Katie “raised their family and grew deep friendships and community ties,” said one of his daughters, Theresa Carrio. Steve “had many interests he enjoyed over the years, which included flying, hiking, golfing, going on bird watching trips and traveling with friends. Attending weekly Bible study and family camp at Buck’s Lake were places where he strengthened his relationship with God and friends. Loving relationships with his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends added richness to his life.”
Serving God brought her dad great joy, Theresa noted. He was called to ministry and ordained to the permanent diaconate by Bishop William K. Weigand in 1996. He served St. John the Baptist Parish in many capacities, as well as on the board of Northern Valley Catholic Social Service. “Doing God’s work through his ministries brought him great delight,” Theresa added.
He is survived by his wife, Katharyn; sons Michael (Felicia) of Austin, Texas, Paul (Kim) of Mount Shasta and Tom (Karen) of Chico; and daughters Theresa (Mike) and Gwynne of Chico; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Brian (Anne Marie) of Arkansas and sister Myra (Jim) of Kansas.