John E. Schwarz, age 93 passed away on Saturday, August 15th, 2009, at the Eastern Montana Veterans Home in Glendive.
John was the eldest son of three children born to Herman and Sarah (Remington) Schwarz, born in Axtell, MT on April 7, 1916.
John was born premature and his mother kept him in a shoebox at her homestead. Herman and Sarah combined their homesteads into one north of Lindsay, MT. John attended country school and then high school in Glendive where he participated in football and track.
After graduating high school with the class of 1935, he went on to college at MSU Bozeman where he earned a BA in applied art. He boxed for MSU and beat a third ranked middleweight. He gave up boxing after college, as he put it, "cause I didn’t want to get my brains scrambled."
World War II broke out and John was inducted into the army. While being trained as a combat engineer, he received orders for OCS, graduated, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. Before leaving overseas he married Shirley Downs, January 11, 1943, at Fort Snelling in Minnesota.
John was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts, England, where he was put in charge of the photography lab. He took as much 16mm movie film as he could afford with him to England. He documented the war from the eyes of the 100th Bomb Group flying combat missions and providing a unique perspective of air combat over Europe. Much of the footage seen in documentaries and movies involving B17s was taken by John. He was very proud of his service and it was a big part of his life until the very end. The yearly 100th Bomb Group reunion was a must-do on his agenda.
After the war, John and Shirley settled in Terry, MT. Initially working for Buffalo Rapids Project, he bought a farm unit just outside of Terry and farmed until 1970. He took up the auto repair business until retiring. Unfortunately, Shirley died of cancer in 1973.
John met the second love of his life, Ruth (Johnson) Hathaway and they were married on September 20, 1975. They made their home in Highland Park, Glendive, MT, until his admission into the Veterans Nursing Home.
John had three passions in life. He loved to build rifles, shoot them, and hunt. He was an excellent marksman and took an antelope at 310 paces with his .44 S&W magnum. He also loved photography and spent hours getting the "right look" or copying photographs to donate to the 100th Bomb Group Museum in Thorpe Abbotts, England. His third passion was "rockhounding," hunting agates, and making many trips to mine for sapphires, garnets, or other precious stones.
John is survived by his loving wife of 34 years Ruth of Glendive; his sons David Schwarz (Deb) of Terry and Richard Schwarz (Jay) of Manhattan, NY, and daughter Diane Ehman (Tim) of Mildred, MT; grandchildren Jodie (Schwarz) Dugan (Bryan) of Belgrade, MT, Tim Schwarz of Soda Springs, ID, Erin (Ehman) Corry (Michael) of Spokane, WA, Elissa (Schwarz) McMorris (Steve) of Fallon, NV; Tracey (Ehman) Peterson (Grant) of Miles City, MT; and great grandchildren Ryan Dugan, Davon Dugan, Adara Dugan, and Reegan Corry; he is also survived by his two sisters, Gladys Haapala of Billings, MT and Angeline Blackstone of Fishtail, MT; numerous nieces and nephews.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at: www.silvernale-silhafuneralhome.com