Vic Schwarz Passes Away at 76

Arnold Victor Schwarz

         Arnold Victor (Vic) Schwarz of Cold Spring, New York, passed away on Wednesday, September 3rd at Hudson Valley Hospital following a 14-year battle with cancer. He was 76 years old.

        Vic was born on April 21, 1932 in Kingston, New York, to Arnold F. Schwarz and Helene Lawless Schwarz. He was raised in Newburgh and worked in his Father’s pharmacy in Beacon when not attending school. He graduated from Newburgh Free Academy in 1950.

        Following his graduation from Pratt Institute in 1953, Vic was drafted into the Army and served in Korea as a field photographer in the Corps of Engineers. Upon returning to the United States, he was stationed in Mineral Wells, Texas. After an honorable discharge, Vic returned to the Hudson Valley where he met Linda Schuler when both were singers in the Philipstown Chorale. They married on January 4, 1959, and settled in Cold Spring, New York, where they raised their three children.

         An accomplished musician, historian, and conservationist, Vic and longtime friend Pete Seeger collaborated to realize their vision of inspiring and mobilizing people to save the Hudson River from pollution and neglect. Their combined vision brought about the creation of the sailing ship Clearwater, a replica Hudson River Sloop that continues to be used as an environmental educational tool. Their activities in support of Clearwater were the beginning of Riverfests and are acknowledged by historians and conservationists as being the birth of the environmentalist movement in the United States, as well as inspiring similar projects around the world.

         Vic’s interest in bookmaking and printing led to his career as a book designer and hobby of wood engraving and printing. He owned and operated Mt. Taurus Press, a working restoration of a 19th century print shop in Nelsonville, New York, for over ten years. There he created a series of Hudson River prints that became classic representations of his work as an artist and a print maker.

         Vic returned to his musician-environmentalist roots with his active participation in the formation of the Little Stony Point Citizen’s Association. This grass-roots organization of local people is dedicated to the preservation and care of Little Stony Point, one of the very few sandy beaches along the Hudson River. As president of the Association, one of his proudest achievements was pursuing and obtaining the funding necessary for the replacement of the formerly condemned bridge, which was the only access to the site. The beach is now a very popular recreation area on the Hudson River.

          When Vic was diagnosed with cancer in 1994, he decided to devote his time to what made him happiest. Vic established a small business as a luthier, repairing and building acoustic stringed instruments. His business as a luthier led many musicians to his door, and Vic became an enthusiastic performer with friends, his group, Acoustic Workshop, and became a fairly regular performer at the legendary Guinan’s in Garrison, New York. As Vic’s declining health curtailed many of his activities, a dedicated group of friends would often gather at Vic’s house to play music with, and sometimes for, him.

          Vic is survived by his wife, Linda Schuler Schwarz; his son Carl Victor Schwarz of Lake Carmel, NY and grandchildren Tyler and Elliot Schwarz; his daughter Maria Joy Schwarz Rodriguez and son-in-law Oscar Rodriguez of Blue Point, NY and grandchildren Carl, Lauren, Melanie, and Arlo Rodriguez; his daughter Julann Mae Schwarz Cobb and son-in-law John Cobb of Beacon, NY and grandchildren Ethan and Miles Cobb.

          Vic’s life will be honored in a gathering of his many of friends and loved ones, sharing music and fond memories in his honor.  Friends are invited to participate in this celebration of Vic Schwarz’s life on Sunday, October 19th at 2:00 p.m. at the Garrison Fish and Game Club.  In honor of Vic’s legacies, charitable donations may be made in his name to Little Stony Point Citizen’s Association or to Clearwater, Inc.  For information about the memorial celebration or making donations, go to: or call (631)891-9701.


  1. bill anderson said

    i appreciate your great music, I remember singing this land is your land, in music class, thank you for such great music, it is my heart. Thanks, b.anderson

  2. Patty Garrison said

    Vic was my dear friend with whom I worked at Hayden Book Company, so many years ago! (1976 — 1982). Vic and I kept up our friendship over the years, and I am so grateful to have spoken with him in August. I admired his musicianship, his artwork, and his approach to life. In fact, I have six of his wood block pieces framed and in my living room; I think of him every day! I am sending my most heartfelt condolences to Linda and the rest of the family. I will be keeping them in my prayers, and I will remember Vic always with love. I feel privileged to have known him.

  3. To Linda and Family:
    I have just now found out that Vic is no longer with us, how embarrassed and saddened I am not to have known of this loss.
    Vic and his lovely wife Linda opened the door of their home, their hearts, their family, and friends upon a request by myself (totally unknown by them at the time) only by phone calls, to come to New York and perform my Album of brand new song Re: The Hudson River/Riverkeeper/Sloop Clearwater etc! Vic contacted some of his personal friends which included Bob Boyle, John Cronin, Pete Seeger and many more in attendence that night. Not stopping there Vic took it upon himselfand friends to open the door to the Riverkeeper Office for a personal Concert, then helped open the door to Pace University, Radio Free Europe, and so much more, all of this done from and by the Big Heart of Vic Schwartz and his dear long time friends John Cronin and Bob Boyle.
    I send my belated condolences to Linda, Son and Daughter, and all Family members God Bless, I will always remember Vic in my heart .
    R.C. O’Leary

  4. Don Smith said

    Vic was a good guy, I knew him from playing around Orange and Dutchess Counties, and from our mutual friend, Jack McAndrew. He did some very nice work for me on several of my instruments…He also introduced me to Pete Seeger, for which I will always be grateful. I had heard he was sick, but I didn’t realize he was that sick, I am very sorry.

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