Ralph Grayson Schwarz, 93 of Bethlehem, passed away peacefully on Saturday October 13, 2018 while in the care of Moravian Village surrounded by his loving family. Raised in Rutherford, NJ, he was the son of the late Quirin J. and Anna Margaretha "Gretchen" (Bartsch) Schwarz. Ralph honorably served his country in the United States Army as a Forward Observer during WWII before receiving a B.A. in mechanical engineering and international relations (1948) and an M.A. in history (1951) from Lehigh University. He was later awarded a Doctor of Humanities from Indiana State University (1974).
Dr. Schwarz had a diverse career in architecture, planning, development and preservation. He served as special planning representative for Bethlehem Steel Corporation, President of the AIA Urban Design and Development Corporation, President of Historic New Harmony, Inc., and a partner with Richard Meier & Partners, Architects. He was chiefly responsible for the planning, schematic design and development of such major buildings as The Ford Foundation headquarters in New York City; The Atheneum in New Harmony, IN; the J. Paul Getty Fine Arts Center in Los Angeles, CA; and A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. During many years spent in Bethlehem, PA, he served as a Director of Moravian Museums of Bethlehem, Coordinator of the Bethlehem Visitors Collegium-later the Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Consultant to the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, and President of the Moravian Archives.
Bethlehem was a significant part of Dr. Schwarz's life. After his graduation from Lehigh University, Ralph was hired by Bethlehem Steel, and immediately became involved with the corporation's community revitalization efforts. He aimed to preserve Bethlehem's Moravian heritage, while recognizing Bethlehem's role as an important center of industry. By adeptly bringing the local community and varied corporate connections together, he united all participants in a shared vision. As a result, Bethlehem was designated Pennsylvania's first Historic District in 1961.
Today, the buildings and sites that form the Historic Bethlehem Partnership, including the Smithy, and other buildings of the Industrial Quarter, Burnside Plantation, Kemerer Museum, Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, alongside the recently opened National Museum of Industrial History, all reflect Dr. Schwarz's indefatigable passion for preserving Bethlehem's past while preparing it also for the future.
His books include Southport: The Architectural Legacy of a Connecticut Village; Picturesque Sand Island; Bethlehem on the Lehigh; Moravian Bethlehem; Bach in Bethlehem; Saucon Valley Country Club, and many other publications. His research has been entrusted to the care of the Lehigh University, Historic New Harmony Archives, and the Moravian Archives.
Survivors: He will be lovingly remembered by his sons Ralph Grayson "Gray" Schwarz, Jr. and his partner Kathleen Ferruzzi of Greenwich, CT; Walker Grayson Schwarz and his wife Leah of Oxford, CT; grandchildren Polly Schwarz Ford; Harry Schwarz; and Emma Schwarz; and his colleague David Scott Parker of New York City. He is also survived by his many life-long friends and colleagues whose lives he continuously inspired. Ralph was preceded in death by his brother Quirin J. "Jack"(Lucille Palmer) Schwarz.
Services: A Memorial Service will be held at 11:30 am on Friday, October 26, 2018 in the Old Chapel of the Central Moravian Church, Heckewelder Place, Bethlehem. A reception will be held at Hotel Bethlehem immediately following the services. Burial will be private. Ralph's arrangements have been entrusted to the Cantelmi Long Funeral Home, 500 Linden Street, Bethlehem. A memory tribute may be placed at
Contributions: In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Historic Bethlehem Partnership, the Central Moravian Church, and/or the Moravian Archives.
OCT 26. 11:30 AM (EDT)
Old Chapel at Central Moravian Church
Bethlehem, PA, 18018