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Published: Tuesday, 5/8/2012

Longtime nurse served in Army Reserves

Joanne Schwartzberg, 1934-2012

BLADE STAFF

Joanne Schwartzberg, a retired nurse who was a professor and administrator in nursing programs and who served 15 years in the U.S. Army Reserves Nursing Corps, died Sunday in Woodlands at Sunset House. She was 77.

Her daughter, Gayle Friedman, said Mrs. Schwartzberg had battled lung cancer for almost a year.

At one time, Mrs. Schwartzberg was on the faculty at three institutions -- Toledo Hospital, Bowling Green State University, and the former Medical College of Ohio, now known as University of Toledo Health Science Campus. Her specialty was geriatric nursing.

Mrs. Friedman said her mother had a passion for the profession and making a difference in patients' lives.

"The biggest thing my mother loved was the challenge of being a nurse," she said. "She had a passion to care for others, and the reward was just doing that and getting personal satisfaction in helping others."

The former Joanne Duckworth, she grew up in Charlotte, where she graduated in 1952 from Central High School. She studied nursing at the University of Cincinnati, graduating with a bachelor of science degree.

On June 10, 1956 -- about a week after graduation -- she married Sydney Schwartzberg. They had met on a blind date at college through her sorority and his fraternity.

The couple moved to Toledo, where Mr. Schwartzberg was a teacher and Mrs. Schwartzberg went to work in the intensive care unit at Toledo Hospital

Mrs. Friedman said her mother later taught in the hospital's nursing program. She received a master's degree in counseling from UT.

Mrs. Schwartzberg eventually joined the staff at Medical College of Ohio, where she was the associate dean of nursing.

As an instructor at the medical school, she was director of nursing at Darlington House, where she was responsible for the creation of the Alzheimer's wing, her daughter said.

In 1973, Mrs. Schwartzberg joined the U.S. Army Reserves Nursing Corps. She advanced in rank from captain to lieutenant colonel.

Her daughter said she traveled to military bases for training exercises. She retired from the reserves in 1987.

She retired from the medical college staff in 1994. She was a recipient of UTMC's Nurse Who Made A Difference award.

"But she continued to work. Even though she officially retired, she was always involved in teaching, mentoring, nursing, and volunteering," her daughter said.

Mrs. Schwartzberg was active in the Jewish community.

She served on the board at Pelham Manor and Toledo Jewish Federation, which honored her with the Spirit Award in 2009.

"She really has done so much in the 50-plus years she has been in Toledo," Mrs. Friedman said.

Mrs. Schwartzberg was a member of the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association and received the organization's Mensch of the Year honor.

Her husband died Nov. 23, 2003.

Surviving are her daughter, Gayle Friedman, sisters, Barbara Redmond and Brenda McCormick, and two granddaughters.

Services are to be Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home, 2426 N. Reynolds Rd.

Family and friends are to be received after services and through Thursday at the Sunset House Community Room.

The family requests tributes to Congregation B'nai Israel or the Resident Assistance Fund on behalf of the Woodlands Staff at Sunset Retirement Community.

-- Mark Reiter



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