Ruth's Obituary

Ruth F. Schwarz, 74, one of the country's leading semiconductor physicists in the 1950's and 1960's, died [Friday] at the Roslyn Nursing Home from complications of a stroke suffered in 1996.

Schwarz was a native of Louisville, Kentucky and a graduate of the University of Louisville. Her professors were so impressed with her analytical ability they obtained a fellowship for her to study at Harvard University where she received a Ph. D. in theoretical physics in 1953. Upon graduation, she went to work for the now-defunct Philco Corp. in Philadelphia and helped it to emerge as a leader in the up and coming transistor field. In her first job assignment she solved a mathematical heat flow problem that her peers had deemed insoluble. She went on to become the company's lead theoretical physicist, publishing more than a dozen technical papers and receiving many patents in the semiconductor field. She was awarded the company's Presidential Special Award, the highest recognition given to any employee. The leading electronics organization at that time also honored her for her outstanding contributions to the electronic field. In a feature newspaper article published nationwide, she was described as "a rare genius in the field of theoretical physics", and was quoted as "having a vast knowledge of physics with the mind to bring out the facts she needs the moment she needs them".

After Philco was purchased by the Ford Motor Company which subsequently moved the semiconductor division to Michigan, Mrs. Schwarz worked as a consultant for the General Electric Space Division in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for several years. In her private life, she played the violin in the Old York Road Symphony for over 25 years, served on the orchestra's Board of Directors for many years and as president of the Board from 1988 to 1996. She also played in the Abington Chamber Orchestra. She was also active in her church, serving as a deacon, Moderator of the deacons, on the session, and as a leader in many special assignments.

She is survived by her husband of 50 years, John Schwarz, sons Scott Schwarz and Timothy Schwarz, a daughter Linda Bierema, and 3 grandchildren.