The servant is gone

Editor’s Note: “Uncle D.S. Patch” is a column that appears weekly in The Dispatch-News, Lexington County’s oldest newspaper. The column is written by former editor and media veteran Bill West. He said, “I counted Father Schwab as a close friend. While I am not Catholic and he was not Presbyterian, it didn’t interfere with our relationship. ‘Pastor Putupon’ is a generic name given to ministers/pastors/priests since they are so often put upon with more than mortal man can handle … and they do it so well.”

I must admit, Sunday morning as Pastor Putupon was continuing his series, “Walking with God in Wisdom’s Way,” my mind wondered. The good pastor was laying scriptural basis for the “Portrait of a Godly Man.” He used Timothy’s writings on what God expects for men of character in general and for church leaders in particular.

My mind kept slipping back to Jerome F. Schwab who was born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1938 and who died last week at age 62.

Our friend the Rev. Jerome F. Schwab passed away after an unsuccessful battle with cancer.

Father Schwab didn’t go easily, he fought to the bitter end to continue his life of service as pastor of Corpus Christi Church in Lexington.

When I tried to describe this man to Sweet Wife (SW), I said simply, “If you look in the dictionary for the word servant, there should be a picture of Father Schwab.”

I met this precious man of God three years ago and instantly recognized that he took seriously his call, his responsibility, his commitment to all of mankind, and above all, he stood fast and firm on his belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Vicky Reese, a parishioner of Father Schwab, said this valiant man continued to minister even as he lay on his death bed. “He continued with concern for his flock, filled with love and kindness while attending to the daily decision-making duties of a pastor.

“On the days when the cross was too heavy to carry during his illness, he depended on organizations, staff and friends to keep the church moving forward. They did so in such an efficient manner that it gave testimony to the influence he had provided over the years.”

With tears in her eyes, Reese continued, “This saintly soul, through all his good and bad days, brought the parish closer together in prayer and worship.”

Father Schwab will be missed in this community. He will be missed by parishioners who have felt his influence and are now scattered around the world.

One of his parishioners said that our good friend was, “truly a reflection of Christ, giving his all to the Mystical Body of Christ.”

I was particularly influenced by Father Schwab’s belief in the Bible. He believed it to be the inspired Word of God, and just because it is more than 2000 years old, it hasn’t changed. It means today what it meant originally.

When we discussed our differing denominational beliefs, we never differed on the infallibility of the Bible and never did we differ on the Holy Trinity.

Father Jerome F. Schwab made his mark on many lives. His mark of servitude will never be erased by those he influenced. His mark of ministry will never end. His mark of love for all will be recorded in that great book in eternity.

Father Schwab was an excellent example of Timothy’s church leader. And a great example of character for all of us to follow.

He will be missed, but for many, it will only be a short separation.

To the flock at Corpus Christi, to his family, to his many friends, we share your grief while encouraging you to remember that he always promoted a cheerful heart.