Louis Schwab, M.D., died on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007 at Greene Memorial Hospital, Xenia, Ohio, in the manner in which he lived his life, with gentle dignity.
In addition to exercising numerous leadership positions during his career, Dr. Schwab was especially known for his ability to listen to young patients and in particular to their mothers, which he said was often the key to his success at diagnosis.
Louis Schwab was born at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio on Aug. 26, 1919, to Judge Nelson and Marie Carlile Schwab. Dr. Schwab was molded as a child through a love of the wild as set by the examples of his father and grandfather, Louis Schwab, M.D., for whom he was named. The first Dr. Schwab, who served as mayor of Cincinnati from 1910–11, had the Schwab family cottage built on Crooked Lake, near Alanson, Michigan, in 1901.
The second Dr. Schwab upheld the family tradition of heading north with his children in the summer to escape the Cincinnati heat.
Along the way, in the practice of the Good Samaritan, he would routinely stop to help stranded motorists, said his son John Schwab.
Dr. Schwab graduated from Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati in 1937. Inspired by his grandfather, he was drawn to study medicine and graduated from Princeton University in 1941 before enrolling at Harvard Medical School, from where he graduated in 1944.
During his residency in Boston, Dr. Schwab participated in early breakthrough studies of bacterial resistance and the use of penicillin.
In later years he helped pioneer developments in artificial heart valves, a cardioscope for direct inspection of the interior of the intact, beating heart, among many other medical devices. He was granted a U.S. patent in 1995 for an apparatus and method to better administer tests for tuberculosis.
Dr. Schwab served as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II. Like so many of his generation, he had grown disillusioned with war as a means to resolve conflict and wanted to help lay the foundation for perpetual peace. For this reason, Dr. Schwab championed the Sister Cities program in the late 1940s, particularly between Cincinnati and Munich. Throughout his life, Dr. Schwab offered ideas concerning world peace and other topics to those at the highest levels of government.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Schwab developed a successful pediatrics practice in Cincinnati, served as professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, president of the medical and dental staff of the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati, overseeing nearly 200 doctors, and was instrumental in forming the first Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s, serving as its director.
In 1972, Dr. Schwab became medical director of North Shore Children’s Hospital in Salem, Mass., and was appointed assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
In 1974, he returned to Ohio to serve as medical director of the Children’s Hospital in Dayton, Ohio where he helped establish ongoing investigations into cystic fibrosis. He also helped initiate a residency program in pediatrics for the Wright State University School of Medicine.
In 1984, Dr. Schwab served as representative from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. During this period to the end of his career he began to think extensively on the need for healthcare reform in the U.S., calling for a “national, primary-care oriented, not-for-profit, office based, prevention-focused health care system.”
In 1985, Dr. Schwab returned to his first love, practicing primary care pediatrics, in Xenia, Ohio until his retirement in 1998.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Dorothy Schwab Brantley; his nephew, Thomas Brantley Jr.; his brother, Nelson Schwab Jr.; and by his first wife, Anne Keville Schwab, with whom he had three surviving sons, Louis Schwab III of Cincinnati, John Keville Schwab of Dayton and William Carlile Schwab of Denver.
He is also survived by his wife, Nancy Schwab, of Yellow Springs, Ohio and their sons, Martin Schwab of Honolulu, and Philip Potamitis and his children, Philip Potamitis Jr., and Sophia Potamitis of Las Vegas; his grandsons, John Louis Schwab, and Benjamin William Schwab, both of Los Angeles, and Julian Florent Mathias Schwab of Denver; his nephews, Michael Brantley of Corvallis, Ore., David Brantley and Stephen Brantley of Vancouver, Wash., Matthew Brantley of Seattle, Nelson Schwab III of Charlotte, N.C. and Richard Schwab of Cincinnati.
A memorial concert in honor of Dr. Schwab is being planned for February 2008 as part of the Cathedral Concert Series of St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Ky., exact date to be announced.
The special memorial concert will be open to the public and will feature choral and organ music played on the historic 1859 Mathias Schwab organ, built by the great grandfather of Dr. Schwab.
Donations are requested to be sent to “Schwab Organ Fund” for the upkeep and restoration of this family and historic area treasure at St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, 1140 Madison Avenue, Covington, Ky. 41011.