Edward James Schwartzbauer, an accomplished attorney and anti-Vietnam War activist who was one of 11 delegates from Minnesota to cast votes for Eugene McCarthy at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, died Oct. 7. He was 90.
A longtime Edina resident, Schwartzbauer served three years in the Army as an assistant staff judge advocate, retiring as a captain in 1958. He later became disillusioned by the Vietnam War.
His vote for fellow Minnesotan and peace movement champion McCarthy came amid the chaotic and violent backdrop of the Chicago convention, where antiwar protesters hoping to persuade the Democrats to adopt a plank of peace were brutally beaten by the Chicago Police Department at repeated clashes. The peace movement failed, and television audiences who had tuned in for the nomination of Hubert Humphrey as the Democratic presidential candidate were shocked by live images of blood-splattered protesters. The presidency was won later that year by Republican candidate Richard M. Nixon, and the war dragged on for several more years.
Schwartzbauer's son Paul James said he remembers his father calling from the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago to reassure his family. "He called us just minutes before he left for the convention that night. It was pretty much the police against the students in the streets," he said. Schwartzbauer later wrote about the mayhem he witnessed.
"I remember young people being brought into the hotel on stretchers, with blood streaming from their heads," he wrote in a piece for the mnvietnam.org website.
Schwartzbauer's opposition to the war was founded in democratic beliefs, James said, telling his children that the people of Vietnam should be allowed to follow their chosen leader of Ho Chi Minh and that the United States shouldn't be involved.
Born in St. Paul the son of a grain miller, Schwartzbauer grew up on Rice Street before entering law school at the University of Minnesota. He was note editor of the Law Review, and graduated second in his class. Walter Mondale was a classmate.
After his military service, Schwartzbauer began a long career at the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney, now known as Dorsey. He also was a self-employed mediator, arbitrator and contract administrative law judge. He served as president of the Hennepin County Bar Association, was a member and chair of the Supreme Court Board of Continuing Legal Education, and was on the board of governors for the Minnesota State Bar Association. He was a founding member of the Edina ABC program, which helped Black children get enrolled in the Edina school system.
A writer and voracious reader, Schwartzbauer's personal library held political histories. He studied the Middle East in recent years and felt that injustices were being committed on all sides, said his son. He sent many letters to the editor of the Star Tribune.
Schwartzbauer also was a lifelong singer, whether at church services in Hopkins and Edina or the Minneapolis Southside Singers. He acted in productions with the Bloomington Civic Theater, the Minnetonka Community Theater, Edina Community Theater, Applause Community Theater and the Charlotte Players in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Throughout his life and career, Schwartzbauer was idealistic and a perfectionist, said his son. He was also a die-hard Gophers football fan, sending e-mails to his children each week to announce upcoming games.
"He was a romantic, he really was," James said.
Schwartzbauer is survived by brothers Bernard and Robert Schwartzbauer, children Paul James, Janet Shallbetter, Mark, Tim, Dave and Tom Schwartzbauer, 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial service has been held. A funeral with full military honors at Fort Snelling is planned for March.