By: Lorna Hard
Edith Schwartz was born in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 1940 her family fled Germany, ending up in New York where her father established a medical practice. Edith earned her B.A. at Barnard, her M.A. at Columbia, and her Ph.D. at Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Her long and very distinguished career was in biotechnology. She began in academia teaching and doing research.
Among many distinctions, Edith was the first woman to become a tenured professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. She maintained her ties to academia while her career focus shifted to development of healthcare related technologies. She worked with several government agencies as well as in the private sector where she also successfully marketed new devices and technologies. In addition, Edith organized and directed symposia on topics in her field, including one in Tianjin, China. She has received several professional awards and honors, including the Kappa Delta Award of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
John Bellantoni was born and raised in New York City. He earned a B.A. from Fordham, an M.S. in Mathematics from New York University, and another M.S. in Engineering from Harvard. John began his career designing inertial navigation systems in industry. During the space race he joined NASA and headed the Sensor Technology Branch.
In 1970, John moved to the United States Department of Transportation where he led projects for the Coast Guard, the FAA, and other agencies. In 1988 he left government to consult on a satellite-based rescue system, which facilitates cooperation among more than fifty nations in locating seamen and aviators in distress. John says, “This is an outstanding application of international space technology for bettering the world.” During his career John received many awards, got several patents and published over a dozen papers.
The couple met and married in Boston in the late 1980’s, forming a family of seven children from their previous marriages. The family has now grown by eight grandchildren, living all over the United States and in Canada. After their marriage, Edith and John left academia and government and pursued careers in the private sector, centered in Washington D.C. In 2005 they retired full time to their home on Bird Key. In August, they moved to Plymouth Harbor.
Edith has served on the Advisory Committee at Mote Marine Laboratory. Many years ago she attended a woodworking class and built a table that the couple used until recently. She is interested in pursuing woodworking as well as Scrabble and Mah Jongg, and she looks forward to participating in programs at the Wellness Center. John enjoys discussion groups on the subjects of physics, economics, science and futurism, and he attends two such groups in Sarasota. He looks forward to meeting others at Plymouth Harbor with similar interests. John also loves riding his bicycle and is an avid sailor. He had a Gemini catamaran on Bird Key and would love to find people here who might like to join him in buying and sharing a sailboat.
Edith and John are happy with their move to Plymouth Harbor. They see life here as their “second retirement,” and are looking forward to settling in and becoming involved in the community.