John W. Schwemle

February 14, 1957October 18, 2020

John William Schwemle February 14, 1957 - October 18, 2020

Passed away in UPMC Altoona from complications as a result of a work accident. Born in Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Kenmore, N.Y., on February 14, 1957. Cherished son of Luther William and May Helen (O’Connor) Schwemle who predeceased him. Beloved brother of Mary Lou and Barbara who survive. His longtime and loving companion, Deb Howard, also survives. John was a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Eagle Scout and the God and Country Award. Graduated from Altoona Area High School in 1975 and the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in health planning administration in 1979. Upon graduation, John began a position as a health policy analyst with the Centers for Disease Control in Columbus, OH. But his lifelong love of carpentry and the creativity the profession afforded soon beckoned him to a career change. John was a premier trim and finish carpenter and all around craftsman. Among projects he worked on were renovation of the officers quarters at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD; construction of the new wing of Maryland Shock Trauma, Baltimore, MD; and restoration of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in NJ. John also served as a volunteer handyman with his neighbor for the First Evangelical Lutheran Church and its childcare center. As a hobby, he constructed birdhouses of various designs. Born on Valentine’s Day, John had a heart of gold. His other profession was as a dedicated and loving caregiver to his father, mother, aunt, and uncle during their long illnesses. A helper by nature, he was a faithful and tremendous helpmate to his sisters. For the last three years, John was restoring a friend’s log cabin and landscaping the property in Sinking Valley. He always said that he wanted to die with his boots on and, just as the project was nearing its end, catastrophe struck. John spent many a happy time in conversation and fellowship with his almost lifelong friends and neighbors, Edee and Jim Lowe, his longtime mechanic and friend, Mike Servello, and many other friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. The family expresses gratitude to the dedicated ICU and Tower 12 doctors and nurses and emergency room staff at UPMC Altoona and Hollidaysburg ambulance staff. Burial in the family plot in Elmlawn Cemetery, Kenmore, NY, with arrangements by the Dengler, Roberts, Perna Funeral Home, Buffalo, NY. No words can express how much John will be missed. In the words of his favorite song, “And be a simple kind of man. Oh, be something that you love and understand.”




  • Graveside Service

    Thursday, October 22, 2020


  • No Prior Visitation

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Edith Lowe

October 20, 2020

We loved John, he was like family to us. We will miss his tap at the back door. He would often stop for coffee on the way home bringing a cup for my husband. They’d sit and talk for hours . I enjoyed their banter. John would occasionally bring me a flower and he’d say that he brought it just because he thought I would like it. He was kind, thoughtful and cared about others. He was a wonderful person and will live on in our hearts forever. Rest In heavenly peace our dear friend John.


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