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Stephen M. Schwartz



By now you may have heard of Steve's passing.  The NAVBO community has suffered a great loss.  We know that Steve touched so many lives.  Please post a tribute or memory. (please note, due to web crawlers, we're going to moderate the submissions and post them as quickly as possible)

Please share a memory about Steve and it will be posted to this page.  

Additional information from the University of Washington's Newsletter 

Click here to watch the Tribute by Michael Gimbrone

"To say that Steve was one of a kind is an understatement. Those that knew him well, will have several stories to share that I’m sure will bring a smile to everyone.   

Along with Michael Gimbrone, Steve was a co-founder of NAVBO and its second President.  He also was the creator of Vasculata, NAVBO’s flagship summer course.  He was instrumental in establishing the Earl P. Benditt Award.  Then in 2001, he was named the recipient of that award.  He also served on the Meritorious Awards and Education Committees and co-organized the 1996 IVBM in Seattle with the late Russell Ross.  He remained involved with NAVBO throughout our entire 25 years.  His list of former postdocs reads like a who’s who in vascular biology – including Mark Majesky, Bradford Berk, Paul DiCorleto, Luisa Iruela-Arispe, Gary Owens, just to name a few.  He will be sorely missed by generations of vascular biologists and pathologists.

Rest in peace, my friend.  Thanks for the memories and your never ending inspirations."

Bernadette Englert,

"I was a postdoc at UW with Russell Ross and in an informal way with Steve.  This news really brings home the impact of COVID-19 on a very personal level.

Though Steve’s many peculiarities will be remembered, so will his brilliance and his direct and indirect major contributions to the field, as well as his mentorship of many, including me.
I will miss him.
Best wishes to Barbara and other family members."

Paul DiCorleto,
Kent State University

"I was a post-doc with Steve from 1979-1982 and owe much of my success to Steve’s extraordinary talents as a mentor albeit his unconventional methods. He did not coddle his trainees - far from it. Rather he constantly challenged us to take full ownership of our projects, and we all can recall an unpleasant meeting with him when we were not adequately prepared. He had insatiable appetite (pun intended) for acquiring and retaining new knowledge and instilled in his trainees a passion for doing high impact innovative research. Once you earned his respect, he was your lifelong advocate.

Indeed Steve’s list of highly successful former trainees is truly impressive as was evidenced in the Scientific Symposium organized by the UW group to celebrate his 65th birthday. All speakers were former trainees and the symposium was as good or better than most international scientific meetings I have attended. Through his own research and that of his trainees, as well as his leadership role in forming NAVBO with Mike Gimbrone, Steve had an immense impact on the Vascular Biology Field.

We trainees always like to meet and reminisce about Steve’s peculiar traits and our funny and formative experiences with him and his beautiful family Barbara, Hillel, and Havi.

He will be deeply missed as a mentor, colleague, and friend."

Gary Owens,
University of Virginia

"Dr. Schwartz contributed immensely to the field of vascular biology in ways I am not qualified to even begin to summarize.

I still vividly recall my first presentation at a meeting he co-hosted with my PhD mentor, Dr. Bruce McManus, in Seattle, WA. I was so nervous I took a shot of Jack Daniels in the washroom before the session. As I stood at the podium in a session moderated by Dr. Schwartz, the computer crashed, and the AV support was unable to remedy the problem. Dr. Schwartz advised me to summarize my talk.

Without slides. - In my first presentation ever. - He then proceeded to ask me questions about my results.

To this day, when I am nervous before giving a presentation, I think back fondly at this trial by fire, and remember things could always be worse.

My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."

Brian Wong,
Washington University in St. Louis

"Steve was one of a kind--brilliant, creative, passionate about science--I'll never forget the evening he had me (visiting UW) and his colleagues, including Mike Rosenfeld, over for dinner at his house (take out Indian food of course)--utterly stimulating. May his memory be a blessing."

Ira Tabas,
Columbia University

"I am so terribly sad to hear this. Steve was an intellectual force who shaped our field of vascular biology for many years, and importantly mentored countless young people in academic medicine."

Betsy Nabel,
Brigham & Women's Hospital

"It is with great sadness to learn that Steve Schwartz has passed away. I vividly recall most remarkable meetings with him, mostly during my time as a PhD student in the US. On one occasion, I think it was in 1991, we met at the central station in Munich (en route to a Ringberg Meeting that Werner Risau had hosted). Steve introduced me at the station to Earl Benditt. Both immediately questioned me about the progress of my PhD project. Yes, Steve was "one of a kind". He's made great contributions to vascular biology, as a scientist, as a mentor and as an organizer. He will be dearly missed."

Hellmut Augustin,
Heidelberg University & DKFZ Heidelberg

"Steve was a force to be reckoned with and he will be so missed by the entire vascular biology community. Passionate, unique, caring, never one to be troubled by convention. He was a scholar and someone that everybody talked about with a smile. I remember my first NAVBO talk as a postdoc at Asilomar, and his encouraging questions. I was nervous and he completely put me at ease. He focused on the science, and always brought an incredible depth of experience and knowledge to every conversation. I also remember calling him and forgetting the time difference with the West Coast. We talked a good while, and it was 6am for him! He didn't mind one bit. All the very best to his family, his friends, and his many trainees and proteges. We - the community, his peers, NAVBO - are all better people and better scientists for having known Steve."

Ondine Cleaver,
UT Southwestern Medical Center

"It’s a great loss. Although I never meet him in person, he and I had at least 20+ telephone conversations, before and after the Vasculata-2017, including during the weekends. Steve and I overlapped in NAVBO education committee. His deep voice still resonates in my ears.

I will greatly miss him."

Kishore Wary,
University of Illinois at Chicago

"Steve reached out to me when I first joined NAVBO Council and when I was elected President of NAVBO. He had an energy and commitment to vascular biology that was exceptional. These attributes and the friendly nature of our exchanges were examples of why I was so excited to join the community in the 1990s. His ideas, vision, and brilliance are shining examples to all of us in the field of what makes an exceptional scientist, educator, and communicator. Steve will be missed but never forgotten."

Jan Kitajewski,
University of Illinois at Chicago

" I was a postdoc in Seattle in the early 90s with Michael Reidy, and as with all UW postdocs, informally adopted by Steve. There are many memories, but one day in I wing, Steve called me into his office to tell me that if I was going to succeed as a scientist, I had to work on my selfconfidence. I was devastated, to me that was trial-by-fire. But to this day, when I have to do something intellectually intimidating, I think of Steve and that advice. My deepest sympathy to Barbara and family."

Michelle Bendeck,
University of Toronto

"To say that Steve was "unique" or "brilliant" just doesn't do the man justice. He was someone who made everyone around him more unique and brilliant. I will always remember and treasure a 30 min car ride in his beat up, tricked-out Datsun, and being told how our community of cardiovascular imagers could and should be doing so much more to understand biology. It was a lesson I never forgot, despite being terrified even at 45 mph. I will miss him."

Jonathan Lindner,

" I am extremely saddened to hear of Steve’s passing away. Hope he did not suffer. My condolences to the family. Steve was a close friend who was always available to discuss any and everything. A brilliant mind is lost."

Renu Virmani,
CVPath Institute

"We all have many memories of Steve - he was that sort of person and scientist. My most vivid memory is of the time my then grad student Cara Bertozzi presented a poster on lympho-venous thrombosis at the NAVBO meeting in Asilomar. We had not yet worked out the mechanism, but Steve was enthralled, to the point at which he drew up a chair and sat discussing every piece of data and possible mechanisms for over an hour. Cara was exhausted, but this was typical of Steve's approach to science. He was passionate, relentless, and completely immersed. He cared most about training the future generation of scientists and dedicated himself unselfishly to that. We will all miss him greatly."

Mark Kahn,
University of Pennsylvania

"His brilliance was a great inspiration. His presence was awesome. He will be missed, and he left a great legacy."

Linda Demer,

"My dad was a long time secretary of his, for as long as I can remember - he got me and my older brothers presents for Christmas, I remember him giving little tidbits of info for me to look up when I’d visit my dad at the UW Pathology lab, and I have fond memories of visiting the lab growing up. I worked for him briefly as an IT technician for Vasculata 2008, and it was always interesting chatting with him about all kinds of things, health science related and otherwise. He will be missed."

Ian Paredes

"I have had the privilege to spend a sabbatical year at the Dept. of Pathology in Seattle from 1981 to 1982 where I was in contact with Earl Benditt (resigning Chairman) Russel Ross (new Chairman) and Steve Schwatrz. Obviously he was the easiest to reach and we started a collaboration that lasted for many years. Immediately I have appreciated his originality as well as openness of mind. Steve has left an important mark in vascular biology. We all should be grateful for his intellectual contributions."

Giulio Gabbiani,
University of Geneva, Switzeland

"We are not related but I humorously, and fondly, called him Uncle Steve.  He was indeed a sort of crazy, sometimes difficult but always loving scientific uncle.  I see his brilliance noted in every one of these comments.  I want to gratefully acknowledge his truly generous spirit.  He did a great deal for young scientists with no thought of personal reward, and I never knew him to be anything but kind and generous.  Farewell, Uncle Steve."

Martin Schwartz,
Yale School of Medicine 

"Steve was a brilliant man, who was very supportive of me while I was a post-doc in Eric Olson's lab. My most cherished memory would be sailing with him, his wife Barbara, and son, Hillel, in Puget Sound with my then wife carrying our first chiId in 1993. I will also remember his acerbic wit on a range of marathon debates we had over politics, origins of life, and Jesus as Messiah. My thoughts and prayers go to his wife, children, and the many vascular biology stars who had the privilege of training with him."

Joe Miano,
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University 

"What sad news! Our community truly has lost one of its scientific thought-leaders and founding fathers. Personally, I have many fond memories of my interactions with Steve, dating from the first Blood Vessel Club gatherings at FASEB Meetings, in the early 1970’s, in the musty hotels along the boardwalk in Atlantic City, through the (sometimes tumultuous) negotiations that gave birth to NAVBO and its emergence as an anchor, nationally and internationally, in the world of Vascular Biology. Interactive and provocative by nature, he was a catalyst to the creative thinking of all those around him. A dedicated mentor-teacher and collaborator-colleague, he helped establish his institution’s place at the forefront of the field. We are fortunate in our scientific lives to have individuals with whom we can share ideas, think beyond a failed experiment, and gain encouragement to stay the course—Steve Schwartz was that kind of colleague. He will be sorely missed."

Michael Gimbrone,
Harvard Medical School/Brigham & Women's Hospital

"Steve was an iconoclastic individual; brilliantly unconventional . I had the privilege of having many animated scientific discussions with him in a variety of professional and social settings. He was clearly one of a kind and i will miss him very much. What a loss!!!! Heartfelt sympathies to his family."

Prediman K. Shah,
Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles

"Steve had an amazing depth and breadth of scientific (and other) wisdom that was the product of an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. His most distinguishing trait was his generosity in sharing that wisdom with this peers and with his many mentees. I was the recipient of many of Steve's legendary and unanticipated phone calls and fondly remember their wide ranging and stimulating nature. I will miss him greatly and send my condolences to Barbara and Hillel and his many colleagues at UW."

Mark Ginsberg,

"I knew of Steve, then… I met Steve! We probably all remember that , if lucky, other vividly cinematic episodes marked by Steve’s brilliance, curiosity, and intensity. His modus operandi was to use every moment for intellectual inquiry, to engage us on memorable journeys, real and mental, as the first I took with Steve after having the opportunity (and courage!) to disagree in front of a large audience. He was visibly shocked and momentarily silenced by my scientific “chutzpah.” Then, at the end, he literally pushed me into his cab, insisting we ride together to the airport. During those 30 min he produced more questions I thought possible to formulate, let alone answer. I was mentally exhausted, didn’t know what to make of it. Then, he called me the following Monday and regularly to get my questions on his ideas! I realized then he had cross-examined and accepted me as a worthy dissenting fellow scientist, and I could not help but feel honored and uplifted. Steve, you are missed!"

Zorina Galis,
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

"Steve, Barbara, Hillel and Haviva Schwartz were our neighbors on Capitol Hill in Seattle for more than 30 years. Steve's intellectual curiosity reached far beyond his work as an epidemiologist, and we shared many times together debating the large and small issues of the day, be they political, social, local Capitol Hill neighborhood, or otherwise. As the lawyer living across the street, Steve would often confront me with questions about the constitutionality of a particular governmental, corporate or individual action. He was truly a renaissance man and will be missed by all who had the good fortune of knowing him, not only within his profession, but personally as well. My family's thoughts are with Barbara, Hillel and Havi during this most difficult time."

Karl Ege,
Perkins Coie LLP

"This is indeed sad news. He gave so much and had so much more still to give."

Michael Mulvany,
Department Biomedicine, Aarhus University, Denmark 

"How profoundly sad. Steve was such a fine person and an incredibly creative thinker. He gave his fullest to all with whom he worked. He invigorated every room or venue in which he participated. Steve's humour was acerbic and beautiful. I had the fortune to live just north of the border in Vancouver for the last 25 years. We build a little cross-border learning and scientific sharing colloquium that was most valuable to our trainees and colleagues. Steve always germinated new ideas and collaborations. One of Steve's passions was sailing. Among the most special times for us was when he and his dear wife Barbara would sail up from Seattle and anchor in the False Creek inlet. We had lovely conversations about his craft over good food and drinks. Memories of the greatest kind....Rest well Steve. You have made our lives rich by your presence. Thanks."

Bruce McManus,
University of British Columbia 

"I was a PhD student in Steve's lab, and was trained within an impressive group of postdocs and research staff, with Steve as our fearless, creative, and kind leader. Going to the white board in his office was a constant challenge and practice in expressing scientific ideas. Several years ago, when I had PhD students of my own, my graduate student invited Steve to Maine to be our graduate program retreat keynote speaker. Steve was just as awe-inspiring and scary to our students as he was to me so long ago! Steve never lost it - just kept sharing his passion and collaborative spirit in the best way possible."

Lucy Liaw,
Maine Medical Center Research Institute 

"Your are shining forever for your research."


"I met Steve through VASCULATA. Coming from a different field, he and his workshop provided a warm welcome to the vascular biology field. At the workshop he showed that he really cared about trainees. His lectures were accessible He took the time to give feedback on my research and to get to know me. When I became a new PI, I in turn had graduate students in my lab attend VASCULATA. They returned with memorable stories of their meetings with Steve and their VASCULATA experiences. He has truly had an impact on myself and many generations of researchers."

Princess Imoukhuede,
Washington University in St. Louis 

"As a very young postdoc from distant parts (Perth, Western Australia), arriving in Steve’s sphere of influence was both terrifying and inspirational. Steve was a fabulous scientist, but with a fierce reputation. I soon found he was a most caring and thoughtful mentor to his postdocs. The environment Steve and others (Benditt, Reidy, Clowes, et al) had developed by the mid 1980s was outstanding, a sweet spot of endeavour, skill, innovation and collaboration. Steves brilliance stood out from that. We learned so much from him about the nascent field of vascular biology, synthesized from his own vision and robust discussions with everybody. Postdocs spread Steve’s influence on vascular biology worldwide, for me to AVBS with his friends Julie and Gordon Campbell. Shockingly to me, Steve is now gone, but his mark on us and on vascular biology will remain, and we can continue to celebrate him. Condolences to Barbara, Havi, Hillel and to the Schwartz lab diaspora."

Rod Dilley,
University of Western Australia, Perth 

"I first got to know Steve when he invited me out for a special lecture honoring the memory of Earl Benditt almost 15 years ago. Right off the bat, it was clear that Steve was a really, really unique person, sometimes so interested in talking (and lots of talking) science that it was overwhelming. In recent years, he somehow found out that my sister had moved to the state of Washington and he always seemed to know when I was coming for a visit. He would make extraordinary efforts to meet up and talk science, to introduce me to others at UW, etc, that even my sister and niece, who are not scientists, got to know something about Steve. I really appreciate his big heart and his big passion. These traits sometimes got him into a bit of trouble at times, but we all know that he meant well. He leaves quite a legacy."

Gwen Randolph,
Washington University in St Louis 

"Steve was a one of a kind research mentor to me. Always provocative and challenging. I remember learning how to write research grants from Steve; my drafts going several rounds covered in red ink with his blunt but correct comments and edits! He cared so much about research and cared about us in his own unique ways. A staunch atheist Jew (we had several discussions about this and all sorts of philosophical issues), he nevertheless traveled with Barbara from Seattle to Ann Arbor to be at my daughter's Bat Mitzva! And finally a true credit to his mentoring, is the vast number of Steve's former trainees who went on to make prominent contributions to vascular biology throughout the world. Clearly the mold used to make Steve is broken; he was unique and is sorely missed!"

David Gordon,
University of Michigan 

"My memories of Steve are very confused at this time. He was every bit the character people are describing. He was also amazingly gentle, compassionate generous and kind. I have worked with many collaborators and some are easier to work with than others. I don’t have a single bad memory of Steve and I enjoyed EVERY conversation/debate I had with him. It feels like I have lost a very dear avuncular uncle."

Lyn M Powell,
Lynx Bioconsulting 

"Steve was a brilliant and very successful advocate for vascular biology world wide and made Seattle and UW one of the world leading centres of vascular biology in its formative years. Seattle was really humming when Steve and Russell were in full flight. His personal and professional contribution to VB will be fondly remembered and never forgotten."

Peter Little,
School of Pharmacy University of Queensland and former President Australian VBS 

"Dr. Schwartz was a mentor for multiple members of my family. I have fond memories of a passover dinner at his house when I was a teenager."

Samson Koelle,
University of Washington 

"Our memories of Steve go back many decades, commencing in 1978 when we spent 5 months in the Department of Pathology, University of Washington. We recall many interesting conversations and arguments with Steve about science and life in general. He was never dull and will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and love go out to Barbara and family."

Julie and Gordon Campbell,
University of Queensland, Australia 

"I first met Steve Schwartz almost forty years ago, when he delivered the lecture on inflammation to first-year medical students in the pathology course at the University of Washington. I had dutifully studied the assigned chapter in Robbins & Cotran, which remains the gold standard textbook for the field. I was astonished when he began his lecture by stating that everything my classmates and I had just spent hours poring over was wrong and began holding forth in a voice made for radio on a range of topics, some even relevant to medicine, but all fascinating nonetheless. I was impressed and entertained and came away looking at science and life from a different perspective, as was true for many subsequent cherished and thought provoking encounters. I never quite knew what to expect, disagreed with him more often than not, but always felt enlightened in one way or another. Lunch with Steve was an event; clear your calendar for the rest of the day. Dinner even more so. He was the best speaker, the most riveting lecturer, I had ever experienced in many years as a student and, later, an admiring colleague. He was instrumental in attracting top talent to Seattle. The late distinguished scientist, surgeon, and civic leader, Alec Clowes, told me that Steve was the reason why he moved from Harvard to the UW. I can think of no finer compliment. Steve leaves behind a long list of eminent trainees, international leaders in cardiovascular biology. At scientific conferences, a common greeting is, “You’re from the UW? You must know Steve Schwartz.” Indeed, I did, as I might wager did most of the university, much of Seattle, and quite possibly, half the Internet. He was a strong part of what made the UW and Seattle special. I thought he would outlive us all. It’s perhaps not surprising that nothing short of this merciless virus would be the thing that stopped him. His loss is enormous."

Marshall Horwitz,
The University of Washington 

"Very sad news indeed. I still can not believe it and still feel I will receive his phone call any moment. I was fortunate to have known Steve from the first week joining UW Bioengineering as a faculty. I was fortunate enough to have inherited his office and part of his lab. He was an brilliant and inspiring mentor for me, teaching me vascular biology, mentoring skills and research philosophy. He was a live library for me that he can quickly guide me to the important question for any research topic we chatted about. He became our family friend as well that we discuss pretty much everything and my boy always says Steve knows everything! He does! Big loss for us as a friend, mentees and community.... We all are going to miss him so much!"

Ying Zheng,
The University of Washington 

"I was Steve's postdoc from 1991 to 1996, and he had a major role in shaping me as a scientist. When I interviewed for my pathology residency in 1988, we argued ferociously, and I thought I would never be accepted in the UW's training program. I was so surprised when he began sending me vascular biology papers to read, his faxed copies arriving at the internal medicine wards where I was rotating. Who faxes papers to rotating medical students? Then he began leaving messages on my answering machine, telling me about recent breakthroughs in the lab and what a great time it was to be in science. Little by little, I began to see that this person would challenge me to become a better scientist than I thought possible. There is no way to summarize a person as complex as Steve, but I'll say this: I have never met a person with a finer mind, a greater passion for ideas, or who had a greater love for science. Our challenge will be to pass the best of Steve on to the next generation."

Chuck Murry,
The University of Washington 

"During my first postdoc period at UW in Seattle from 1981 to 1982, I learned from senior scientists, such as Russel Ross and Steven Schwartz. I remember Steve as an approachable person with warmth towards young colleagues. He stimulated discussions with an open mind and listened to others. His example encouraged me to trust myself and think on my own, with respect to others. Saddened by the news, I owe to him, with thankfulness."

Kari Alitalo,
University of Helsinki 

"By bringing me to UW as a new post-doc, Steve opened up the fabulous world of scientific research for me. I have always felt indebted to him. Condolences to Barbara and his family."

Douglas Coffin, Ph.D. Professor of Molecular Genetics,
University of Montana 

"Steve was an original one-of-a-kind person you remember all your life. His unique style led to sometimes acerbic, often hilarious insights on science and life."

Behrooz Sharifi,
Cedars-Sinai Med. Ctr.

"This is a terrible loss to the scientific community but also a great loss to science trainees. Dr. Schwartz was the program director of a vascular biology T32 training program, supported by the NIH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, at the University of Washington for more than 40 years. Steve was the singular program director for many years. He was passionate about research trainees and the scientific future of the field. To say he was an innovator, and out of the box thinker does not do him justice. He was a giant in the field. I was his T32 program officer for years and heard first hand of his devotion and passion for training and students. He will be missed. My thoughts and condolences go to his family, colleagues and trainees."

Jane Scott,
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH

"So sad to hear the news. Steve was a true trailblazer and a brilliant scientist. I learnt so much from his lectures and articles, and my animated discussions with him. He was clearly one of a kind. This is such a loss to our community. My deepest condolences to his family."

Rama Natarajan,
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, California

"Another giant falls. RIP, Dr. Schwartz — and peace and strength to your family."

Jon Jackson,
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine

Wow, so sad. Steve was a giant in so many ways and influenced so many people. He was a scientific provocateur and seemed to relish the role. Steve could be insightful, stubborn, right and wrong, often in the space of a couple of sentences, but it was always worth listening to him and engaging with him. I remember being invited to UW many years ago and have Steve question just about everything I said about the work we were doing. It was exhausting but as always, rewarding, and I learned so much. We’re going to miss you Steve.

Chris Hughes,
UC Irvine


"I was fortunate enough to be a trainee with Steve in the 90s. I remember the scientifc discussions and the lab meetings. I remember fondly the lunch-time discussions. Steve truly encouraged critical thinking and was always encouraging us trainees to collaborate and question. Steve truly created a community of excellent scientists. Peace be upon him."


Uriel Mayankar,

"My introduction to Steve was at the first FASEB meeting I attended as a Pathology resident. I was presenting in a platform session and there was this large guy coming right down the aisle toward me holding an even larger video camera and light system (mounted on his shoulders). He stood right in front of me, recording the entire presentation. I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or flabbergasted. Over the ensuing years I learned to put up with his unusual "characteristics" and controversial pronouncements for the reward of discussing science with him. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the literature in a broad range of fields. It was an education to talk to him. His passion for teaching the next generation was perhaps his most inspiring quality. In addition to all of the vascular biologists he trained directly and those of us he inspired, the Vasculata course will be his legacy, hopefully for generations to come. He will be missed!"

Bill Muller,
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

"Between undergrad at UW and grad school at OHSU I worked in Steve's lab in the late 80s early 90s, with Mark Majesky, and collaborated with many others. The atmosphere there; the intensity, the excitement, the high expectations, and group support led me away from writing and drew me deep into a love affair with science. Steve was tough as nails about science and evidence, but sweet as a teddy bear when you needed it. I used to see Hillel and Havi around the lab back then, and would occasionally house sit when the family was on vacation, so I got to know Steve a little bit outside of our work, which made me appreciate and respect his desire, and his way to do great work. He will be missed. My best to his family during this very difficult time."

Adam Evans,
Bayer Crop Science, St Louis, MO

"Steve was my postdoc mentor in 1981-82. He was an exceptional mentor who shaped my professional future and his death raises many thoughts. He was an unusual man, very bright, knowledgeable, imaginative, generous, provocative.


Steve was not always an easy person to deal with but he brought out the best in many of us by stimulating our creativity and by provoking us to reconsider much of what we thought we knew. For him, there was no limit to what science could accomplish, and he was rightly proud that he trained a group of postdocs in that spirit.

Steve had another side to his personality. He was a warm and generous friend. I'll never forget how he and Barbara welcomed us to their home and introduced us to life in the US when we moved to Seattle in 1981, and I'll always remember the good times with Steve, in Seattle, in Sweden and elsewhere over many years.

As a mentor, Steve made me a scientist. As a friend, he touched my heart. I owe him a lot."

Goran Hansson,
Karolinska Institutet and the Royal Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden

"I was saddened to hear that Steve passed away last week. He was a truly great mentor to me when I was a PhD student in his lab during the mid-90’s and strongly supported my development as a scientist. The I-wing was such a wonderful training environment for a young graduate student, with Steve pushing everyone to think creatively and passionately about their work. I didn’t realize what a special place his lab and I-wing were until I left Seattle for my post-doc in Boston. I feel very fortunate to have received my early training with him, and even to this day, he still influences how I view science and especially mentorship. Steve will be greatly missed, and my deepest condolences to Barbara, Havi, Hillel and his extended family."

Karen Yee,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"My mother was just visiting from Germany when Steve came for a welcome BBQ to our house, before the Vasculata Meeting at Dartmouth. Steve loved her cake so much....what a gourmet, wonderful multi-talented and multi-interested man with so much love and passion in his heart we have lost...You can see many of the photos he has taken on his flickr account (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vasculata/)"

Armin Helisch,
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

"To the Schwartz family:

You may not know me, but I have had the honor to hold many scientific exchanges (and some meetings) with Stephen in the 90s of the last century while working in the pharmaceutical company now known as GSK.

We had a common interest - the vascular system and blood vessels biology that are a major contributor to atherosclerosis.

I admired Stephen's original ideas and daring leaps into “out of the box” hypotheses leaving the rest of the community far behind, his approach to science was an important mentoring experience which I cherish and transmit to others.

Stephen was special not only in science. We held discussions on biblical themes, social trends and constitutional laws - Stephen was a “ferocious” defender of the first amendment!!! Dry contemporary issue as it turns out!

I am very saddened to hear of the loss of this special, great scientist and human being."

Giora Feuerstein,
Biotechnology and Nanomedicine

"I dropped by Steve's lab back in the 1990's to get some training that has served me well ever since. His first words to me were "who the heck are you and what are you doing in my laboratory?" But he didn't say "heck."

Steve was kind of a larger than life character who could provoke inform and delight you all within minutes.

He was always very generous in his mentoring of young researchers.

In recent years, he had a political discussion forum on his Facebook page, and boy, did folks mix it up in there. I think he enjoyed watching us squabble.

I love him very much and it is going to take a while for me to get used to a world without him."

Jerry Ricks,
University of Washington

"Steve was truly larger than life. He took a chance on hiring me @ age 16 on the thinnest of leads: I got super super lucky! After several years of lab aid work and a year as a tech after college, his letter of recommendation assuredly got me into the next stage of school. I will always remember hilarious lab lunches, navy booze, and his stories of being the CO in charge of a military hospital at night at some point in his training. He worked hard to recruit faculty and post-docs and frequently spoke admiringly of others during lab meetings. He was an early leader in promoting under-represented minority individuals in pathology and research. His mission back in those years was nothing less than to eliminate atherosclerosis. He loved art and photography. While he excelled at verbal repartee and could be refreshingly honest, there was always a positive substratum and tone underlying the brilliant, articulate discourse."

David Koelle,
University of Washington

"Steve was amazing, intimidating, had science/medicine/pathology/cell biology vision. Never forgot anything. Vastly energetic. He was my thesis advisor. Someone told me I was the first and only student to get a Ph.D. with him. He then broke the mold. Maybe I did not turn out as planned. He had several successful post docs, I know them all. He taught me how to argue and how to write. He was a constant and trusted advisor to me and scores of others. I ate and celebrated life stuff at his home. I pruned his fruit trees. I know Barbara, Havi and Hillel. I offer my condolences. It's sad, he's gone, but what a man. I subscribed to his blog “The Ave.” I’ll miss that – maybe someone will take it up. Someone should."

Chuck Selden,
MIST Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, NIH, DHHS

"I was a post-doc in Steve's Lab from 1993-1995 when he set up NABVO. He was great and generous boss, and very serious about science. I still remenber the card on his office door saying 'Door is closed, but open for discussion (anytime)'"

Junichi Taguchi,
Tokyo Midtown Clinic

"We ran into Steve and his family on Vancouver Island last Summer, he invited us on board his boat, and we had a fascinating conversation about everything from Science and Physics to politics and History. It was the first time I met him and he became a sort of an instant mentor to me. Over the year that followed we both enjoyed a period of expansion from sharing ideas about the Middle East and peace prospects. Rest in Peace my good friend."

Firas Mansour,
University of Waterloo

"I was a postdoc in Michael Reidy's lab at UW from 1989-91. Steve was the initial impetus for me to go to Seattle: I was not from the academic mainstream but at a conference he said to me, quite casually, "you should come to Seattle." So I did. I quickly learned that you either defended your position or got that faintly disappointed look that it was worth any amount of reading, learning and thinking to avoid. He had a great sense of humour too - I remember him complaining about the noise in the corridor outside his office (Michael and I were conducting an impromptu cricket coaching session) and, in Radio Shack a few days later, I spotted a Noise Detector. It had coloured lights for different levels of sound intensity. I thought this would be perfect outside Steve's office, so bought one. Then, on an impulse, I changed the sign on it from Noise Detector to Bullsh*t Detector. Steve's roar of laughter far outdid any amount of noise anyone else had made. I will miss Steve greatly."

Chris Jackson,

One of the most fearless, outspoken and brilliant minds in medicine I ever met, with an infectious joy for everything that was related to his work. And with a genuine interest in people and their lives.

Matthias Barton
University of Zurich