More than 1,000 persons gathered yesterday at the Washington Hebrew Congregation in Northwest Washington to pay tribute to David H. Schwartz, husband of D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) and a prominent real estate lawyer, who committed suicide on Wednesday.
"We come together in shock and grief," said Rabbi Joseph P. Weinberg. "We reach out this day in pain and love, for there is no way to explain. Each of us is responsible for our own life."
Schwartz, 48, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, D.C. police said. His body was discovered about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in a wooded area near his Northwest Washington house by a neighbor walking a dog. Two handguns -- one in his hand and one in a pocket -- were found.
A family spokesman said Schwartz had been depressed for more than a month and had been treated for depression in the past.
Mayor Marion Barry, Council Chairman David A. Clarke, Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.) and current and former council members joined mourners who included many of the city's prominent lawyers, D.C. school board members, relatives and friends of the Schwartzes.
David Schwartz's children -- Stephanie, 19, Hilary, 18, and Douglas, 16 -- read poems in honor of their father as their mother and other family members sat in front pews near the closed brown casket draped with a spray of white carnations. Three lawyers and friends of Schwartz gave personal remembrances.
"He was an irreplaceable friend," said Thomas F. Kaufman, a partner in the firm of Willkie Farr and Gallagher where Schwartz was a partner. "There was no better problem solver than David."
Kaufman, recalling an observation made by Schwartz's children, said Schwartz had "the soul of an artist." He said one of Schwartz's favorite sayings was "common sense wasn't really very common."
David J. Myerson, who met Schwartz when they were law students at Columbia University, recalled fondly the occasion in 1966 when Schwartz asked Myerson and his wife to join him on a blind date with the woman who would become his wife.
Schwartz, who served as counsel and secretary to the appointed council from 1970 to 1972, was active in his wife's political campaigns, serving as coordinator of her bids for the D.C. Board of Education, council and mayor.
Carol Schwartz's defeat by Barry in 1986, friends say, was a blow to the Schwartzes. A second shock hit when her mother died a short time later. And the death of his mother within the last year seemed to affect him profoundly, friends said.