Joseph “Joe” Allen Schwartz loved to build. He came by it naturally as the oldest son of Joe H. and Frances L. (Coblentz) Schwartz. He was soon followed by five more siblings, Albert James “Jim” Schwartz, Mary Ann (Schwartz) Dynes, Michael Schwartz, Myron Schwartz, and Herb Schwartz. This full house loved big family gatherings, Southern Gospel music, and the Lord.
Joe built or worked on many of the buildings in and around his hometown of Berne, IN. After graduating from South Adams High School, he first traveled throughout the state working on various construction projects for Rainbow Construction and then worked at the Wayne Reusser Lumberyard in Berne, IN. In 1977, Joe and his father founded Joe H. Construction. Joe eventually bought the company outright from his father and throughout the life of the company, Joe built homes, factories, and even parts of Swiss Village. He was also quick to help others in need, doing small home repairs for those less fortunate and “forgetting” to send an invoice.
Joe built a family with the love of his life, Janell Schwartz. They began dating in May 1976 and Joe proposed at midnight on New Year’s Day in 1977 as the church bells rang in the new year. They were married in June 1977. Their first son, Joel, was born three years later, followed by Jared, Joshua, and Jay. The four Schwartz boys kept their parents busy with their many activities. Later, Joel married Jessica Muterspaugh and they had Micah, Zachary, and Eleanor; Joshua married Stacy Matteson and they had Cambria, Emerson, Brylee, and Lucy; Jay married Emily Hall and they had Clara, Annabelle, and Noelle. Altogether, this quiet man and his beloved Janell made their own full house with 4 sons, 3 daughters-in-law, and 10 grandchildren. Joe loved having his family visit and usually ended each visit with “I love you! Come back soon!”
Joe loved Christ and served Him throughout his community. For many years he served as a Sunday School teacher, Jr. Quizzing coach, board trustee, and deacon at the First Missionary Church of Berne, IN. In his later years, he taught Sunday school at the First Mennonite Church and helped with remodeling the church offices there. A quiet man, he rose every morning before the sun to read the newspaper, eat his toast, and study his Bible. He could also be frequently found listening to music—especially Southern Gospel male quartets.
Joe went home to heaven on Sunday, December 3, 2023, at the age of 67. His family misses him deeply and yet rejoices in his homecoming. A music-filled celebration of life service will be held Friday, December 8 at 10:30 am at the First Mennonite Church (566 W. Main St., Berne, IN.) Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 7, 2023, from 3:00 to 8:00 pm at the First Mennonite Church in Berne, IN, and one hour before the funeral service on Friday.
Memorials are requested in Joe’s memory to the Berne Public Library Children’s Area (which he helped build) or Forgotten Children Worldwide at www.forgottenchildren.org (which he helped support.)
Arrangements by Zwick & Jahn Funeral Homes, Yager-Kirchhofer Chapel of Berne, Indiana