Dr. Otto John Schwarz, 80

Dr. Otto John Schwarz, age 80, Professor Emeritus in the Division of Botany at the University of Tennessee, passed away with acceptance at his home on April 4, 2023. He was born on October 19, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, to Otto and Gertrude Dietze Schwarz. Otto was a devoted husband to his wife of 57 years, Roberta or “Bobbie”, and a loving father and Opa to his daughter, Gretchen, son, Otto Johann, daughter-in-law, Monica, and grandchildren, Maxwell and Zoe. His gregarious presence will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and students.

Otto had a distinguished career in academia, having attended the University of Florida and North Carolina State University, where he specialized in plant physiology and biochemistry. After completing an NIH postdoctoral appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee where he served as a professor for 34 years until his retirement in 2005. Dr. Schwarz was known for his passion for teaching and dedication to his students. He finished his tenure there as the Director of the Division of Biology.

After retiring, Otto and Bobbie turned a new page. They discovered a love for classical guitar and became active participants in the Knoxville Guitar Society and the local singer/songwriter community. They enjoyed playing guitar together, attending concerts and house parties. The pair also had a passion for boating and spent many happy hours on their trawler, the Lorelei, with their dogs, Roxanne and then Seraphina, enjoying the beautiful scenery of East Tennessee in the company of their boating friends. Otto was also an avid gardener and took great pride in cultivating their yard into a veritable botanical garden.

Weatherford Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. No services will be held at this time. Online condolences may be left at weatherfordmortuary.com.

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