Obituary: Alice W. Schweitzer — Former musical director and longtime Darien resident
Alice W. Schweitzer, 89, a resident of Darien, Connecticut for 47 years, died peacefully in Stamford Hospital, on July 2, 2017, after a brief illness. During her final hours the beloved matriarch was surrounded by the members of her family, and retained her famous sense of humor to the very end. Alice is survived by her husband of 62 years, Fritz L. Schweitzer, Jr., and their children: Helen Sterling and her spouse, Drake, of Novato, California, Mary Alice Canaday and her husband, Ed, of Darien, and Fritz L. Schweitzer III and his wife, Meghan, also of Darien. She adored her six grandchildren, Seth, Shea, Allie, Declan, Brennan and Remi.
Alice was born in Youngstown, Ohio, the daughter of Judge Clifford M. Woodside and Effie (Bloom) Woodside. Alice had a lifelong love of music. When she was just 16 years old, she played saxophone in a male professional swing band at the Blue Moon Ballroom in Tucson, Arizona, replacing the young men serving in the Second World War. Later, Alice and her two sisters, Mary and Jane, enjoyed a professional singing career as the “Woodside Sisters” trio. Their billings included stints on the Arthur Godfrey and Ed Sullivan TV shows, as well as night club and theater appearances throughout the country, including the RKO Palace Theater in New York City. The Woodside Sisters trio eventually retired as marriages and raising families took center stage. Alice remained active in music, however, initially joining the Sweet Adelines, a regional barbershop chorus, and later joining and then directing the Connecticut Choraleers. Under her direction, the Choraleers put on several professional-grade performances in Darien, under the auspices of the Darien Arts Council. Alice also performed as part of the “Swing Fever” quartet, which included Linda Van Norstrand, Cathy Gale and Fred Catto. The “Swing Fever” group performed with the Tony Lavorgna band and appeared at theaters in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.
Alice enjoyed the outdoors and, during her younger days, was an accomplished skier, sailor and scuba diver. Many also claim she made the world’s best cherry pie. She will be dearly missed.
Services will be private, limited to family members.
For those interested in making a charitable contribution in Alice’s memory, the family suggests the Stamford Hospital Foundation, 1351 Washington Blvd. Ste 202, Stamford, CT 06902 (stamfordhospitalfoundation.org).