Lee Schwartz, 95, retiring from Baldwin Community Thrift


Editor's note: "Getting to know our community is a new regular feature in the Star. Each person has a story to share, hobbies, experiences and wisdom learned from life. The Star is reaching out to people in the Lake County area of all ages and walks of life to interview. If readers would like to suggest a local area resident, or someone who works in the county to share their story, email Shanna Avery at shanna153@gmail.com. 

BALDWIN — For those who have been greeted so warmly the past 23 years by Lee Schwartz, manager at Baldwin Community Thrift Center, there is one more week to see her before she retires March 31.  

One would never be able to tell Schwartz is 95-years-old, especially the way she took to the dance floor during a retirement celebration thrown for her March 12, at the Peacock VFW Hall No. 5315.  

The night was filled with old country tunes played by a live band, and the hall was packed with people thanking Schwartz for her years of commitment to the community. 

Susie Bradford Tripp, whose husband, Kim,  played drums with the live band, said Schwartz is a treasure to Lake County. 

"Lee is an extremely approachable and kind-hearted woman. The thrift center has been a God-send to the community," Tripp said.  

Schwartz was extremely touched by all the people who turned out for her celebration.  

"The band played four hours straight and would not take a dime," she said. "I want to thank my many friends for the party. They were so sweet." 

The live country music was the perfect tribute, as Schwartz's favorite thing to do is dance, and her favorite music is country.  

"I have always been active all my life, and that makes a difference. I love to dance, and can be so tired, but when I hear music, I am ready to roll," she said. "I love country music. I am a country kid."  

Schwartz moved to Lake County from Muskegon with her husband in 1986.  

"I love the outdoors and my husband loved to hunt and fish. He didn't live very long after moving here. He died in 1991, but he had fun while he was here," she said.  

Schwartz said her favorite part about managing the Baldwin Community Thrift Center throughout the years was the people. 

"I love people, and have gotten so many friends from here," she said, also explaining everything aside from expenses at the thrift center goes back into the community, supporting such things as the pavilion, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and more.   

In addition to her love of dancing and her love of people, Schwartz also enjoys crafts, traveling with friends, keeping busy being outdoors in the sunshine and gardening.  

With 95 years of life experience, Schwartz has these words of wisdom:  

"Be kind to each other, be thoughtful, respectful. People can't be kind enough to others. Be patient. For crying out loud, life is too short." 

"The good Lord's been good to me," she said, reflecting on it all.