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September 14th 1928
July 25th 2017
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Our friendship began in Munich
It was 1977, I believe. I was living in Munich, Germany. Gary, a musician friend in California, wrote me that his friend Colene Schwandt was coming to Munich to study voice with a famous teacher there, and would I like to meet her? Yes, of course, I wrote back. There ensued correpondence with Colene, and we agreed that I'd meet her when she arrived at Munich's main railway station. Soon we were friends. I introduced her to other friends there. We went to concerts and recitals together, took sightseeing trips into the Bavarian countryside and visited such musical meccas as Salzburg, Austria (Mozart's birthplace). Eventually we would both return to California; her stay there was shorter than mine. Our friendship continued to develop as I got to know her family: husband Al, sons Craig and Bruce. Colene and Al eventually relocated to Dana Point, near my home in Laguna Beach, so our friendship once again flourished with musical treats like the Aspen Music Festival and personal treats like a visit by our mutual Munich friend Emmi. The departure of dear Al was a deep loss to all; as years passed, once more Colene relocated, this time to San Marcos, near my present home in San Diego. Colene and I stayed in touch almost up to the end: we were contemplating another visit when Colene reached the end of her wonderful life. Through all our years of friendship, her warmth and generosity of spirit were a beacon of joy; like so many other friends of Colene's, I'll miss her - and never forget her.
Great Aunt Colene
In about 1964 Colene gave me a handmade blanket for Christmas. I have no idea why she did this as I don't think we had an extended gift plan in the family and Colene was my Great Aunt. Anyway, it was beautiful and included a tag that said "Made especially for you by Colene Schwandt" and I felt SO SPECIAL! I loved that blanket until I wore it completely out decades later.
I hadn't seen Colene in years but I appreciated her efforts to document the family tree and keep us all in contact. I remember her beautiful smile and sincere warmth toward everyone.
Rest in peace Aunt Colene.
Love, Peg Rees (daughter of Jacki Rees)
Patti Cotton McNeily
The world has just lost a bright light in Colene's passing. Her dedication to family, love of music, and curiosity and exuberance for life is unparalleled.
During her life, Colene served as teacher, mentor, and inspiration (and second mom!) to so many of us, not only through her musicianship, but in her commitment to making a brighter, more beautiful world through contributing her gifts in this area and beyond.
My hope is that we who have been touched by her can carry forward some of Colene's spirit through emulating her dedication and sharing it with others in the same way.
With great memories carried in my heart,
Patti Cotton McNeily
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