People who were not born on the Cape and Islands but somehow or other come to live here, are often called "washashores." But Beth Schwarzman didn't call herself that. She moved here from California with her young family, but she was no washashore.
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"We moved here from San Francisco. But we came here for the first time by sailboat," said Gary Schwarzman, Beth's husband. "Beth liked to say she's not a washashore on Cape Cod. She distinctly remembers rowing ashore. Which we did in Woods Hole in the late 70s, at the conclusion of a trip down the bottom half of North America, down the west coast, through the canal and up the East Coast of the US with our two daughters, who were small at the time."
In a way, Beth Schwarzman arrived in typical fashion -- for her. She's remembered as a professional geologist, a naturalist, a writer and educator. But she also was an adventurer. She filled her life with journeys across oceans and hikes over mountains. She was as comfortable sleeping under a starry sky, or inside a flimsy tent, as she was in her own bed.
People remember Beth Schwarzman as energetic and positive, committed to preserving the natural world and sharing its stories. She was fond of saying, "Every rock has a story," and if someone showed her a rock, she would tell its story.
Beth Schwarzman died last month while leading her 14th rafting trip down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon. Her husband Gary says Beth had a stroke and was taken to a hospital in Flagstaff. She recovered well, and was set to be discharged, when she suffered a heart attack and could not be revived.
"After her death, one of the feelings is just -- universal within our family and among her friends -- is, how will we ever find out stuff now if we can't ask beth?"
A memorial gathering is planned for Beth Schwarzman for this Sunday, Oct. 7, at 3 p.m. at Falmouth Academy.
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