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In Memoriam: Toby Schwartz

Rest in Peace, Toby Schwartz.

For anyone that didn’t know Toby, she was an avid Smirkus fan from the very beginning.

Along with her husband Hank, Toby typically attended 15-20 Big Top Tour shows each year. The couple had their favorite seats in the tent and everyone on the set knew where they were by hearing their familiar laughs, shouts of encouragement to the troupers, and notable ill-timed clapping!

Each summer the Smirkus Troupers were invited into their home on a jump day to eat more Ben & Jerry’s ice cream than humanly possible, gorge themselves on home-baked goods, eat an overflowing bounty of fruit, swim in their pond, and most favorite of all – make their own glass creations at Toby and Hank’s glass shop, Hot Glass Works. Toby and Hank would deliver their “works of art” later in Tour for them to take home with them.

Each year they would make 100 or more Circus Smirkus glass suncatchers and give them to us to sell and consider the income a donation. We are so grateful to Toby for everything that she gave to Smirkus over these many years, and we are terribly saddened to hear of her passing.

It’s hard to imagine Hank without his Toby.

Toby and Hank Schwartz, avid Smirkus fans

Toby Ruth Schwartz: 1954-2017:
Peacefully, with grace and strength, and surrounded by her family, Toby Ruth Schwartz (Goldman), on Sat October the 14th, 2017. She is resting now in love – among birches with a pleasant view – and was passed first by her parents Irene Goldman (Strauss) and Ira Gerald Goldman, twin brother Gabriel Rutabaga Goldman, and avian companion Gravy.

Toby is missed and loved by her husband Hank Schwartz, children Aurina Lily Hartz and Elijah Gabriel Schwartz as well as their families including new granddaughter Hanaleia Belle Hartz, and by cherished friends from over the many years. There will be no visiting hours or services. Donations and cards are welcome, and can be sent to 23 Goldman Ln, Jamaica, VT 05343.

Well known as a master glassblower, expert at etching, graphite carving, and stained-glass, she had work shown across the country, sold in magazines and published in books, and displayed in the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village. Most likely, you would know her as part of the dynamic duo with her husband Hank – Hot Glass Works in Jamaica, VT – where the longer you stay the more you see. A DH Lawrence quote handily sums up the quality and passion that they put into creating their Heirlooms Of Tomorrow:

“Things men have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing for long years. And for this reason, some old things are lovely warm still with the life of forgotten men [and women] who made them.”

Toby was an artist and craftswoman in every sense of the word. Proficient in pottery, precious metal clay, drawing, photography, gardening, jewelry, painting, among other skills – she was published for her Rebus artwork (using rubber stamps) and folk-art drawing collage of envelopes. If you’ve met her, you may have been asked to donate clothing labels to one of her quilts that were always within reach and in progress, or had the chance to sample some of her excellent baked goods from handed-down recipes.

62 years young, she was clearly magical beyond this plane. A believer in Astrology, Tarot, Reiki, and Messaging, she would happily ask for a communication for anyone – or sit down to read and analyze your handwriting. She loved the world and the Earth, consistently working with Environmental Learning for the Future (ELF) and Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS), and advocating to reuse-reduce-recycle. She belly-danced, played the dulcimer, could speak in a handful of languages, and could easily be spotted driving the “star-car”. Toby was legendary for being able to remember everyone’s names, their children’s ages, favorite ice-cream flavor, and the best recent one-liner joke – even if she started with the punchline by accident.

It’s hard to say goodbye while you’re busy saying hello. Love you.

Regarding a few logistics, there will be no burial ceremony, but people are welcome to visit the Schwartz home and pay respects when Hank is there. Donations are being put into a fund that will go towards a gravestone unveiling and celebration of life on the anniversary next year. If there is any money left over, it will be considered for a scholarship program for education and the arts. Donations can be made here:

Toby and Hank with the 2017 Big Top Tour Troupers