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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Monday, June 8, 2009


On her Facebook page, Freeman staff writer Bonnie Langston referred to our late colleague Blaise Schweitzer as a “gentle warrior.”

A more accurate description of Blaise, who died this past Friday at age 44 after a brief but brave battle with cancer, I can’t imagine.

Though occasionally gruff, especially in his fierce defense of union workers’ rights, Blaise was, indeed, a gentle man, and a gentleman. His role as Newspaper Guild president at the Freeman, meanwhile, earned him the “warrior” moniker, but never was he was more valiant of a warrior than during the battle against the disease that ultimately took his life.

Knowing, I assume, that he was losing his cancer fight, Blaise still came to work nearly every day after his diagnosis last Oct. 1, regardless of how both the disease and its treatment were ravaging his body. And he continued to bring to his job, until his body finally forbade it, the same dedication and passion that had been at the heart of his work ethic throughout his nearly 22 years at the Freeman.

With Blaise on the union side of the Freeman family throughout his tenure at the paper and me on the management side since late 1990, our professional relationship was, by nature, adversarial at times. But I hope he knew – and I want all readers of this blog to know – that I liked him as a person, and there never was a day when I didn’t respect his unwaveing commitments to his beliefs and to his craft.

Blaise was a man of many words, both written and spoken, but the two words Bonnie used to describe him on her Facebook page the night of his passing really said it all.

Rest in peace, gentle warrior.



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