Remembering One of Our Own: PEOPLE's Alison Schwartz, Lost to Coronavirus at 29
PEOPLE's own Alison Schwartz died of complications from the coronavirus April 28. She was just 29 years old.
PEOPLE's own Alison Schwartz died of complications from the coronavirus on April 28. She was just 29 years old.
During her 10 years at PEOPLE, Ali consistently dazzled her colleagues with her creativity and humor and touched everyone's lives in some way, quickly rising up the ranks from an editorial intern to become director of digital platforms for the brand, overseeing PEOPLE's Snapchat Discover channel among other high profile projects.
"Ali was always the first person I went to for brilliant ideas and creative solutions," says Zoë Ruderman, editor of PEOPLE Digital. "But more than that, Ali was a truly wonderful person to be around."
Here, her family members remember their beloved Alison.
Alison Brooke Schwartz, age 29, who rolled her eyes each time you spelled her name with two Ls, died April 28, 2020, after a courageous three-week battle with COVID-19. Alison was not one to ever lose a fight, but this time coronavirus made sure that she would not see her 30th birthday on May 18.
Alison was a gifted yet humble writer, who began her work in journalism at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Later, she became known to many for her articles in the University of Florida periodical, The Independent Florida Alligator, and for her dishing on celebrities in PEOPLE Magazine. After graduating with high honors she began her career with PEOPLE as an intern and quickly rose in the ranks to director of digital platforms.
But Alison was much more than a writer. She was a ray of sunshine to her co-workers, her friends and her family, even during challenging times. She made everyone she met dissolve into giggles at her irreverent sense of humor.
And she will be forever famous for her prolific use of credit cards. Upon the news of her death, stocks in Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade and Yankee Candle tanked. Undoubtedly, she is shopping on heaven’s Etsy for angel wings, looking for a frequent shopper discount.
Alison never met an animal she didn’t smother with love. She fostered rabbits in college, pawned one off on her parents so she could rescue another, and doted on her family’s brood of guinea pigs, exotic birds and Shih Tzus.
She was remarkably generous. One of her final deeds (which she would be horrified to learn is now public), was to send one of her college roommates, now a nurse, a gift card to thank her for her work in the trenches against the coronavirus. That friend would use the card to buy more protective masks for her team, who are fighting the disease that would eventually kill Alison.
She is survived by her parents, Richard and Robin Schwartz of Wellington, Florida, her brother Dr. Adam Schwartz of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, her PEOPLE family, her scores of best friends, and all the animals she had yet to love.
She is surely with her beloved grandma, playing Rummikub and indulging in gossip about everyone they both knew. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Dreyfoos School of the Arts Foundation Alison Schwartz Memorial Scholarship.
Alternatively, you can spend an inordinate amount of money shopping for holiday decorations, which she adored, or making pumpkin-flavored baked goods, her favorite regardless of season.
A scholarship in Alison’s name at her high school, The Dreyfoos School of the Arts, has been set up by her parents Robin and Richard Schwartz and her brother Dr. Adam Schwartz. To donate, click here and select Alison Schwartz Memorial Scholarship.