Immigration attorney, champion for the underdog, and dedicated family man Dale Marvin Schwartz, 79, of Sandy Springs, died suddenly and peacefully on Aug. 27. Born to parents Florence and Sanford Schwartz on Aug. 20, 1942, in Columbus, Georgia, Dale graduated from Winder Barrow High School, entered college at age 17, and ultimately received a bachelor’s and law degree from the University of Georgia. He was married for 56 years to his college sweetheart, Susan Ellis Schwartz, and adored his three daughters, Lori (Allan) Peljovich, Leslye Schwartz, and Laine (Greg) Posel, his nine grandchildren, and his sweet puppy, Ruthie.
Dale was a force to be reckoned with. In his early years, he worked with Alex Cooley to promote rock concerts at Lake Spivey and interned for Senator Richard Russell in Washington, D.C., before being recruited by Governor Carl Sanders to Troutman Sanders, where he became a partner and head of the immigration group. In 1995 he opened his own specialty immigration law practice, in which he remained active until his death. He was an adjunct professor of law at Emory for many years.
Dale was a tireless advocate for immigrants, refugees, and those without a voice. He joined John Lewis at the lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville, worked tirelessly to acquire a pardon for Leo Frank, represented the Mariel Cubans in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, and started the Secret Santa program for children in the Fulton County DFCS system. Dale lent his heart, voice and leadership skills to a plethora of organizations: He served as president of JF&CS Atlanta, National Board Chair of HIAS, Atlanta Board Chair and National Commissioner at the ADL, president of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), co-founder of the American Immigration Council nonprofit, and founder of the Young Democrats chapter at UGA.
Dale’s passing leaves a great hole in the hearts of many. He had friends throughout the world because of his numerous hobbies, including photography, HAM radio, and model train collecting. He will be remembered most for his larger-than-life personality, wit, storytelling, travel adventures, and his not-for-primetime jokes. He was a leader, advocate, mentor, teacher, colleague, friend. But most importantly, he was a son, brother, husband, father, and proud grandfather.
Dale was preceded in death by his father, Sandy. He is survived by his mother, Florence and brother Ronnie (Andree Kosak) Schwartz of Athens, Georgia; his wife, “Suzi,” whom he adored and with whom he traveled the world; three daughters and nine grandchildren, as well as his sisters-in-law Helene Schwartz and Barbara Kalmanson, and a number of nieces and nephews who loved their Uncle Dale. May his memory be for a blessing.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Dale’s name to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society or to the Jewish Family and Career Services of Atlanta, Georgia. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
- Jewish Family and Career Services
- Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care
- Emory Law School
- John Lewis
- Anti-Defamation League
- Secret Santa program
- Fulton County DFCS system
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
- American Immigration Council
- Young Democrats
- Florence Schwartz
- Ronnie Schwartz
- Suzi Schwartz