A memorial gathering will be held in Atlanta on Saturday, April 12, for Joel Schwartz, the longtime cable, programmer and online executive who died on March 17 at age 55, some 15 months after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Born in 1958 in Seattle, he graduated with a dual degree from Seattle University. He entered the television industry at KGMB, a CBS broadcast affiliate in Honolulu, Hawaii, according to a tribute posted on the CTAM New York Chapter LinkedIn page by former CTAM colleague Steve Goldmintz.
Schwartz joined Oceanic Cable (Time Warner Cable) in Hawaii for about four years before moving to New York City with A+E Television Networks, where he spent 10 years, including being the CTAM chapter president.
He then ventured into new technology, ahead of the curve, by moving West to Silicon Valley, where he was employed by Excite and then Cisco. Building on that new technology knowledge, he returned east, to Philadelphia, to help Time Warner's AOL Broadband business before returning to cable affiliate work, this time with Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, a place where he would call his new home. He enjoyed his independence and his life in Atlanta, according to his brother, David, who said a fall off the treadmill during a run led to the devastating diagnosis of brain cancer.
He later worked EchoStar before becoming director of affiliate sales and marketing for ReelzChannel, while based in Atlanta.
His friend Nick Febrizio, senior vice president of distribution at Olympusat, described him as “a genuine friend to all. A true gentlemen and a real class act with a natural ability to welcome everyone he would meet and to put a smile on your face.”
In addition to his brother, of Brick, N.J., Joel Schwartz is survived by his mother, Jane Schwartz of Estero, Fla;, his father, Larry Schwartz, and stepmother, Jackie Schwartz, of Seattle; his sister, Karen Cooper, and brother in law, Dean Cooper, of Silver Spring, Md.; three nieces and his caregiver, Latonjia Nelson Smith. (This story was updated to correct the day of the memorial.)