Lucy Sontag obituary
Lucy Schwartz Sontag was born Dec. 27, 1928 in Springfield, Mass., to Blossom and Roy Schwartz. The family of eight mostly lived in Sleepy Eye, Minn. As a young girl, Lucy had a lot of responsibility with helping take care of her four younger siblings. Lucy’s family moved to Pasadena, Calif. for one year, which she thoroughly enjoyed. At 16, she won a blue ribbon in the Minnesota State Fair for her fine work of sewing a woman’s suit for the 4-H competition. In high school and college, Lucy was also active with the debate team.
For college, Lucy chose Public Health Nursing at the University of Minnesota, which was a unique program of study at that time, and required a five year commitment that included summers. She travelled to Europe as part of her studies with the SPAN program, Student Project for Amenity among Nations. She spent one summer learning about the public health system in England. After the program ended, she hitch-hiked to neighboring countries. From her early years, Lucy cultivated her love of travel.
In a biology class, she met David Sontag, the love of her life. Lucy and David were married during a snowstorm on March 25, 1952. After graduation, Lucy and Dave hitch-hiked for three months in Europe for their honeymoon - before Dave’s year residency in Long Beach, Calif. The couple maintained lifelong friendships in Germany, Austria, and England. Later, memorable trips included Budapest, Scandinavia, Greece, Scotland, Mexico, Ireland, China, Australia, New Zealand, the Galapagos, Indonesia, and Kenya.
Lucy and Dave chose Lake City to start Dave’s medical practice. They cherished their community while raising their five children on the shores of Lake Pepin, and avidly supporting numerous activities. She was involved with her book club, garden club, and the Historical Society. Lucy and Dave were dedicated members of First Lutheran Church, and had many wonderful lifelong Lake City friendships and connections. They often spent time in the countryside, hiking, biking, having picnics, and hunting morel mushrooms and wildflowers. They also had lifelong season tickets at Northrup Auditorium for classical and modern dance programs.
The Sontags were frequent campers in the BWCA, and at Camp du Nord, a YMCA camp near Ely - starting in 1963 when the camp opened. Many fond memories were also made at Wolf Island on Lake Vermillion. In the 80s Lucy co-founded Great River Travel and she accompanied groups on their travels. As seniors, Lucy and Dave rode bicycles on the former railroad paths, particularly the river valley trails. Lucy enjoyed bicycling with the Cycling Sisters into her eighties.
Lucy’s early days in nursing were with the Los Angeles County public health nursing service, Dakota County, and later as Lake City School District and Wabasha County public health nurse. Lucy’s career culminated with her position as nurse for the school district for fifteen years, during which she was instrumental in HIV AIDS education. Lucy oversaw the administration of school immunizations for the county; she led the development of the first computerized immunization database in Minnesota. She was honored at the 100th anniversary of the U of M Nursing School for her achievement as it became a model for the statewide database. Lucy is one to keep connections; she continued to meet with her U of M nursing class for sixty plus years, with eight attending their final gathering in 2014. She was a dedicated member of School Nurses of Minnesota, SNOM, which held yearly conferences.
Lucy is survived by her brother R. Stuart Schwartz; three sons, Hugh (Peggy), Mark (Patti), Dean (Jenny) and two daughters, Heidi (Tim Dorn) and Maria; ten grandchildren - Nicholas and Andrew; Philip, Peter and Allison; Alexandra, Anthony and Caroline, and Gabriel and Lucy Rae; and eight great-grandchildren - Lucy Grace and Hope; Evelyn and Annette; Willow, Ezekiel, Remington, and Phoenix. Lucy was preceded in death by her parents Roy and Blossom, brothers Kern, Bill, and Rex, sisters Mary and May, and beloved husband David.
Lucy’s memorial service will be held in the summer of 2021. Her preferred memorials are First Lutheran Church, Lake City Historical Society, School Nurses Organization of Minnesota, or to a charity of your choice.
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Cards may be sent to Hugh and Peggy Sontag 4084 Crystal Bridge Dr., Carbondale, CO 81623. Arrangements are being handled by Mahn Family Funeral Home, Anderson-Peterson Chapel in Lake City. Online condolences can be left for the family at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com.