Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 18
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
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Katherine Schwenker

Katherine Schwenker, 87, of Belle Mead, died April 29 peacefully at home.

Born in New York City, she grew up in Fredericksburg, Va., where she was a Virginia debutante. She studied ballet for many years at the dance department of the National Academy of Stage Training, performing at events in Washington, D.C. She later studied with Ernest Carlos in New York. She also performed for the USO during World War II.

A graduate of Mary Washington College, she worked for the United States War Department as a cryptographer prior to her marriage in 1943 to Robert F. Schwenker, who died in 1992. After the war, she moved with her husband to Philadelphia, where he studied at the University of Pennsylvania. They moved to the Princeton area in 1948.

While raising a family Mrs. Schwenker undertook various volunteer efforts. She was a founder of Princeton’s Youth Employment Service, which operated for over 25 years providing jobs and experience to youth and support to local households and businesses. She was also a trustee of the Van Harlingen Historical Society, advisor to the Planning Board in Montgomery Township, a member of the Montgomery Bicentennial Committee, a founding member of the Montgomery Women’s Club, a volunteer for the Boy Scouts and the American Red Cross, and an active volunteer with the PTA and local school system.

She was a longtime parishioner at St. Paul’s Church in Princeton and later at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Skillman, where she was a charter member of the church’s Women’s Club and a Eucharistic minister to the homebound.

Predeceased also by a brother, Joseph Resch, and sister, Anne Zaleski, she is survived by two sons, Robert Schwenker of Fresno, Calif. and Erich Schwenker of Milwaukee; two daughters, Elsa Schwenker of Phoenix, Ariz. and Gretchen Schwenker of Belle Mead; a brother, John Resch of Virginia Beach, Va.; and five grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Charles Borromeo Church on May 3. Burial was with her husband in Rocky Hill Cemetery.

To extend condolences online or share memories in the guest book, visit

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