Carole Springer Schoettle, 76, of Chestnut Hill, society editor of the Main Line Times for 50 years, died of complications from a lung infection Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
From 1961 until becoming ill in late June, Ms. Springer covered major social events in the Philadelphia area, including the Academy Ball, the Devon Horse Show, and the Radnor Hunt, as well as numerous galas, teas, and parties.
She often went to two or three affairs a night, her sister Sandra Pfaff said. "Her work was her passion, and she had no plans to retire," Pfaff said.
Ms. Springer was descended from English settlers who arrived in Salem, Mass., in 1630 and from Swedish families that settled in the Philadelphia area in 1641.
"Of all the society columnists who have passed through Philadelphia in the last 25 years, Carole Springer was the only one who really belonged to the society about which she wrote," said David Iams, a retired Inquirer society columnist.
"She attended the Assembly Ball, Philadelphia's most exclusive society event and one denied access to anyone from the press, including me. She went because she was an Assembly member," Iams said.
"She never gossiped, at least to anyone who might publicize the information," he said.
For most of her career at the Times, Ms. Springer chronicled events and took photographs. In the age before digital cameras, she worked with photo lab technicians to make sure the best pictures were developed and appropriately laid out, her sister said.
She lined up guests for photos and got caption information, often scooping the professional photographers assigned to cover the event for other papers, Pfaff said.
"She had a dim view of other society writers," Iams said. Ms. Springer and Iams were friends despite their mutual profession, he said, because he had grown up in Bay Head, N.J., with her husband, Marc Schoettle.
Ms. Springer and Schoettle, a well-known portrait artist, married in the early 1960s. She also was an accomplished painter, and the couple had one show together. When he became ill with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), she helped him with his art, her sister said.
They were deeply in love, and after he died in 1982, her work became the focus of her life, Pfaff said.
She did not just write about the rich and famous, her sister said. The parties she covered benefited worthy charities and hospitals, and she was helping to publicize their needs.
Because of her heritage, Ms. Springer was an avid supporter of the historic sites in Fairmount Park and the American Swedish Historical Museum. One of the last events she covered, her sister said, was a gallery opening at the museum at which the honored guest was Princess Madeleine of Sweden.
Ms. Springer grew up in Society Hill. She graduated from Friends Select School and Southern Seminary Junior College in Virginia; earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania; and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she met her husband.
Ms. Springer was an art teacher in Philadelphia and a reporter with the Evening Bulletin before joining the Times.
She was an admirer of strong, independent women and had a photo of Katharine Hepburn on her desk at work, Pfaff said.
In addition to her sister, Ms. Springer is survived by a brother, Wilbert; sisters Dorothy Kleppe and Sally Griffith; and nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at Bringhurst Funeral Home, 225 Belmont Ave., Bala Cynwyd.
Donations may be made to the American Swedish Historical Museum, 1900 Pattison Ave., Philadelphia 19145.