Harold E. Schmaltz, 80, died Sunday, April 19, 2015, at St. Mary’s Mercy Health Center, Grand Rapids. Mr. Schmaltz, of Cedar Springs was born January 17, 1935, in Owensboro, Kentucky, the son of George and Elsie (Martin) Schmaltz. He served in the U.S. Navy and attended Cheboygan County Normal and Central Michigan University. He is survived by eight children, two step-children, twenty-four grandchildren, and one great-grand child. Children and spouses are: Deborah Patterson of Cheboygan, Michigan; Robert and Michele Schmaltz of Muscatine, Iowa; Rebecca and Matthew Stanley of Huntington Beach, California; Gregory and Brandy Schmaltz of Cheboygan, Michigan; Rev. David and Andrea Schmaltz of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina; Eric and Lisa Schmaltz of Alanson, Michigan; Fred and Jessica Schmaltz of Rowlett, Texas; and Susannah and David Tanis of Sparta, Michigan and grandson Cody who shared a special relationship with Harold; Amanda Watkins of Cedar Springs, and Elizabeth and Jason Holloway Concord, North Carolina. He is also survived by special companion, Betty Schillim and close friend John Colombia. Mr. Schmaltz’ life was remarkable. He was raised on a farm in the Belding area and was awarded FHA and musical accolades as a young man. After graduation, Mr. Schmaltz served in the Navy for a short time, after which he pursued a teaching career at the Tannery School in Cheboygan and Midland’s Greendale #4 School. During this time he met and married Virginia Carlson. Also, of special note, he worked on the first painting crew of the Mackinaw Bridge in 1957, a job of which he was particularly proud. Mr. Schmaltz had such an interest in history, writing, and journalism he was destined for the newspaper business where he worked as manager, publisher, advertising executive, news-writer and reporter for such notable newspapers in the region as the Clinton County News, Gratiot County Herald, North Kent Leader, The Greenville Daily News, The River Valley Shopping News, The Record in Howard City, and the Big Rapids Daily Pioneer newspaper. His articles and reports where enjoyed by mid-Michigan residents for decades. He wrote many historical summaries and memorials for local veterans and was beloved for doing so. Mr. Schmaltz spent many years also in Kentucky and Alabama continuing in advertising, news and magazine writing and farm chemical sales. During this period he met and married Joan Watkins. Harold was an avid outdoorsman and taught his family how to hunt, fish, and enjoy nature by exploring local parks and camping tours throughout the country visiting national parks and historical sites. Mr. Schmaltz was involved in leadership in such organizations as the Rotary Club, Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, Republican Party Executive Committee, and was an actor and president of the Gratiot Country Players. During his service in these clubs and organizations he received many awards for merit and his communication skills, his favorite being the special commission to Kentucky Colonel. He will be missed by his family, friends and many others for his love and passionate service to our communities. Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be announced for this summer.
Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.