Richard A. ‘Dick’ Schmeltzer
WELLS – Richard A. “Dick” Schmeltzer, 91, of Wells passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013.
Dick was born June 14, 1922, in Escanaba, the son of Aloysius and Evelyn (Jennings) Schmeltzer. He was raised in Escanaba and graduated from the Escanaba High School. Dick served his country proudly in the United States Army during World War II. He served with Company I, an all Michigan unit that landed in France after D-Day. Following his military service, Dick worked for the Escanaba Daily Press for 44 years until he retired in 1985. He was a member of the Escanaba Eagles Arie 1088 and was a Golden Eagle for 55 years. He was also a member of the American Legion for 24 years, the V.F.W. for 40 years and the Remnants Barbershop Chorus. He also loved to play horseshoes.
Music was his life. He never read a note of music. All was done by ear. Playing the organ, accordion, harmonica and guitar (a little bit). He was given a field organ by his fellow soldiers which he played at services while serving in World War II. He entertained many at dances and weddings and at the Eagles Club, playing in his band, “The Firehouse Four Minus One”.
He became Mr. Entertainer and the Jokester throughout his many years with the Barbershoppers. When the Barbershoppers left the area for a few years he managed to “dig up” a few of the old singers left in town and started the Remnants Barbershop Chorus which is still singing today. He could also be seen as the MC at all the Harvest of Harmony Concerts.
While he was raising his family there was never a radio in the car. Wherever the family went there was singing. Once, traveling to Marquette to visit family, Christmas carols where sung the whole way without repeating one.
Music saved his life in the 80s when he could no longer reach the high tenor notes. It was discovered he had throat cancer. Detected early, he was a cancer survivor. Throughout his many years of failing health he always had a story to tell to the doctors, nurses and aides. We will all miss his wit.
I’m sure there is heavenly music being made with Mom and Dad singing “Twilight Time”.
Dick is survived by his son, Tom (Terry) Schmeltzer of Marietta, Ga.; three daughters, Sue (Don) Hansen of Bark River, Gerri (Jerry) Bartol of Bark River and Mary Jo Daugherty of Tonica, Ill.; 11 grandchildren, Gretchen (Rudy) Schumpert, Steven (Shana) Hansen, Jannette Hansen, Benjamin (Jennifer) Hansen, Trisha Hansen, Casey (Nic) Bond, Tony (Amber) Bartol, Bridget (Nick) Naser, Barry (Holly) Daugherty, Rose (Matt) Kofoid and Brent (Kendra) Daugherty; 22 great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Joyce; his daughter, Janice; his parents, his sister, Evelyn Westlake and a special friend, Judy Burch.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 2 to 4:45 p.m. at the Skradski Family Funeral Home in Escanaba. The Eagle Ritual will be conducted at 4:45 p.m. by the Escanaba Eagles Arie 1088. Funeral services will be at 5 p.m. with Rev. Fr. Darryl Pepin officiating. Funeral services will conclude with music selections by the Remnants Barbershop Chorus. A luncheon will be served at the Escanaba Eagles Hall. Dick will be laid to rest in the Gardens of Rest Cemetery. For additional information or to leave the family a message of condolence, go to http://www.skradskifuneral