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George H. Schmidt, a Maumee educator and coach whose long career traversed changes in society and style, even students, died Friday in Swan Creek Retirement Village, where he lived about three years. He was 88.
He was in declining health after a stroke about three months ago, his son Jeff said.
Mr. Schmidt retired after the 1976-77 school year.
Nearly 30 years earlier, the former Marine officer first stepped into Maumee High School, then at Sackett and Gibbs streets.
He taught aviation and general science, he told The Blade at his retirement. World War II was so recent that a type of flight simulator was in the school shop, and students learned how to be ground crew workers and part-time pilots.
He drove to school in a Kaiser early on, and many boys had GI-style haircuts. Girls played sports only in gym class. When he retired, the Kaiser was defunct; boys wore their hair longer, and girls played intermural sports.
He observed that students were different too.
“Socially, they’re more mature than they were when I started teaching,” Mr. Schmidt told The Blade in 1977. “The present crop is as good a bunch as we’ve ever had. Once more, they’re interested in goals in life, in participation in activities, in citizenship. They’re working hard, saving money, and looking for a future.”
While teaching history at the high school in the 1950s, he was a football line coach and golf coach. He was head basketball coach from 1952-56, and during his tenure, his teams shared the conference lead.
Then-Superintendent Joseph Baird named him to direct the high school testing and guidance program. Mr. Schmidt continued to teach, but eventually he was a full-time guidance counselor. He did miss the classroom.
“When you’re with a large number of kids, there is always a lot of give and take,” he told The Blade. “I think both teacher and student benefit from it. In counseling it’s mostly a one-to-one basis, and although you get to know fewer kids better, there are some you never get to see or meet.”
He developed a program of evening guidance seminars so that parents could learn the college options open to their children — and have a chance to share common problems. He encouraged local fraternal and civic groups to tailor programs for students and to contribute to college scholarships.
“He liked the people. He liked the school. He liked the parents,” said his wife, Donna, who taught at Toth Elementary School in Perrysburg.
And he liked Maumee well enough that he raised his children there, his wife said. A Republican, he served on council in the 1960s. He ran with the encouragement of then-Mayor Clifford Dussel and the blessing of the school district administration. Mr. Schmidt unsuccessfully sought a return to office in 1979. He was appointed to fill a vacancy on council in March, 1980, sought re-election in November, 1981, and was defeated.
He was born April 24, 1924, in Valley City, N.D., to Anna and Herman Schmidt. He was a football star at Valley Center High School and is in its sports hall of fame.
He entered the Marine Corps in the V-12 college program and attended Bowling Green State University, where he also played center on the football team. From BGSU, he took officer candidate courses at Quantico, Va., and became a second lieutenant. He later received a master’s degree from BGSU.
He and his wife played golf at Tanglewood Golf Club and tennis at Laurel Hills Swim and Tennis Club. They traveled throughout Europe. Sherwood Forest and Wimbledon were highlights in England.
He and the late Robert Schultz, a former principal of Rogers and Macomber-Whitney high schools, in 1982 started a Wednesday breakfast club for their educator friends. The club outlasted two restaurants.
Mr. Schmidt was a member of Maumee United Methodist Church, where he was a trustee, taught adult Sunday school, and was president of the men’s club. He was a director of St. Luke’s Hospital.
Surviving are his wife, Donna, whom he married Aug. 31, 1945; sons, George H. II and Jeffrey; sister, Eleanor Dokken, and four grandchildren.
Services are at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee, where visitation starts at 11 a.m.
The family suggests tributes to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
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