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Ronald L. Schmidt, who put his artistic sense and skill to work in the east-side business he ran for decades, died Tuesday in his Northwood home. He was 73.
He died in his sleep, and the cause was not known, his wife, Jackie, said. He had a stroke about two years ago and at least two transient ischemic attacks, she said.
In March, he had closed his business, S & K Office Suppliers, which in recent years was on Navarre Avenue in Oregon. For most of S & K’s existence, Mr. Schmidt worked from 132 Main St., where he sold office supplies and business machines; printed stationery and brochures and newsletters; designed business logos, letterheads, and invitations, and made signs.
“It was a little bit of everything,” said Barb Kaifas, his secretary for about 20 years. “He was probably one of the biggest printers on the east side.”
His wife said: “Never did he come home and say, ‘I’m bored.’
“He loved being his own boss and was very good at his artwork and what he did” she said. “Either you like people or you don’t, and he was born to be a salesperson.”
Mr. Schmidt discovered his artistic talent while attending Waite High School. He took art courses for a year at the Detroit Institute of Art.
At S & K, business owners seeking a logo, a look, came in and described their enterprise.
Mr. Schmidt listened and conjured an image that fit — and which he then affixed to stationery and invoices and business cards he printed for them, Ms. Kaifas said.
Mr. Schmidt first employed Ms. Kaifas at Sport Stitch, also on Main, which did lettering on athletic apparel. He was a part-owner.
He and Don Kerstetter started S & K as partners in the late 1960s, but Mr. Schmidt became owner several years later, his wife said.
He had previously worked at Seaway Food Town and at Goodremont’s Inc., the business machine company.
He was born Oct. 15, 1939, to Rose and Leo Schmidt and grew up on Heffner Street in East Toledo. He was a 1957 Waite graduate and a veteran of the Marine Corps Reserve.
He celebrated his German-American heritage by singing with Teutonia Mannerchor, in which he was a second bass, and volunteering with the German- American Festival, for which he designed and made signs. The couple traveled to Germany for the graduation of an exchange student who’d stayed with them.
He liked to snowmobile in northern Lower Michigan, to hunt ducks in Metzger Marsh, and fish Lake Erie for perch.
“He loved to have fun,” his wife said.
Surviving are his wife, Jackie Schmidt, whom he married May 5, 1962; son, Scott Schmidt, and a granddaughter.
Services will begin at 11 a.m. Friday in the Hoeflinger-Bolander Funeral Home, Oregon, where visitation is scheduled from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday and after 10 a.m. on Friday.
The family suggests tributes to Zion Lutheran Church in Lake Township, where he was a member, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
— Mark Zaborney
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