John W. Schultz, a Springfield Township district fire chief when he retired after more than 39 years with the fire service, died Thursday at Genesis HealthCare’s Swanton Valley Center in Swanton. He was 72.
Complications from a stroke suffered two years ago contributed to his death, his wife, Christine, said.
Mr. Schultz served the township fire department and Station No. 1 on McCord Road from September, 1973, until December, 2012. He was promoted to district chief in June, 1999, and oversaw firefighting and rescue in the northeast section of the township — his station’s territory.
“He was very dependable and reliable,” said Barry Cousino, township fire chief since 2005. “He was well respected among his peers and the personnel at the station.”
The personnel included Mr. Schultz’s son, Bill, a Springfield firefighter the last 22 years.
“He knew his stuff,” he said.
At the scene of a fire or incident, “he just gave out orders and I followed them,” his son said. “All the guys knew me for years, since I was born mostly. They trained me well and kept me underneath their wings. We were all family and treated each other with respect, and we all worked together.”
Mr. Schultz joined the township volunteer fire department at the suggestion of a co-worker. To be supportive, his wife joined the ladies auxiliary.
“He found a satisfaction with it, that he could help other people,” she said. “The satisfaction of doing good.”
He adapted to advances in technology and took in stride the unpredictability of fire calls.
“We always had Easter dinner here. And it never failed, just about the time the ham was all done and it was ready to be cut, the fire radio would come on, and John had to leave on a run,” his wife said. “He was pretty devoted to the fire station, which you have to be in order to be a good fireman.”
Mr. Schultz was promoted to engineer in 1977; captain in 1978; squad captain in 1980; assistant deputy chief in 1983, and deputy chief in 1993. He also was a diver, Chief Cousino said.
He pitched in the fire department softball league until about 20 years ago and liked to bowl and play golf. He was a member of the Northwestern Ohio Volunteer Firemen’s Association and the Lucas County Fire Chiefs Association.
He was born Dec. 12, 1945, to Helen and Edward Schultz and grew up in South Toledo. He attended Libbey High School and then the new Bowsher High School. He was a 1965 graduate. He served stateside in the Army and afterward worked several years for Schemenauer Manufacturing.
He was an employee for more than 30 years of the Toledo stamping and technologies facility of GenTek Inc. on Fearing Boulevard. He became an electrician there and retired in 2007.
Surviving are his wife, the former Christine Never, whom he married Aug. 2, 1969; sons William and Christopher Schultz; brothers Edward, Jr., and Larry Schultz; sister, Sharon Bader, and three grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 3-9 p.m. Sunday at the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee, with a firefighters service at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday in the mortuary.
The family suggests tributes to the Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice of Greater Toledo or the Harry E. Patton scholarship fund through Springfield Township Local No. 3544 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
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