1932 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
JACK L. SCHUETZ 1932 - 2013 Family Man, Special Ed Advocate, Coach, Mentor, and Author A memorial service will be held Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 4 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church, 4500 Buena Vista Road, for Jack L. Schuetz, 81, who passed away peacefully in Bakersfield September 12 surrounded by family and friends. A native of the Kansas plains and a product of the drought and depression, Jack's remarkable life was one of great humility, deep love for his family, friends and colleagues in the education community, and distinguished by integrity and an incredible work ethic devoted to the developmentally disabled. Jack was born January 5, 1932, in Mercer, Kansas, the youngest of five children, to Albert and Gladys Schuetz. The family moved West when he was four, settling in Bakersfield during his eighth grade year. A standout football player and track sprinter at East Bakersfield High School, he was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame last year. After graduation, he joined the Naval Reserves and was drafted into active duty at the start of the Korean War, stationed on patrol frigates off North Korea. After his discharge in 1953, he resumed his studies at BC where he captained the Renegade track team, served as BC's Student Athletic Director and the college's first cross-country coach. In 2009 he was inducted into the college's Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame. Jack received his undergraduate and master's degrees in Special Education at San Jose State University, and began his teaching career at East where he spent three years. He met Lavonne Bergerson in 1961 on a blind date pizza party. They married the following year, and their union of 51 years was blessed with two children - Todd and Kara. Jack became a supervisor with the Kern High School District overseeing Special Education. He later received his doctorate in Special Education from the University of Southern California, and after his retirement in 1993, he was an associate professor at Cal State Bakersfield. A giant in the Special Education community, Jack was highly regarded and considered the 'architect' of Special Ed programs in Kern. In his more than three decades with the district, Jack was responsible for the success of a wide array of programs and projects, most notably, playing a pivotal role in modernizing district special education efforts. Early on in his career Jack was determined that the special education students who had gone through the district be given the opportunity to be a productive member of the community. He called on the district to establish a program that would equip the special education graduates with skills needed to lead full lives. Jack was instrumental in the creation of the district's first new school for developmentally disabled students - the Ruggenberg Career Center. In 2004 the high school district dedicated the Jack Schuetz Career Center in honor of the champion for the developmentally disabled. In later years, Jack also served as a lecturer and consultant. An avid outdoors man, Jack enjoyed fishing, hunting for small game, and spending time with his family at their cabin at Greenhorn Mountain. He was fond of a good Scotch, old western movies, and intrigued by the frontier life of the West, Jack began a new chapter in his life post retirement as a published author. The Adventures of Charlee Rae and Billy True was released in 2009, and this year he followed up his debut novel about the settlers' life in the Apache country of Arizona with the publication of its sequel, On The Frontier. In 2010 Jack and good friend John Pryor co-edited a book on the late BC Athletic Director, Gil Bishop, for the school foundation. Jack was preceded in death by his parents, a sister and two brothers. In addition to his wife and children, he is also survived by his son-in-law Mike Susank, daughter-in-law Amy Schuetz, and grandchildren Darren Jordan Schuetz, Jack Michael and Piper Jean Susank, and brother Bill Schuetz and wife Erica. Jack will be interred at National Cemetery in a private military ceremony. In lieu of flowers, Jack's memory may be honored with a donation to Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 1900 Baker Street, Bakersfield, CA, 93305, or to the Schuetz-Richardson Special Education Endowment Scholarship online at www.csub.edu/giving/schuetz or by calling University Advancement at 661-654-2136. Jack's life was a life well lived, and those he touched are all the richer for having known him. "Remember, a little of my love goes a long way, a lot goes forever." - Jack L. Schuetz Forever in our hearts. We love you "Old Dad". Alifesstory.com www.bakersfield.com/obits
Published in Bakersfield Californian on Sept. 20, 2013
Read More