Norman "Buck" Gotschall

BIG BAY -- Norman 'Buck' Gotschall, 90, formerly of Baldwin, passed away on Aug. 25, 2017, in Pt. Charlotte, Fla. He was born on May 19, 1927, to his beloved parents, Lawrence and Eva Gotschall (Cage) in Gas City, Ind. His father was a teacher/coach and they lived in several towns in Indiana and Michigan. Over the years, there were 13 foster children in the family. Buck married twice and had two children.

In 1945, he joined the army and was stationed in Italy guarding the Morgan Line. Returning home, he received an undergraduate degree in physical education and a master's in counseling.

After teaching and coaching for several years in Fairview and Lowell, he took over his father's real estate business (Gotschall Realty) in Baldwin.

Buck became one of three founders and the first president of the Pere Marquette Watershed Council. He also was president of the rotary and a natural at emceeing community festivities

Buck then began a new phase of life by learning to ski, paint and pilot a plane. In 1971, while on a fishing trip with a friend and real estate partner, they became interested in the Big Bay area. This culminated in purchasing land. The real estate company, Lands For Sale, Inc. was one of the first to make land available for purchase by the public in this area.

Buck was creative, social, adventurous and liked a challenge. In the mid-eighties, he purchased the Big Bay Point Lighthouse, built an adjacent airstrip and operated the lighthouse as the first lighthouse bed and breakfast in the U.S..

Traveling and experiencing different places, people and cultures were passions for Buck. He traveled and spent time in Key West, Aspen, North West Territories, New Zeeland, Tasmania, Amazon and Honduras.

He also piloted a 1955 tri-pacer to the Arctic Circle and on a 7000 mile U.S. cross country trip. As an avid sailor, he spent nine winters sailing the Caribbean and Central America with his Minerva Belle, a Pearson 35' sloop.

Buck was a health and fitness advocate for himself, friends and employees. He played on an all-state basketball team and quarter-backed on an undefeated football team in his youth. He had a penchant for tennis, especially doubles, and won many tournaments. Buck was an integral part of the Big Bay Cracked Court Open Tennis Tournament. He enjoyed fostering/teaching tennis to Big Bay youth, and to anyone who wanted to learn to play the game.

His love of mentoring, outgoing ways, imagination, zest for life and adventurous spirit has left special memories and inspiration for many. Buck lived by one of his favorite mottos, "Fly high while you have wings."

He is survived by many relatives, loved ones, friends and his significant other/caregiver.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Pere Marquette Watershed Council (PMWC) ATTN Gotschall Memorial, P.O. Box 212, or to the Lake County Historical Museum (Gotschall Memorial) at P.O. Box 774, both in Baldwin, MI 49304.

Anyone wanting to share tributes, stories, or memories of Buck will gather at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, at Debbie's Sportsman's Lounge in Baldwin. 

Published in The Lake County Star on July 12, 2018