On Wednesday, January 30, we lost a beloved father, son, brother and friend. Michael Johannes Schuit was born on December 19, 1952 in British Columbia, Canada. His family moved to California, Simi Valley area, when he was six years old, then settled in Carpinteria a few years later. Mike graduated from Carpinteria High School, served four years in the United States Air Force as a Firefighter and was honorably dis- charged.
He began his professional career as a Firefighter with the City of Santa Barbara in September 1977 rising to the rank of Truck Engineer in 1990. During Michael's career he instructed in numerous fire academies, department wide USAR classes, and was a shift driving instructor. He also participated in promotional exams and training and safety committees. Throughout his career, Mike responded to numerous emergencies, some of which include the Sycamore Canyon, Chrysler Plymouth, Stearns Wharf, Southern Hotel, Bob's Canvas, Paint, Tea, and Jesusita Fires. It was no surprise that in 1987, Mike earned the distinction of Firefighter of the Year.
Although Michael loved his life as a Firefighter, he was equally as passionate about his art. In his spare time, it seemed he was always creating something new from portraits to graphic design to cartoons. In fact, Michael bestowed a treasure to the Fire Department with his artwork and drawings of his fellow firefighters. A gallery of his work was established and many of his portraits now line the upstairs walls of Station One. It is a priceless historical record of his friends.
Mike was a devoted father and the biggest fan of his son, Christopher. They were a great team and great friends. Michael also watched out for his father - especially in the wake of his mother's death - and was always the special (and only) brother to his proud sisters. Words cannot begin to express the void his passing has left in our family. We will always miss his laughter, sense of humor, companionship, and the constant comfort his mere presence brought to all of us.
Michael is survived by his son Christopher, father Joe, sisters Linda (husband Frank), Debra (husband Eddie) and Lori, numerous nieces and nephews, Frank, Alex, Mia, Veronica, Melissa and Jason, plus several grand nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his mother, Dolores Schuit.
He is also survived by his "second family," the men and women of the Santa Barbara Fire Department, in particular the company of Station One. Truly, he was proud to serve with all of them.
Michael was taken from us much too soon but will live on in the hearts and minds of those of us privileged to know him. A celebration of his life is planned in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Fire Department.