Memories & Tributes of Donald Schultz

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Tonight will be Donald’s memorial at Parkway. The below are a few memories of Don that have been submitted. It you would like to include your, email it to me.

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George Schultz (Dad)

When I think of Donald — my “Number-Four Son” — I fondly recall all of the thoughtful “little” things that he’d always devoted his efforts to!  Throughout his too-short life!  It was that day-in-and-day-out, unfailing, quality — that makes me proudest of him.  Stuff that not too many people would even stop to consider — given our fast-paced civilization, of this hurried/harried day.

I’d retired in 1995 — and moved up into a great house, on a beautiful lake, about 150 miles northwest of Houston.  During  the 12 glorious years that I’d  spent up there — in that veritable “Shangri La” — seldom was there a night, when Don didn’t call me.  And this was well before the days when a person could simply pick up his/her phone — and another one would ring in, Jakarta, or Rangoon, or someplace.

I’ve had a game shoulder for 35 years or so.  When my four sons — Dave, Doug, Dan and Don — and I would get together, to hit fungoes and shag flies, I somehow always wound up playing deep outfield.  I guess it must’ve made sense back then. When I’d (hopefully) catch the ball, the gimpy shoulder would not allow me to throw the thing back to — whoever was batting.  It was always poor Donald — who’d run out to me, so that I could simply flip the ball to him.  And he’d throw it in.  He’d volunteered for that thankless duty.

Paraphrasing Jimmy Durante, “He had a million of ’em!”

Most of all, though, I think the quality that will always live in my heart — which truly misses him — is his devotion to his children!  They were — without exception — always the first-and-last priority, in his life.  ALWAYS!

It wasn’t only the fact that he took the tads to AstroWorld — and to that water park up, on I-45 (way north of his Katy home) so many times.

That was simply one aspect — of his unending devotion to them.  For instance, whenever his daughters were to perform, in a dance recital, he, personally, saw to it — that we’d all attended!

Those hokey little examples merely “scratch the surface” — barely plumb the depths — of how wrapped up, in his kids, he’d always been.  And — though his health had diminished, when the grandkids came along — the same determined, iron-clad, devotion held for them.  They, in fact, became the most pleasant delight for him. Donald was — and still is — the stuff that great parents, and great grandparents, are made of!  And great sons! Don, I miss ya!

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Carmen Schultz – Mom

Our son, Donald Rafael Schultz, is the fifth of our children, and youngest of the boys. When he was little his favorite thing was to lay his head in my lap and have me scratch his back.  Oh did that boy love to have his back scratched!  He was the most sentimental and a gentle giant that wore his heart on his sleeve.  If there was someone in need, Don was there with a bag of groceries or a helping hand. He’d give even if he had to clear out his own pantry to do so. He was not judgmentl,l and felt everyone needed and deserved a second chance whether it be getting them a truck, seeing they had clothes or offering a  job. His heart went out to abused mothers and their children. Whenever he received any type money he’d use a portion of it to fill up his truck and deliver toys, clothes and food to the home. He cherished the smiles on little ones faces. Don was so very grateful for the help and continued love he received from his brothers and sisters. His own love and respect for them held no bounds. Dave, Doug, Dan, LaRee, Terry, and Dee…thank you for being the precious brothers and sisters you are.

Don, sweet son…know that our family will be watching out for your children, Marco, Chris, Stacey, Monica and “Papa’s” babies Kinley, Chloe, Brooklyn, Brayson and Mackenzie.  The little ones will always remember the kind of man that loved them so very much. We love you hon. and you have been such an outstanding son.  I’ll miss your daily calls and our weekly time together but I know you’ll be with me spiritually and I’ll no longer need a phone to talk with you. You are now free from all pains and problems of this world my little boy.  You’ve gone Home and we’ll all see you soon.  We love you baby…Your Mom Always

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Dave’s Debbie (Schultz) – Sister in law

   Most of you know that I was Don’s medical go to person and confidante and we spent countless quality bonding hours together.    Don accepted his cancer diagnosis and never asked “why me?” His main concern was to protect everyone else’s feelings. He wanted no pity.

   Don would hate if I said anything sad so I will share some of our amusing times together. 5:00 am I would hear my text go off and all it said was “breakfast? ” We would meet at Denny’s and sat at the same table and ordered the same meal and after awhile everyone knew we were brother-in-law and sister and not husband and wife. At the VA hospital, when a nurse or doctor asked if I was Mrs. Schultz , of course I’d say yes. Then they would ask him to get undressed and I would jump up and tell them I’d be waiting outside the door. Many strange looks came our way.

  One of my favorite questions from him was “Will you take me Goodwill so I can look for riding toys for the kids?” Really Don? Well, now I have a desk I need to refinish from there and we had many laughs that day.

   Don’s phone would ring after Drs. visits and he would always tell his kids he “had to tell them the truth or Aunt Debbie would.” Then his Mom would call and we would look at each other and smile and he told the most convincing lies ever. Sorry Mom!

Don taught himself how to make jewelry, he collected piggy banks, he was a Star Trek fan, he loved to cook, he gave everyone a second chance but most of all he had the kindest , most compassionate, heart ever. I’ll miss you Don. Love you!

Ps When your pain free , glorified body floats over to Denny’s every morning, would you at least stop in front of the Hallmark store and smile?

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Hope Schultz – niece (written the day Don became non responsive and later died)

Dear (favorite) Uncle Donald,

I’m writing you this letter today for you to know how much I care and love you and that you are my favorite uncle because you put everyone and everything before yourself . I love what you do for other people. I know that you are in a bunch of pain but I guarantee that you will survive this cancer because you are a strong guy and I know that you can get through this.

Right now I am sitting in the quiet room. I have skipped two classes today. One being in the counselor’s office and now the quiet room taking time to write this letter for you. I hope nothing but the best happens while you’re in the hospital getting taken care of and hopefully they are treating you well. I have an All Star basketball game today and I’m not ready at all since I’m really upset that you are sick but I will make sure to win this for you today. Everything from now on is going to be for you. You have inspired me in so many ways and I’m hoping to be like you one day, outgoing, funny, smart, talented, and the biggest one of all is strong. I wish this didn’t have to happen to you and that I could make things better.

I definitely look up to all of the wonderful things in life that you do.

I love you!

Hope

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Dave Schultz – Eldest Brother

Regretfully, I didn’t get to know Donald as well as I should have, as I am considerably older than he. There were a total of eight brothers and sisters, if you include a foster brother who was with us for a few years – and I do.

Of the seven Schultz kids, we were split up into two sets. The “Older Kids”; Doug, Dan, LaRee and I were the four born in Detroit during the 50s. The “Little Kids”; Don, Terry, and Dee were born in Texas and New Jersey during the 60s. There had been a 4 year lull in the action of cranking out babies in between the two sets – which we refer to as the “we had a TV” years. I am the eldest of the “Older Kids” and Donald was the eldest of the “Little Kids”.

I left for my military service shortly after turning 17. Donald was maybe eight or nine when I’d left home this last time. To be honest with y’all, I didn’t have a lot of moss growing on me for most of my childhood – and was home very little. As such, I really didn’t know the “Little Kids” well.

For the next 20 years after I’d left home, Don and I didn’t live in the same city at the same time. I was living in Florida, Batavia, Houston and Arlington; while he was living in West Seneca, Brownsville, Korea, and Houston at a different time.

In this last 20 years, we have lived within 35 miles of each other, and would see each other at family functions. However, we really didn’t share many of the same interests – and so we didn’t really hang together. Our conversations were generally cordial and very short. Recently as I got to know Donald a little better, I realize it has been my loss.

I do remember when Don was born. I was in the third grade and we were living in San Marcos, Texas. We were dirt poor and lived on the third floor of a 100-year-old wooden house, back in a small one bedroom apartment in the rear. The apartments were almost exclusively rented by kids going to Southwest Teacher’s college. I’m thankful we never had a fire. When Donald was born, both of my parents, Ray, Doug, Dan, LaRee and I were already sharing that 600 sf. space – so it was even more crowded with the addition of Donald’s crib. I was found fishing at the river or just roaming around town until it was bed time because it was too crowded for me – and I liked the freedom of the world being my oyster. We were poor – but happy.

My first real memories of Donald are actually a couple of years later when we had moved to Metuchen, NJ., an era of far less happy times than San Marcos. Terry had arrived a year earlier and Dee was fixin to honor us with her appearance. We were living on the front side of a 2-bedroom two family house. I was in the 5th or maybe the 6th grade and Donald was maybe 3-years-old. My mother seldom left the house during that time, and since we didn’t have a working washer and dryer – I was the one most often sent to the Laundromat. I would tie a huge old baby carriage to the back of my bike and load it with a week’s worth of laundry for the ½ mile or so trip to the Washateria. Donald would always want to come with me and so I’d throw him on top of the clothes in the carriage. This was far from a safe situation and I can only imagine what the town’s people thought about it. Then again they had plenty to think about with us for more reasons than my bike pulling a baby carriage of clothes, and a laughing 3-year-old hanging on for dear life.

When I was 15 we moved to a new house in Western New York. The house had four bedrooms — so the three girls had a room, Danny and Donald had a room, Doug and I had a room – and for the first time in a decade my parents didn’t sleep on the living room couch. I dropped out of school shortly after turning 16, and was seldom around home. However, before that Doug and I would wait until Danny and Donald would fall asleep and play a game we called Nasty Navy.

Nasty Navy would have the standard pranks of bowls of hot and cold water for their hands, plates of shaving cream by their cheeks, and other standard props used by older brothers to make the lives of their younger brothers miserable. Naturally this was all Doug’s idea, but I’m sure I might have a least once or twice also held Don over the balcony by one leg and tell him how I was losing my grip – as that was just the kind of big brother I was.

Again for the next 20 years we didn’t see each other very often, hardly at all until he returned from his military service in Korea. Even then we lived 7 hours away from each other and never had a chance to get to know each other well.

By the 90s, we were both finally living in the Houston area at the same time. When we’d visit with each other he always appeared angry and negative. He had been dealt some bad breaks, and while he loved his kids, he appeared to me to generally be a very unhappy person. I should have been a better person and tried harder to communicate with him – but I’m socially awkward around unhappy or emotional people. I’ve tried to not be – but I guess I’m just not built that way – and so avoiding those situations is generally what I do.

I am happy to report that in these last few months, Donald and I did begin to spend a little more time together. We’ve had a lengthy private conversation about life, health, and death. Now it wasn’t near as much time as we should have spent with each other – but I think we both thought we had more time. I’m sure there’s a lesson there somewhere.

Anyway, I found Donald to be a far different person than the one I previously knew. This was a man who had been dealt more bad breaks than any one person should have been dealt – yet he appeared to be happy and at peace with himself and others — despite being in pain and knowing that he was on borrowed time.

It may have been that he had finally adjusted from the ending of a particularly bad marriage. He’d spent far more time than most would to try to make it work, despite the misery of being ridiculed constantly. Stay around misery long enough and you’ll be miserable. Be with positive people who love you, and you have a better shot at being positive.

It may have been because he was doing well in school and proving to himself that he was a bigger success than he had previously been nagged about. Achievement is great motivator of happiness, and he was finally feeling the pride of success.

It might have been the grandchildren. He always spoke of them.

It might have been religion. I’m not a believer so it is sometimes hard for me to see how those who are believers are happy simply because they believe.

Maybe it was my wife. Deb had become his very best friend. I remember that when Deb had first met my family, a 14-year-old Donald was just a little smitten with her, and appeared to have had a little crush working. In the last few years Deb and Donald have spent a lot of time together fighting both of Don’s battles with cancer, spending long days in the VA Hospital, and frequently meeting for morning breakfasts at Dennys.

Most likely his new found happiness and positive attitude was from all of the above, and maybe even a few other things I may never know of. Regardless, I am very glad that he finally again felt happiness towards the end of his life, and developed a positive attitude despite the many bad breaks he’d received.

While Don and I didn’t spend the time together that we should have, I will miss Donald and will remember him as a good man who loved his large family. I think we always assumed that we’d have more time later to become closer brothers.

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 LaRee (Schultz) Lochbaum – Sister

Don is a precious brother and a faithful friend. I was amazed as I watched him walk thru the storm of bone cancer these last few months with such optimism, grace & class. I would call him daily & ask how he was doing, and he would always reply “Doing Great………how are you?” If I dug little deeper & asked specifically about his pain, the reply was usually…..”eh, not too bad”. I knew that wasn’t true, but it seemed especially important to him not to worry me about it. He would masterfully turn the conversation to a more pleasant topic which usually meant his kids or his grand babies. Oh, how he loves those kids!! I’m going to miss Don more than words can say, but I know he’s up there walking on streets of gold with Jesus……hanging out with Uncle Noel, Grandma Castillo, David & so many other awesome loved ones that went on before us. 49 years feels way too short to me, but I’m comforted knowing that I will get to spend my eternity with Don. Heaven just go a little sweeter Tuesday night. I love you, Buddy!!!

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Terry (Schultz) Boneau – Sister

I am beyond blessed to have had Don in my life.  Although it saddens me deeply that  I will not see him for “a bit” I will forever smile when I think of him.  There couldn’t have been a more proud dad, papa, son or brother. He knew how blessed we are to have been placed into such an amazing family and thanked God regularly for this gift.  My prayer is that he realized what a “gift” he was to us and all that knew him.  Such a gentle and kind spirit, even while going thru his “season” he always seemed to be more concerned with others.  The grace and strength he showed during this time absolutely amazes me.  I can only aspire to carry myself in such a way. He was a very proud man.  Most proud of his kids and those beautiful grandbabies.  If you ever wanted to see a smile, talk about one of the grandkids or watch him pick one up for a hug and kiss.  Going back to school and getting A’s was something else he was very proud of.  It was my honor to watch him graduate and it brought such joy to my heart to see his huge smile as he received his diploma.

I am proud to call him brother, and will miss him more than words can express.

Thank you God for giving us the gift of Don.

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Dee (Schultz) Ard  – Sister

Many of you may not know that Donald recently decided to change his career and go back to school. What a scary thought… school! Well, he dove right in, and became a straight A student. We were all so proud of his accomplishments. They were life changing. He was rarely disappointed anymore. It felt good to be the top of his class, and it showed. Now all his news was positive and uplifting. What a blessing for the entire family to see him be cheerful and proud.

Thank You, God, For the Happiness He Felt.

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Lynn (Francis) Rashliegh Cousin

We know and rejoice that we are a pilgrim people journeying HOME to Christ Jesus, but in our humanness we mourn for those who go before us.  Ahhhh…the wisdom of Christ…who gave us Himself as an example in that mourning!  “Jesus wept.”  YES!!!!!  We are fully human!  We can’t begin to comprehend the Ultimate Joy of all that Christ has won for us!  But Don can!!!!!  And Don wouldn’t come back for ANYTHING!  In that we find our comfort, and we rely on the beautiful memories that remain.

I have to admit that I didn’t know the teenage or adult Don very well.  For me, Don is the darling little blonde boy who could win any heart!  He’s jumping off the dock in Fenton with a bubble “floatie” on his back.  He’s smiling from ear to ear as he teases his two little sisters at a park.  He’s loving the ice cream cone that Uncle Noel bought at Dairy Queen…ice cream dripping down his arms, eyes as big as saucers, smiling through missing teeth when asked if the ice cream was good.  I cherish those memories!!

Jesus knows how long we should remain on this earth.  He knows what tasks we are to accomplish and whose lives we are to touch.  Don had completed all that Jesus set before him.  Don had run the race, and now he has claimed his PRIZE!  And we praise and thank our Loving Lord for allowing Don to touch our hearts!  God’s precious blonde boy shares his beaming smile in paradise.  NOTHING is better!

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Lynn for Aunt Willie Francis

The night that Aunt Carmen asked for prayers for Don, mom had a dream. The next day when I called to tell her that I had received a text from LaRee that said that Don had gone HOME, mom shared her dream with me.  At the moment, mom is down & out with a flu bug, but she called this morning and dictated something that she jotted down while laying low.  She asked if I would send it to all of you.

Before typing what she asked, I thought I’d share her dream with you. She said that she saw a little blonde boy running up a set of jeweled steps.  Someone called him from the bottom of the steps, and he stumbled when he turned around.  He hit his head on one of the golden steps.  He stood up and rubbed his head.  He turned to the bottom of the steps and waved and blew a kiss.  Then he ran up the steps as fast as he could.  At that point, mom woke up and tears rolled down her cheeks.  She said she wasn’t surprised when I told her that Don had gone HOME to be with Jesus.  Now, her words….

Ah, yes, the little blonde boy with the impish grin always stole your heart! But look out!  He can run fast!  He’s always trying to keep up with the gang of brothers and sisters.

He got through school, even with all the life changes — then forward. He went into the service to protect and defend our country with pride and dedication.  What a job well done!

Many times he called his aunt on the phone…just to talk about his cancer and other things. God was always the center of the conversation.  We talked about forgiveness, compassion, and God’s love.  Don said that he knew that God was in control, and he was ready for whatever God had planned.  So, when God knew that Don had finished his job here, we can see the little blonde boy with the impish grin going up the long, beautiful, jeweled stairs to Jesus and falling into His loving arms.  No more pain or worry…only God’s everlasting love!