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John Schwetz, 91, of Grand Rapids, MI. sailed off into God’s sunset on Jan.19, 2018. He was born 1926 in Milwaukee, WI. to Gertrude (Shepherd) and John Schwetz Sr.
Highly skilled with his hands, John was always motivated to help others. As a child he provided enough perch or wild game for dinner during the Depression. Graduating early from high school and the day he turned 17, he eagerly volunteered for the Navy. His mechanical skills were highly valued and he served in the Philippines during WWII.
After the war he married Phyllis Adele Schneller and pursued a Teaching Certificate from WMU. In 1950 he graduated, his daughter Jacqueline was born, and he found a teaching job. That first Christmas they were unable to travel back home to Indiana. Opening Christmas cards to cheer themselves, they found a recall notice from Uncle Sam for the Korean Conflict. John qualified for a deferment but felt that he should serve.
In the following years he continued teaching and had two more daughters, Carole and Linda; all while earning a Master’s Degree. In 1965 he was hired as Head Automotive Instructor at the Fort Custer Job Corps Center in Battle Creek. His vision and ability to organize soon led to the promotion of being Vocational Manager.
In 1968 he became Dean of Students at the newly formed West Shore Community College. He helped select the property, drew building plans and developed curricula. Moving the family to Ludington, their house was built near the beach and John attained his dream of owning a sailboat. He was a superb sailor, cruised with family and friends along the coast and across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin and became Commodore of the Ludington Yacht Club.
John earned a PhD in Ed. from U of M and accepted a job in Bangor, ME as Center Director of the Penobscot Job Corps and later worked for a private consortium that ran Job Corps Centers all over the US.
Phyllis and John retired in 1991, returned to Michigan and restored an old farmhouse in Hart where the family loved to visit. John especially enjoyed teaching the grandsons to fish, hunt and learn to use tools.
John served others in many volunteer roles, including being President of the Habitat for Humanity of Oceana County, vice chairman of the Nutrition Council Board of Directors in Muskegon, the Rotary Club, was a founding member of the 29ers traveling volunteers, and worked on numerous committees of Centenary Methodist Church in Pentwater.
John will be dearly missed by his wife of 69 years Phyllis, children Jacqueline (Vern), Carole (Jeff) and Linda, all of the grandsons and their wives and great-grandchildren. We bid him happy sailing.
Memorial Services will be pending, June 10, in Pentwater MI at the Centenary United
Methodist Church. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be given to Habitat for