There could be no greater story of alignment with the work and the values of The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis than the life and legacy of Bill and Jane Schmalz. For that reason, it is a special honor to announce the creation of the Jane E. and William A. Schmalz Designated Scholar Loan (DSL), established in their honor and memory by their loving family. The Schmalz DSL will provide much needed financial support to five students annually, in perpetuity.
Bill Schmalz and Jane (Luithle) Schmalz grew up together in south St. Louis, attending Fanning Elementary and Roosevelt High School. They shared 85 years of their lives and were married 70 years when Mr. Schmalz passed in 2013.
Bill was born into a disadvantaged, single mother family. A prominent St. Louis area attorney took notice of him, paying his full tuition at Washington University, where Bill set out to study geology. Bill’s education was interrupted by World War II, in which his service in Patton’s 3rd Army included the Normandy Invasion, the Battle of the Bulge, and the liberation of concentration camps. After the war, with a young family to support, Bill took the only job he could find, a personnel clerk earning $90 a month at the St. Louis Screw & Bolt Company, where within ten years he rose to become president. This was followed by 37 years with Harbour Group in St Louis, where he was Chief Operating Officer and a member of the board. Mr. Schmalz continued to serve his country and community throughout his life in many capacities including federal and county government roles and proudly as a St. Louis County Police Commissioner. Similar to the journey of many Scholarship Foundation students, Bill’s story is a testament that the circumstances of one’s birth and unforeseen life events do not determine the outcome of one’s life.
Jane passed in 2015 and her life legacy includes two sons, two adopted Native American daughters, four grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Jane’s family remembers her unconditional love and support as the secret ingredient to the achievements of those who followed her. She had a quiet strength and her sharp focus on the good in people and life was always evident, even in an imperfect world. Jane was an accomplished cook, gardener, bridge player, and a golfer with a hole in one to boast. She was always an advocate for those less fortunate. It was the depth of her relationships with friends and family that marked her days, and she is clearly, deeply missed.
The Schmalz family was first introduced to The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis by former board member Terry Hatfield, who worked with Bill and Jane’s son Bob for many years. Bob and his daughter Jill paid a personal visit to The Scholarship Foundation in December 2016. They were seeking an organization which would honor Bill and Jane’s values of compassion, loyalty, doing what is right (even if it requires personal sacrifice), and not looking away from injustice or the suffering of others. Further, the family wants to commit to organizations that will support students who, like Bill, have the capability and drive to succeed but lack the financial resources.
Accordingly, the Jane E. and William A. Schmalz Designated Scholar Loan Fund was launched, to support students who, like Bill and Jane, work hard to support themselves and to build a better community. The first Jane E. and William A. Schmalz Scholars will be proudly announced in summer 2017.