Dr. William J. 'Doc' Schmelzer

Died April 4, 2017


Dr. William J. Schmelzer, 89, of Pinconning passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at Eden Fields Assisted Living Facility in Standish.

William, “Bud” as his family called him, was born Aug. 10, 1927, in Sumner, Iowa, to the late David and Helen (Aubrey) Schmelzer. He grew up in West Union, Iowa, on the family farm with his brother, James. Besides helping on the family farm, he was member of the local Catholic church choir and played baseball in his spare time. He graduated from West Union High School in 1945 and went on to pursue his dream of becoming a family physician. Bud went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from State University of Iowa on June 6, 1952.

During this time, he met the love of his life, Shirley Anne Coglan, at the local drug store, where he was a short order cook. Bill and Shirley were married Jan. 27, 1951, at the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Iowa City, Iowa. They worked at the Lighthouse Bar to help pay for his schooling. Over the years, they would share stories of their adventures working at the bar with family and friends. Bud went on to medical school at the University of Iowa and graduated with his doctorate degree in June 1956, creating a die-hard Hawkeye fan. After graduation, he moved with his family of three to Saginaw to complete his internship at St. Mary’s Hospital.

In June 1957, Doc went on to serve with the U.S. Army Medical Corps with the rank of captain. He spent two years in Germany fulfilling his commitment with his family. In July 1959, he was discharged from the Army and relocated the family of five now to Pinconning. On Sept. 8, 1959, he joined the family practice of Dr. Walter Howland. He continued the practice in Pinconning even after Dr. Howland decided to leave the area. Dr. Beuchle joined the practice and they worked together until the early ’70s. Doc left family practice and joined a group with the emergency room at Bay Medical Center in Bay City in the late ’70s. He returned to private practice in Pinconning in 1982 and continued practicing medicine until retiring in 2005. He received an award from the American Medical Association for 50 years of service.

Doc, as many of his patients would call him, always found time to support the community. If he wasn’t volunteering to do all the sports physicals for the school, he was helping on the sidelines of the football field with the chain gang. He spent several years on the Pinconning School Board after his children had graduated, including several years as board president.

Besides supporting the community, he found leisure time to spend with his family. He had many interests and enjoyed sharing them with his family. He loved fishing and the great outdoors. He enjoyed taking his children camping and fishing near Lumberman’s Monument on the Au Sable River. Later in life, he would take his grandchildren to the family cabin where he would teach them to fish and drive the boat while they learned how to kneeboard behind it. He actively attended his grandchildren’s activities including music recitals, dance recitals and sporting events. During his semi-retirement years, he took up the game of golf and would spend hours playing cards. He enjoyed teaching the grandchildren how to play. His favorite game was solitaire and he would come up with new games all the time. Bill was also a member of the local poker club and enjoyed the time he spent with his close friends.

Surviving him are his wife of 66 years, Shirley; daughter, Carolyn (Greg) Miscisin; daughter, Janet (Doug) Snable; son, Kurt (Joy) Schmelzer; son-in-law, Jay Haworth; grandchildren, Amanda (Tony Prusinski) Miscisin, Christy (Richard) Clark, Michelle (Jon) Shirley, David (fiancee Kelli Lewis) Miscisin, Jeffrey (Samantha) Haworth, Eric Schmelzer, Alexandra Snable and Noah Schmelzer; step-grandson, John Haworth; great-grandchildren, Alex, Faith, Lauren, Jacob, Mathew, Ian Haworth and Sydney Clark; and step-great-grandson, Zak Haworth.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Patricia Haworth; grandson, Brett Snable; nephew, Edward Schmelzer; and brother, James Schmelzer.

The family would like to thank the staff of Eden Fields in Standish for taking excellent care of Doc. The funeral liturgy will be held Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Pinconning at 10:30 a.m. with burial to follow in St. Michael’s Cemetery with full military funeral honors. The family will be holding visitation at the Lee-Ramsey Funeral Home in Pinconning on Tuesday, April 11, from 1-8 p.m. On Wednesday, Bill will lie in state at the church from 9:30 a.m. until time of service.


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