On Dec. 13, 2012, Bill Schmitz passed away from causes incident to age. Because he had no immediate family in the area, his obituary was barely noticeable in the paper. It mentioned only that he passed away and that he was 90 at the time of his death. The name of the facility handling his remains was mentioned, but there was no picture, no place of birth, no mention of those he left behind nor of his dear wife that passed before him some years ago.
I read the obituaries often and notice the breadth of content in them. Some are short, some are nearly half a page in length, giving full tribute to contributions throughout the years.
I always hope that if I go, I'll have something more than just a few words to show proof of my existence. I write this because I think Bill would've liked that too.
Bill was my neighbor for over 15 years. He and his wife, Bonnie, were a cute, elderly couple and they were easy to get along with. When we asked how they met, Bonnie said, "...in prison." My wife and I stumbled on that before Bonnie admitted to the fib with a chuckle. That meeting always defined their love of life and sense of humor.
They actually met on the dance floor at the old Berthana Dance Hall, in Ogden. Bill was a musician during WWII, playing clarinet for the USAF. After his time in the service, he played for some smaller bands during the era of the Big Bands. He was not immune to activities of that trade, falling to the temptations of drugs and alcohol during hard times. However, he'd been free of those vices for many years. All agree Bill was a real character, always with a witty remark. He made friends at his latest residence at the Mountain View Assisted Living Center in South Ogden.
Now that he's gone, I feel compelled to find closure in creating some statement of existence for the old guy. I am grateful I had the pleasure of knowing him. He will be missed, and always remembered.