Traverse City lost another of its movers and shakers when Art Schmuckal died Wednesday night at age 91.
Schmuckal, owner of Schmuckal Oil Company, the area's Shell Oil gas station/convenience store franchise, helped Traverse City and Grand Traverse grow into the community it is today.
He was part of group of civic activists led by area radio mogul Lester Biederman, grocer Jerry Oleson and Mike Dennos who for more than six decades believed in education, health, safety, art and culture, strong families, and giving back to the community where they lived and worked.
They felt community stewardship was a personal responsibility.
They put their money and time into many things we too often take for granted today: Northwestern Michigan College, Dennos Museum Center, Milliken Auditorium, the NMC University Center, Munson Medical Center, area schools and, in Schmuckal's case, churches.
Friends and colleagues described Schmuckal as a visionary and generous community leader, a philanthropist, a kind "giant among men" who made people feel better about themselves.
He also was a tremendous fund-raiser who instilled in others a willingness to give.
He had a fine sense of humor.
"I don't ever want to offend someone by asking for too little," he once said.
He led by example, often giving the first commitment to spend. He lives on in what he helped build and support.
Art Schmuckal lived a good and long life. He will be missed.