Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 18, 2012

Arthur Martin Schmuckal


TRAVERSE CITY — After living every day to the fullest, Arthur "Art" Martin Schmuckal, 91, of Traverse City, peacefully passed away Wednesday at Munson Medical Center surrounded by his loving family. He is now reunited with Mary, the love of his life, who passed away in March 1999.

Born April 10, 1921, on the family farm in Hannah, he was the son of Charles and Frances (Tarchinski) Schmuckal. On Oct. 30, 1945, he married Mary Elizabeth Hoffer at Hannah St. Mary's Church.

He was a true gentleman, loving father, compassionate citizen and trustworthy friend. People were drawn to his charismatic personality and integrity and he was quick to crack a joke with a smile that put others at ease. He also gave the gift of friendship by caring for others, giving advice and reaching out to those in need.

He graduated in the top seven of the first graduating class at Hannah St. Mary's.

He was a lifelong resident of the Traverse City area, where Mary and he raised their family.

In his early years he was a farmer and also worked at the local livestock sales barn, where he was one of the staff who weighed the livestock, and eventually he was a recorder of prices for the auctioneer. He farmed on the 125-acre family farm, where he raised potatoes and livestock. For nine years he sold Surge Milkers to about 900 farmers in 10 Northern Michigan counties. The ethics of being a hard working farmer carried over into his next career as a Shell jobber.

In 1955, along with George Slane, they formed the Slane and Schmuckal Oil Co., a Shell Oil Company distributor, in Traverse City. In 1960 George moved to California and the company was renamed Schmuckal Oil Co. Art retired in 1998. He was a well-respected businessman, treating all fairly. He was a mentor to many and considered all who worked for him as family.

Art and Mary were one of the founding parishioners of St. Patrick Catholic Church. He was a life member of the TC Golf and Country Club, the Traverse City Elks Lodge and Traverse City Optimist Club. He sat on and had leadership roles on the county road commission for 24 years, was a Blair Township supervisor for nine years, State of Michigan Lieutenant Governor of the Optimist Club, Michigan Petroleum Association chairman of the board, Shell Oil Company jobber council chairman, Northwestern Michigan Fair board member, Chamber of Commerce board member and served on numerous other community boards. In 1997, Northwestern Michigan College named the University Center after Art and his wife, Mary. He was recognized with several awards including the 1987 Traverse City Chamber Commerce Distinguished Service Award, a Rotary Foundation of Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow in 2004 and a Northwestern Michigan College Fellow along with Mary in 1989.

A true philanthropist, he gave of his talents, time and treasure to support countless local programs. He took a leadership role in building campaigns for many community organizations, such as Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools, Northwestern Michigan Community College, Munson Medical Center and others. In 1999 he formed the Art and Mary Schmuckal Family Foundation, which has supported many non-profit organizations.

Church, family, education and community were all important to him.

Along with Mary, many memories have been created. He hosted family picnics for over 40 years. He cherished the time with family and celebrated all the big and little moments - enjoying the Sunday dinners together and birthday celebrations. There was always laughter, and his home was always ready for a party with friends and family (and serving Manhattans and stingers). Art taught many lessons to the family and to others who knew him over the years. These included humility, honesty, love, friendship and prayer.

Art is survived by sons, Paul (Patty Smith) and Don (Susan Kinney); and daughters, Evelyn (Mike) Richardson and Barbara (Chuck) Benson. He has 10 grandchildren, Kevin (Debbie) Schmuckal, Erin (Drew) Henshaw, Alison Schmuckal and Kelly (Cam) McLeod, Jacob and Caleb (Liberty), Isaac Richardson and Andrew, Griffin and Matthew Benson. There are five great-grandchildren, Kyle, Devin and Danielle Schmuckal, and Cassidy and Chloe Henshaw, whose company he enjoyed as well. Honorary family members are Kaylena and Alexander Kinney. There are also numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Preceding him in death were his parents; all of his siblings, Mary (Charles) Rhodes, John (Victoria), Armond (Eleanor), Elmer (Rose), Ralph (Patricia) and Madelyn (Max) Lighthiser; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation for Art will take place Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and also on Tuesday, Nov. 20, from 4 to 7 p.m., with a prayer service held at 6 p.m., at the St. Patrick Catholic Church. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m., with a visitation held one hour prior, on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at St. Patrick Catholic Church; Monsignor Francis Murphy will serve as celebrant. Burial will be in Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens after cremation, with a private family service.

The family would like to thank Dr. S. Lee Warnaar, M.D., for the exceptional care and support he provided over the years and the caring nurses on A3 at Munson Medical Center, especially Brian, Jan and Allison.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Art and Mary Schmuckal Scholarship at Northwestern Michigan College, Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools Foundation for scholarships, Optimist Foundation.

Please sign Art's online guestbook at