Gary DeWayne Schmelzer, 83, of Muscatine, passed away on Monday, November 28, 2022, at UnityPoint – Trinity Hospital in Bettendorf.
Funeral Service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, December 2, 2022, at Grace Lutheran Church. Visitation will be held prior to the service, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., at the church. The Ralph J. Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.wittichfuneralhome.com. Memorials may be made to Grace Lutheran Church.
Gary was born on February 11, 1939, in Muscatine, the son of Raymond Schmelzer and Norma Schmoldt Schmelzer Rutka. He met Barbara Jean Ricketts when they were three years old at Sunday School, and remained lifelong members of Grace Lutheran Church. They married on March 2, 1957, in Kahoka, Missouri, and were blessed with 65 years and nine children together.
Gary had many interests ranging from art and dancing to hunting and fishing. He was a telephone company maintenance supervisor for 35 years, and owned Select Ceramics on Grandview Avenue for 20 years. Always loving the outdoors, he owned a cabin on Lake Odessa, and loved to go camping. He volunteered as a little league coach, leading the Iowa City Yankees for 12 years. Gary always enjoyed watching his grandkids’ ball games and dance recitals. If you don’t recognize who Gary is yet, you may know him by his CB handle “Blue Goose.”
Gary will be deeply missed by his wife, Barbara; children, James J. Schmelzer and his wife, Dawn, of Porum, Oklahoma, Kurt Schmelzer and his wife, Cindy, of Corning, Iowa, Eric Schmelzer and his wife, Peggy, of Illinois City, Illinois, Anna Schmelzer of Muscatine, Cynthia Eagle and her husband, Bob, of Muscatine, Vicki Carter and significant other, Ken, of Wapello, Iowa, and Jeana Howland and her husband, Jamie, of Muscatine; a daughter-in-law, RayAnn Schmelzer of Ohio; 27 grandchildren; 47 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild; a sister, Tibe Vander Linden and her husband, Doug, and a brother, Richard Schmelzer of Muscatine.
He was preceded in death by his parents; stepfather George Rutka; two sons, Gary W. Schmelzer, and Wesley P. Schmelzer; an infant step-sister; one granddaughter, Melanie J. Eagle; and one great-granddaughter, Laraine Ash.