Henry Frederic Schmelter 1917-2003
In 1957 I was 6 when my
father received change for $20 when he had
only given $5. This was a
significant amount of money when he had been making $5000 a year, had a
young family and had been out of work for several months. I overheard my
mother and father discuss the matter and agree to return the money. He did so the next
day. My father taught me honesty. I take pride in honoring the
trust my clients put in me.
In 1960 I was 9 and had
done something wrong. My father had to punish me. He took me to the
basement, explained why what I had done was wrong and that he had to spank
me. He bent me over his knee but nothing happened. I looked up and saw tears
in his eyes. He spanked me a few times, stood me up and sent me on my way.
The spanking did not hurt, much. What hurt, and touched me deeply, were the tears
in his eyes. Since that day it hurts me to see others in pain. My
taught me empathy. In my world nice guys finish first.
In 1963 I was 12 and told my father I wanted to build a tree house.
“why not build a bunk house”. A real house surrounded by the trees at
the end of his property. Tired after working all day, often 60-hour workweeks, he
would ALWAYS make time to take my best friend Tom and me to where we could get free scrap lumber. We
would load up his old station wagon. (Throughout his working life he built
cars yet never owned a new one, his family came first). He would
miraculously show up when needed, give advice and leave. After three summers we
had three 10 by 12 foot rooms with a loft, porch, electricity, intercom and
a secret door to a secret chamber. My father could have bought new materials and helped us build it but
he knew that having us build it ourselves would also build us. My father taught me
the real meaning of pride.
I take pride in knowing my recordings are the best.
In 1966 I was 15 and in driver training class. My father expressed the
concern “the high speed of today’s cars is dangerous for young
drivers”. When I turned 16 I came home from school to find a used jeep in
the driveway and knew it was for my use. Its top speed was 50 miles per
hour. Only when I was older did I realized that a top speed of 50 miles per
hour was what my father had in mind. My father taught me that love could be expressed in
My father loved my
friends. Even in his final days he remembered the details of their lives and
of our adventures. When my friends
and I would get together it was ALWAYS “Will Craig be
there? Will Bob? Will Terry? Will John? Will Bill? OK if I visit with you guys?”.
My friends treated him with affection and respect. My father taught me the
value of friendship.
I think of my clients as my friends.
I tried to fix a dripping showerhead in my father’s bathroom and ended
breaking a pipe behind the wall. Fixing the pipe required breaking through a
tiled wall and the services of a carpenter, mason and plumber. When I told
my father that I tried to fix his showerhead, ALL he said
(in a humorous
tone and with his smiling eyes)
was “don’t fix anything else”.
My father taught me
understanding combined with humor may be the most endearing and wise.
When I would ask for advice he would often say "follow the golden
As a leader in a high profile profession I
have had only acclaim because
I make all decisions as if I were you.
The quiet eloquence of example.
a beautiful father.
a beautiful man.