Charles 'Charlie''s Story

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Charles "Charlie" E. Schmitz, 69, of 305 Jefferson Street, Meadville, passed away Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at Meadville Medical Center.
Charlie was born in Bronx, NY on November 4, 1947, a son of the late Edward and Jennie (Longo) Schmitz.
He is a member of St. Mary of Grace Roman Catholic Church, Meadville.
Following his retirement as a Meadville Police Officer, Charlie established his own Licensed Private Detective business. In his earlier years he worked in the Pittsburgh Mills as a Union Millwright and had also worked as a Union Carpenter in Sharon and as a Union Pipe Fitter in Cleveland, OH. He was a graduate of DeVitte Military Academy in Morganville, NJ, and of Graham School in Hastings on the Hudson, NY. He also attended Bronx Community College, Edinboro University and Mercyhurst College. Charlie successfully completed schooling with the US Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Jungle Survival Training School in Cubi Point, Philippines, Naval Amphibious Base School in Coronado, CA, and at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy-N/W Training Center.
From 1964 until 1970 Charlie honorably served his country with the 3rd Marine Division as an esteemed member of the US Navy, having served three combat tours in South Vietnam where he was P.B.R. Boat Commander for Seal Team #1 Platoon and participated in 188 combat missions in the Mekong Delta. He was a decorated combat veteran. His duty to his country did not end in combat as Charlie initiated and took an active role in several veteran organizations. Charlie founded and managed the W.C.J. Ranch, a non profit, regulated hunting ground for combat disabled veterans and for youth under the age of 16 for their first hunt. He formed the first POW/MIA event in Northwest PA for which he was honored by the National League of Families of Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. He was awarded a Congressional Certificate of Merit for over 15 years of work, beginning in 1982, with POWs and MIAs in Southeast Asia. In 2010 Charlie was honored by the Keystone Paralyzed Vets of America for his years of work on behalf of paralyzed veterans. Additionally he received a citation from the Commonwealth of PA for his volunteer service, peer leadership and community spirit and was also honored by the Meadville Elks Lodge #219 as its Citizen of the Year. He received a Presidential Award from Jimmy Carter for community service as well as a Distinguished Citizen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Award from the State Senate. In February, 2016, he was honored as Community Champion by PA State Representative Mike Kelly for his initiative and unwavering commitment to W.C.J. Ranch. Charlie co produced "Salute II', a documentary of the 1984 dedication of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, and he donated the proceeds to the National League of Families. A life member of VFW Post #2006 and of Disabled American Veterans-Chapter 79 where he served as past commander, Charles was also a member of the Special Elite Forces Society Combat Veterans of Vietnam, ABATE of Crawford County, Master Mason F.A.M. #234, and a former member of American Legion Post #111, where he served as past commander. Charlie will be remembered as a true patriot.
Charles is survived by a son Shawn Schmitz and his wife Megan of Meadville, a daughter Jessica M. Schmitz of Tunkhannock, two grandchildren, Lillian Schmitz and Charles Dean Swartzfager.
In addition to his parents, Charles was preceded in death by a granddaughter Anna R. Schmitz.
Family and friends are invited to call from 10 AM -12 PM on Monday, September 11, 2017, at STEPHEN P. MIZNER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, INC., 404 CHESTNUT ST., MEADVILLE. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 12:30 PM at St. Mary of Grace Roman Catholic Church, 1085 Water St., Meadville, with Fr. Tom Trocchio, Parochial Vicar, officiating.
Following Full Military Honors by VFW Post #2006, Charles will be laid to rest in St. Brigid Cemetery, West Mead Twp.
Share a memory or condolence at www.miznerfuneralhome.com.
Published on September 7, 2017
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