Loren (Hank) Schmeltzer

Loren “Hank” Schmeltzer, 88 years old of St. Leon, passed away peacefully the evening of December 29, 2023.  A dedicated husband, father and veteran, Hank served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. After enlisting on July 15, 1953, he was stationed at the 36th Fighter-Bomber Wing in Bitburg, Germany. During that time he served as the Flying Safety Officer, on the 1st Pilot Bomber Squadron, 585th Tack Missile Group & Support Squadron, and Administrative Clerk for the largest squadron and Morning Report Clerk. While in Bitburg, Hank pitched three years of fast pitch softball for the Air Force squadron with his favorite memory being when he pitched a no-hitter against the 22nd Fighter Day Squadron. Upon discharge, Hank was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, European Occupation Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal and was selected out of 756 men for the Outstanding Airman Award. Hank was a life member of the St. Joseph American Legion Post 464 for 56 years and served as the Commander for one year, the Vice Commander for five years, the Law & Order Chairman for both Post 464 and the 9th District American Legion for 18 years, the 4th Grade Flag Education Chairman for 10 years, and the High School Americanism & Government Chairman for 8 years. Hank was also a 36 year member of 40 & 8 which is an elite group of the American Legion that raises money for scholarships for nurses training, and a 13 year member of the Korean War Veterans Association of Aurora, IN. He was blessed to take an Honor Flight to Washington DC to visit the memorials.

Hank continued his love of sports throughout his life by coaching Pee Wee, Little League, and adult slow pitch softball. He played fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball for many years. A wonderful memory from his high school days was in the spring of 1953 when he stole 9 bases, had four singles and one double all in the same game. Hank was a life long Cincinnati Reds fan and if the game was televised you can bet he was watching the Red Legs from his living room. He also enjoyed fishing, gardening & planting flowers, and listening to good old fashion country music. His love for his country and the Cincinnati Reds culminated when he was nominated as the Hometown Hero at a Cincinnati Reds game in the summer of 2021. Bowling was also one of Hank’s strong suits and he was invited to be on the TV show Bowling for Dollars. Fishing was a sport that was made into an annual out of town trip. Every year Hank, Barb, their cousins, and friends would travel to Wisconsin for a week or two to enjoy daily fishing and adventures. Bringing back an abundance of fish from Wisconsin, Hank was famous for his annual fish fry that many family and friends attended. Hank’s memory was on point as he could remember specific dates, birthdays, weather, and interesting stories of everyone in town. He was notorious for “bad dad jokes” and loved to keep people laughing. In Hank’s senior yearbook a desire for a family was clear when he expressed he wanted to become a “Proud Papa”. This love of family was also shown in his work to keep family reunions continuing year after year.

Hank will be deeply missed by Barb Beiting Schmeltzer, his wife of 61 years; children George (Charity) Schmeltzer, Chuck (Kathy) Schmeltzer, Susie (Jason) Orndorff, Lisa (Mike) Hempfling, Theresa (Kevin) Meadows, Jennifer Schmeltzer, and June (Tom) Brackett; grandchildren Jeremy, Jess, Rocky, Andi, Ro, Josh, Sydney, Autumn, Sebastian, Chloe, Desiree, Tyler; great grandchildren Julian, Benny, Tatum, Emmy, Kiley, Julia, Ty, Samantha, and Lincoln; siblings Ruth Grubbs, Dale Schmeltzer, Janet Ross, and Linda Miller. He is preceded in death by son Jeffery Schmeltzer, brothers Ralph Schmeltzer and Donald Schmeltzer, and parents George and Mary Gladys Morling Schmeltzer.

Visitation for Hank will be on Thursday, January 4 from 5:00pm – 8:00pm at Andres-Wuestefeld Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11:00am at Friday, January 5 at St. John’s Campus of All Saints Parish. Burial at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery will immediately follow Mass. For those unable to attend, Mass will be live streamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/aspweeklyhomily. Memorials can be made to Family Wishes and Mt. Pleasant Cemetery will be accepted at the visitation or can be mailed to Andres-Wuestefeld Funeral Home. Family and friends are encouraged to leave condolences at www.andres-wuestefeldfh.com.