John Clyde Schimmel

East Lansing – John Clyde Schimmel, age 73 died peacefully with family by his side, Saturday, November 25, 2017.  John was born July 29, 1944 in Battle Creek, MI to the late Clyde and Arlene (Best) Schimmel.

He was a graduate of Battle Creek High School, Kellogg Community College, and Wayne State University and received his Master’s Degree from Michigan State University.  John retired from the Lansing School District in 2001, having served 32 years as teacher, naturalist and director. In December of 2002, he helped create the Ebersole Foundation and served as its first President where he was instrumental in raising $600,000 to purchase and preserve land adjacent to the Center. John was ahead of his time as a longtime advocate out–of-door environmental education.  He put his heart and soul into trailblazing activities to provide hands-on education for youth.  He took pride in developing comprehensive curriculum guides for the Center, annual canoe trips into the Wilderness of Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park, a 14 panel solar heating/education system for the main lodge, building an authentic First Nation Wigwam, team building courses and loved doing pond study and owl pellet dissection with the kids. In 1990 the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education awarded John the Julian W. Smith Award for significant attainment in the area of outdoor education over an extended period of time. Also, in 2001, the Lansing Board of Education officially named the prairie at the Ebersole Center, the John C. Schimmel Prairie to honor his work at the Center. When not engaged teaching other children he adored spending time with his own teaching them the love of water, sailing, swimming and a respect for the environment. When not feeling the breeze behind the sail of a boat, you might find him on his Harley Road King, driving his convertible Miata or fly fishing the nearest stream.

He will be profoundly missed by his wife Cheryl (Cheri) Schimmel and his two children Jonathan (Noreen) Schimmel, Jenifer (George) Michos from his first marriage to Sharon (Smith) Schimmel and three step-children who adored him too, Jennifer (Steve) Converse, Rebecca (Adam) Boyce, Elizabeth (Patrick) Schieding.  John leaves behind three siblings: Gordon (Dale) Schimmel, Marlene Schimmel Kershaw and Ross (Nanc) Schimmel and one brother who predeceased him, Chris Schimmel and 15 grandchildren who were the light of his life.

Visitation is at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel, Lansing, MI on December 2, 2017 from 2-4 pm.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 16, 2018, with Ricky Wright officiating, on the Ebersole Center’s John Schimmel Prairie.   In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Ebersole Foundation-John C. Schimmel Fund, P.O. Box 4802, East Lansing, MI 48826.

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Ken Slater
November 29, 2017 at 8:51 am

Cheri, John gave so much to our community and especially to the children of the Lansing School District. Ebersole is one of the gems in our education system and our daughters both loved going there. He will be remembered for all he gave and all he did for so many. Our prayers are with you.


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