John "Jack" Schils

  • Born: April 13, 1928
  • Died: February 14, 2020
  • Location: Battle Creek, Michigan

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care

105 Capital Ave NE
Battle Creek, MI 49017

Tel. (269) 962-5527

Tribute & Message From The Family

John (Jack) Schils, 91, of Battle Creek died February 14, 2020. He was born April 13, 1928 in Escanaba, MI, the son of John and Helga Schils. He is survived by his wife, Jo, sons, Gary (Sylvia), Brian (Sheila), Don (Julie) and Dean, three grandchildren, Dane, Tauri and Pari, and a sister, Louvaine. He was preceded in death by his brother, Gordon.

Jack graduated from Escanaba High School in 1946. He was a member of the National Honor Society and received the Rotary Club Award for Scholarship, service and leadership. He earned nine letters in football, basketball and track. He played on two U.P. Championships in baseball and one in football. He was a member of the first U.P. All-Star Football team.

Following graduation from high school he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Alaska. After an honorable discharge he enrolled at Northern Michigan University where he earned 11 letters in football, basketball and track. He was captain of the basketball team. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1952. In 1986 he was inducted into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame.

After graduating from NMU he married Jo Carol Hurst of Marquette on June 14, 1952. Both of them were hired to teach at the high school in Hancock, MI. Jack taught biology and was head basketball coach as well as an assistant in football and track.

In 1954 Jack accepted a teaching job in Hudson, MI, where he taught biology and was head basketball coach and also coached football and track. His 1958 basketball team was a semi-finalist in the State Basketball Tournament.

In 1958 he earned his Master's Degree in Secondary School Administration from the University of Michigan. He and his wife then moved to Battle Creek, MI where he again taught biology and became an assistant coach in football, and head JV basketball coach for 10 years at Battle Creek Central High School. In 1968 he became athletic director and was instrumental in starting the BCC Holiday Tournament. He also managed several State, Regional and 6A League track meets. After four years as athletic director he became the assistant principal at BCC.

In 1974 he was hired as principal at Northwestern Junior High School where he remained until his retirement in 1986. During his time as principal the school was recognized as one of the outstanding junior high schools in Michigan.

After retirement in 1986, Jack and Jo have spent summers at their log home on Bass Lake near Gwinn in the Upper Peninsula. They have also enjoyed a lot of traveling, having been to all 50 states in the USA and to 14 countries in Europe and Asia. When in Battle Creek, they loved their condo in Potters Grove and loved spending time with family and friends in the area.

Friends will be received on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care. A memorial service to celebrate Jack's life will be 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 19 at the First United Methodist Church. Memorial donations may be made to the John "Jack" and Jo Schils Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Battle Creek Community Foundation. Personal messages for the family may be placed at


Condolence & Memory Journal

Just learned of my cousin Jack passing. We saw him on January 25th at my sisters celebration of life dinner in Grand Rapids. I am so grateful that his son brought Jack and Jo to the dinner. We had a nice visit and We hugged when they left. We had many visits with Jack and Jo at their cabin or ours at Round Lake in the UP. We will miss him but he will always be in our hearts
Remember Jack
Jan and Bill Redman

Posted by Jan Redman (Nelson) - Spring Lake, MI - Family   March 25, 2020

Jo, Dick was kind enough to let me know aboutJack. He was respected by so many. I am sorry I am overseas. My thoughts are with you

Posted by Loraine Cowe - Richland, MI - Coworker   February 21, 2020

Mr. Schils taught me biology at BCCHS in 1963. He was a great teacher and made biology fun. Thank you for sharing him with so many students.

Posted by Cindy Loser - Saint Cloud, FL - Student   February 21, 2020

We are better for having known him...Jack was a wonderful friend to my parents Bob and Phyllis Bokhart. My thoughts and prayers are with you, his family. Nothing can prepare us for the loss of a loved one. We need to take one day at a time and grieve at our own pace and I think we all know that. Hugs to you all.

Posted by Barb Steffee - Greenville, MI   February 20, 2020

I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Schils passing. I have many fond memories of he and his family on teacher camping trips and playing bridge with my mother and father.

Mrs Schils: Please accept my sincerest condolences to you and your sons.
Thanks for the good times we had together.

Posted by Barbara Payson - Belmont MI, MI - Family Friend   February 19, 2020

best fiend and principal iever had

Posted by terry conklin - Battle creek, IA - Student   February 19, 2020

My condolences to the Schils family. Although I was not coached directly by Coach Schils he was an integral part of the Bearcats football team during my HS years from 1966-69! He was a good communicator and teacher! I attended Jack Finn's memorial several years ago and I was amazed when Coach Schils walked up to me and called me by name! A life well lived and one class individual.

Posted by David Horn Bearcats 1969 - Cincinnati, OH - Student   February 19, 2020

What a great man.He coached me in football and hired me for a short term job at Northwestern JHS.Always upbeat, smart. A real gentleman. I always thought highly of him. A man in full if there ever was one.

Posted by Gary Bundy - Acworth, GA - Friend   February 18, 2020

RIP Mr. teacher who I always respected and enjoyed (except for the frog dissecting thing)! He made Biology very interesting and at times actually fun! God Bless the family, prayers for all of you~Sharon (Van Auken) Hawthorne class of '62 BCC

Posted by Sharon Hawthorne - White Pigeon, MI   February 18, 2020

I got to know Jack through our Tuesday morning breakfast group with the retired Northwestern staff. Although I never worked for Jack, he welcomed me with a smile and pleasant conversation. He appeared to me as a person of immense kindness and consideration. Jack shared his daily mantra with us, quite a positive outlook on life. I remember telling my husband that I wished I had worked for him at the time. I loved him tell funny stories about his life. He made the most of it. I will miss him.

Posted by Linda Barnett - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   February 18, 2020

My love and sympathy to all. Jack was a great man. He always made sure he came to me at Greeting Time in church to shake my hand and ask how I was doing . After reading his obituary I hadn't realized what an accomplished man he was. He will be so missed by all of us at church.

Posted by Jeanne Winer - Battle Creek, MI - Friend   February 17, 2020

My heart and my prayers goes out to the whole family. I have thought of the Schils many times over the last 50 year since I left Battle Creek. The Schils gave me my first job, babysitting Gary and Brian, then Don and Dean. I still have a photograph of 3 of the boys holding baby Dean. It is so hard to lose someone you love so much.

Posted by Cheri Sandlin, nee Murrie - Leesburg, FL   February 17, 2020

Deepest HEARTfelt sympathy to the Schil family. Find peace & comfort in same promises Coach did....

Posted by John Heil - KANKAKEE, IL - Family Friend   February 17, 2020


I'm so sorry to heard about the passing of Jack. My thoughts and Prayers are with you all.

Posted by Kathy Lichtenberger - Battle Creek, MI   February 17, 2020

Mrs. Schils and Dean -

Please accept my sincere sympathy and condolences. Mr. Schils was always so kind whenever I would see him and he had such a tremendous wit and sense of humor. May the many years of good times and fond memories get you through these challenging times ahead.

Jim McHale

Posted by Jim McHale - Jackson, MS - Family Friend   February 17, 2020

So sorry to hear about Jack's passing.He was such a great teacher,and coach. He was an even better husband, father, grandfather. As a friend he was always there to offer support and comfort. What a great man, and what a great life he shared with so many.

Posted by John Finn - Clare, MI - Family Friend   February 17, 2020

Sorry to hear about the passing of your dad. Wishing grace and peace to your family in this time

Posted by Matt Schreiner - Kalamazoo, MI - Student   February 16, 2020