Pastor remembered for love of family, history

Staff Writer
Oscar Conrad Schultz Jr. was a teacher, historian, husband, father and grandfather, and a pastor who could read and speak Hebrew fluently.
“He was one of those guys that always seemed to do the right thing “¦ one of the more thoughtful men I’ve ever met,” said the Rev. David Welker, minister of worship and lay activities at College First Church of God in Findlay.
“My nickname for him was ‘The Prophet.'”¦ He just had an air about him “¦ He had the white hair and the beard,” Welker said.
Schultz, who died Jan. 24 at age 85, developed his faith at a young age and knew his calling was as a pastor, said his daughter, Jeanette Berg.
As a pastor he was “quiet,” but not “the counselor type,” said his wife, Abigail Rose.
“Kind and compassionate, and knowledgeable,” Berg said.
He was born on July 5, 1928, in Frederick County, Md. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Findlay College, followed by a bachelor of divinity degree at Winebrenner Seminary.
Schultz started as a pastor in 1951 in Colorado, then in Pennsylvania beginning in 1954. In 1959, the family moved to Baltimore, where he pursued a master’s degree in Old Testament history at Johns Hopkins.
There, he had to learn Hebrew, Berg said. It would become one of the subjects Schultz would go on to teach. Abigail Schultz said her husband studied Akkadian and Aramaic, as well.
The couple had met at Findlay College, where she was studying Christian education.
Abigail remembers him as “quiet but firm” and said what attracted her to him was “his curly hair.”
They married on Sept. 12, 1948. Berg, their oldest child, was born in 1953, followed by Tim, in 1954, and Jane, in 1959. Schultz is also survived by seven grandchildren and five great-granddaughters. He was one of 10 children and is survived by three sisters.
In 1970, there was an opening at Winebrenner and Schultz moved to Findlay to become a professor of Old Testament history and the Hebrew language.
“He was well-loved and respected by his students,” Berg said.
He was also a librarian at the seminary at one point, having studied in that field as well.
Welker moved to Findlay in 1989 to attend the seminary. There, he was assigned to write a short biographical paper on someone in the Church of God and Welker chose Schultz.
Welker recalled Schultz as “very knowledgable” about the Old Testament and someone who “brought deep, deep understanding to the Scriptures.”
In the Church of God, being ecumenical is not a strong part of the denomination, “but it was for Oscar and I always admired that about him,” Welker said.
Welker taught a men’s study group that Schultz belonged to. The men in the group would banter about some issue and Schultz would speak toward the end of the discussion with a comment both brief and wise, Welker said.
Schultz was one of the more well-known Hebrew scholars of the denomination in the past 50 years or so, Welker said. He could read Hebrew “very fluently.”
Welker said he also had a strong understanding of the Old Testament, particularly Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Schultz also was active in the church choir at College First Church of God.
Berg said her father was often busy, given the demands on a pastor’s time, but would take time to play with them.
When she was selling Girl Scout cookies, her father would drive her out in the country to visit farms belonging to people who attended the church.
Berg’s oldest son was the first grandchild on both sides. When she was in the hospital after his birth in 1976, one of Schultz’s colleagues came to the hospital with an index card he had taken from Schultz’s office door.
He had written on the card, “Be nice to me today, I just became a grandfather.”
Berg said her father enjoyed both 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles and newspaper crossword puzzles.
Her children “enjoyed Grandpa Schultz,” she said.
Berg’s son is a truck driver and would talk often with his grandfather, who had a good sense of direction, about driving and road conditions. Schultz was also interested in genealogy and traced back his own family, as well as Abigail’s.
“He would get a little excited” upon discovering a connection with another genealogist researching the same family member, Berg said.
His interest in history also extended into archaeology and he was able to go on a couple of digs in Jordan in the 1970s. His son Tim, about 21 at the time, accompanied him on one of the digs. They found a few items, including shards of pottery.
In the 1980s, he retired and put his energy into community service. He had been involved with the Lions Club since the 1960s, but became more active after his retirement.
“Everything the Lions did, he was into,” Berg said.
He served as district governor for the Lions Club in 1997-98.
Abigail Schultz said he liked the sense of “being able to help others,” since the Lions are noted for helping those unable to get eye examinations and glasses.
He also liked “the camaraderie,” Berg said.
“Camaraderie was kind of a big deal to him, wherever he was.”
He was also involved with Findlay’s Masonic Order. Abigail Schultz’s father had been involved with the Masons and got his son-in-law interested.
Berg said the family heard from the widow of a man Schultz had known in the Masons.
This man was not interested in God or church, but, before he died, he told his wife that if he were to talk about things of God, there were “only two people on Earth” he’d talk about them with. One was Oscar Schultz.
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