On Monday, July 5, 2021, Donald C. Schek, loving husband, father of six, grandfather of 12, great-grandfather of 5, passed away at the age of 94. Don was born in 1927 in Trenton, NJ, to Charles and Florence Schek. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and began classes in June 1945 before being drafted into the Army. After the conclusion of his service, he returned home to Trenton.
Don earned his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and his MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. In July of 1953, during his second year of medical school, Don married Janet Nixon of Waterford, NY. They moved to Grand Rapids, MI, two years later, where Don completed his internship at Butterworth Hospital and Janet worked as a nurse. They raised their children in the Grand Rapids area. Janet passed in 1975.
After being introduced by mutual friends, Don and Phyllis Plasman married in August of 1979. Together they enjoyed golf, skiing, and traveling, with a highlight being a trip to Europe, which included time spent in Hungary, birthplace of Don's grandfather.
Don was a man of many interests and abilities. He loved photography, woodworking, and sailing. On vacations to the East Coast, he taught his kids how to catch blue crabs, crack and eat a lobster, and correctly tie various boating knots. A talented athlete, Don played baseball, basketball, football, and racquetball in his youth, and golf well into his senior years. He also enjoyed watching sports on TV and attending the sporting events of his children and grandchildren.
Don's passion for cooking was also well known. At times, he wistfully entertained the idea of opening his own restaurant in the family's home—one table of eight with two seatings on Friday and Saturday nights.
A lifelong learner, Don was the first in the family to own a PC. His children and grandchildren always looked forward to receiving birthday cards he made using Photoshop to cleverly manipulate pictures of them. They also have fond memories of weekend trips to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, winter forays onto the frozen beaches of Lake Michigan, and summer trips in the family motorhome.
Don is survived by his loving wife, Phyllis, and six children, Melissa (Howard), Ellen (Mike), Betsy (Mark), Debby (Pete), Tom, and Katie (Todd), and his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by granddaughter Andrea Banas.
Visitation will be held at 10am on Saturday, July 10, 2021, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 2 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI, with the funeral to follow at 11am. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Holland Home Foundation, 2100 Raybrook SE, Ste 300, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 2265 Livernois Road, Ste 10, Troy, MI 48083 or Immanuel Lutheran Church, 2 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.
Michigan Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis
2265 Livernois Road, Ste 410, Troy MI 48083
Immanuel Lutheran Church
2 Michigan St. N.E., Grand Rapids MI 49503
2100 Raybrook St. SE Suite 300, Grand Rapids MI 49546