Harold Schuitmaker of Lawton, MI.
9/19/1943 - 11/26/2023
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Harold George Schuitmaker, on November 26, 2023. His journey, spanning 80 years, was a testament to a life well-lived, filled with love, laughter, and an enduring commitment to family, faith, and community.
Born on September 19, 1943, in the vibrant community of Oak Park, Illinois, Harold was the eldest child of Harold and Jane (Cutler) Schuitmaker. From an early age, his inquisitive mind and warm heart set the stage for a life that would touch the lives of many.
Harold's educational odyssey began with a quest for knowledge at Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University, culminating in the attainment of a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965. Fueled by a thirst for justice and a passion for the law, he pursued a Juris Doctor degree at Wayne State University Law School, graduating in 1970. His dedication and legal acumen were recognized with the Region 8 (Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana) Outstanding Student Award from the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity.
But Harold's story extended far beyond the academic realm. On a warm August day in 1966, he wove the threads of his destiny with Zoe Verhage, his beloved life partner. Their union was a source of enduring strength, marked by love, mutual respect, and shared dreams. Together, they navigated life's journey, creating a tapestry woven with moments of joy, challenges, hard work, and unwavering support.
Beyond the courtroom, Harold's heart beat in harmony with the pulse of his community. A staunch supporter of faith, family, and freedom, he entered the political arena, running for Congress in 1980. His commitment to public service extended to his role as the longest-serving district chair of the Republican Party. As an elder of his church, he exemplified the principles he held dear, leaving an indelible mark on the congregation. Harold and Zoe Gene taught Sunday School together for over fifteen years. He was also a member of the Paw Paw Rotary and a Paul Harris Fellow.
Harold's professional career began selling real estate at Ty Carter and Associates. Harold proudly served as the president of the State Bar of Michigan Probate Council. He clerked for the honorable Judge Marjorie Luna and then began working for the Law office of Horace Adams. Harold's legal practice, founded in 1980, thrived under his expertise, particularly in the fields of Corporate Law, Trust and Estates. He was excited to welcome Christopher Moraitis to the firm who he sponsored for admittance to the bar just three weeks ago.
Harold's involvement in community initiatives went beyond the ordinary. His fingerprints adorned projects such as the incorporation of the Kal Haven Trail and his support for the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy and SLD Read in obtaining their 501(c)(3) status. These were not mere endeavors; they were chapters in a story of dedication to the betterment of the community around him.
Surviving is his loving and faithful wife Zoe (Verhage) Schuitmaker, his dear daughter Tonya Schuitmaker (Steve Mucci) his two grandchildren, Jordan S. Mucci (fiance McKenzie Doriot), Savina A.Z. Mucci and a sister. Harold is also survived by many close friends throughout the community that he considered friends throughout the years.
To those who knew him well, Harold was more than a legal luminary and a community leader; he was a kind, gentle, and loving soul. His intelligence shone through, his optimism infectious, and his sense of humor, reflected in endless bad jokes, a source of shared laughter.
As we reflect on the chapters of Harold's life, let us remember not only the legal titan, the community stalwart, but the man-a tapestry woven with the threads of love, service, and an enduring optimism that believed in the glass as half full, not half empty. May his memory continue to inspire us all.
Cremation has taken place. Family will receive friends Thursday, 5-8 p.m. at the Adams Funeral Home, 502 West Michigan Ave, Paw Paw. A memorial service will be held Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 120 Pine Street., Paw Paw, with Reverend Gail Monsma officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Paw Paw, Lawton or Mattawan Fire Departments, First Presbyterian Church, Paw Paw Area Rotary Club, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, or to Friends of the Kal Haven Trail. Share a memory or sign the online tribute wall at: www.adamspawpaw