Melvin Louis Schuweiler
August 15, 1921 – June 11, 2018
Melvin L. Schuweiler (August 15, 1921- June 11, 2018) led a distinguished career both in and out of public service. Born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin to Louis P. Schuweiler and Suzanne Elizabeth Danielski Schuweiler, he was married to Mary Burke Babcock from 1944 until her death in 2008. He and Mary met when she was queen of the Blackout Ball at the University of Wisconsin where they were both students. She was the love of his life; Mel treasured his family above all.
In his youth he excelled in sports, theater, the debate team, as a student government class president, editor of the yearbook and in scholastics as a member of the National Honors Society. He went on to study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Cambridge University, England (at the end of the war); and earned a B.S. in International Relations at American University, Washington D.C.
His college studies were interrupted by World War II where he served in the 53rd Armored Infantry Battalion, 4th Armored Division, earning a European Theater of Operations with 3 campaign stars, Purple Heart with one cluster, Silver Star for Gallantry in action, Bronze Star for Valor and Presidential Unit Citation Badge. He was promoted from First Lieutenant to Captain by the end of the war. Rex Hendrix, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, said of Mel: “…the man who rates number 1 with me is my Commanding Officer First Lieutenant Melvin L. Schuweiler…He never found a place so tough that he didn’t go in first or along with we fellers…”
It was during his time in Europe that he became interested in a career in International Relations, serving with the U.S. High Commission and Military Government for Germany (in Germany from 1947-50). Subsequently he worked in the Department of State regarding Latin American development from 1951-59. After a three-year break to work in private business as National Sales Director for Ortho Vent Shoes, now known as Stuart McGuire (owned by a friend of his), Mel re-entered public service as Deputy Associate Director of the Peace Corps from 1962-1963 before joining Battelle Memorial (Research) Institute, Columbus, Ohio where he launched international research projects from 1963-1967. He returned to private business for a couple of years with Cummins Diesel Engine Company, Columbus, Indiana and then back to public service as an economist with the Agency for International Development (A.I.D) at the State Department from 1968 until his retirement in 1982. While with A.I.D. Mel was involved with researching solutions to world hunger and population growth. The family settled in Falls Church, Virginia. Mary and Mel retired to Reston, and then Greensprings Retirement Community in Springfield, Virginia, before Mel spent his final days at the Willows at Meadows Branch Assisted Living in Winchester, Virginia where he was well cared for.
After his experience during World War II, Mel’s overarching passion was to solve the world’s problems and promote peace. To that end he spent his years after retirement at work on an ambitious book, The World at Risk: A Crisis in Leadership, which, after succumbing to dementia and later to Alzheimer’s, was left unfinished. Aside from his altruism, Mel will be remembered for his talent as an amateur painter, his love of jazz, and his martinis. In addition, he and Mary enjoyed tennis, golf, dancing, bridge and entertaining. Mel always said that he and Mary were very lucky people.
Mel had a deep compassion for human suffering and a drive to live a life of moral integrity. He and Mary strove to instill these values in their children: Mark Lewis Schuweiler (husband of Jackie Mier and father of Sarah E. Zinn and Kristen Alberts) currently in Morgantown, West Virginia; Robert Charles Schuweiler (husband of Virginia Pace and father of Mary Beth Schuweiler) currently in Bunker Hill, West Virginia; Mary Suzanne “Zan” Schuweiler (wife of Harry W. Boone and mother of Zoe Rose Daab) currently in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to three children, and four grandchildren, he is survived by six great grandchildren.
A private memorial with military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.
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