Louis Schmecker, Jr. Memorial Fund
The teaching profession has been immortalized by the phrase, "To teach is to touch a life forever." For former Shelton High School teacher Lou Schmecker, truer words were never spoken. Lou was born and bred in Shelton, attending local public schools and graduating from Shelton High School in 1965. It was in his senior year that he met his future wife and partner, Charlotte, with whom he celebrated 41 years of life and love together. Their two children, Daniel and Jillian, grew up knowing how important education and doing one's best were to both parents.
Lou was a firm believer in continuing education, so that years after receiving his Associate's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, he changed career paths and went back to college, receiving a Bachelor's degree in teaching, followed by Master's and 6th year Degrees in Education. He taught in the Shelton school system for 30 years, beginning in Industrial Arts, and concluding with Physics at the high school. It was there that his passion for Robotics was sparked and his name became synonymous with every local mention of the word. Lou was a founder of the Shelton High School Robotics Team, and one of his main objectives was for everyone to recognize the merits and importance it would serve in today's ever-changing technological world.
When Lou passed away suddenly, his family chose to honor him by continuing to support this endeavor. They established the Louis Schmecker, Jr. Memorial Fund with the Valley Community Foundation to ensure that Lou's passion for Robotics will live on for years to come.
His children are both extremely proud of Lou's legacy. Daniel remembers, "Dad was the greatest man I've ever known - a thinker, a doer, a designer, an explorer, a true artist, a dreamer, a loving friend, father and husband. His teaching and mentoring were just two of the many great things he accomplished in his own life. He made a positive difference in many other lives."
Daughter Jillian followed in her Dad's footsteps and teaches special education in the Shelton school system. "Dad was my hero," she said. "I could go to him with any problem, and through his guidance and love, I learned so much."
When Lou retired in 2009, his Robotics team honored him and had this to say, "Mr. Schmecker was known for his 'hands on' and practical approach to complex subjects, such as physics and mechanical engineering, helping students to visualize, understand and solve problems which they faced." The robots he and his team built together pivoted, telescoped, and reached for the skies. Under Lou's leadership, the Shelton Robotics team won numerous awards at both the regional and national levels.
The most important thing to Lou was the process, and he loved and encouraged the journeys taken along the way to the finish. He truly embodied the tenets of the FIRST Robotics Program "Igniting Minds, Nurturing Passions and Practicing Gracious Professionalism."
And now, through the - Louis Schmecker, Jr. Memorial Fund, his legacy will forever continue to touch so very many other lives.