Rev. Walter M. Schell, 87, of Loyalsock Township, passed away on Saturday, January 30, 2021 at UPMC Susquehanna. Walter was born on June 26, 1933 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was the oldest son of W. Mettlen Schell and Mabel Long Schell. Walter graduated from John Harris High School in 1951 and Elizabethtown College in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology. He received his Bachelor of Sacred Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from Wesley Theological Seminary, Westminster, Maryland, in 1958.
Walter’s early years were spent participating in many activities at Stevens Memorial Methodist Church in Harrisburg where his family was very active and at Schell’s Seed Store, the family business. He continued to work at the seed store while a student at Elizabethtown College, where Walter met the love of his life, Marian Meyer. They spent their college days singing in the choir and going on mission trips where Marian sang and Walter preached. On May 26, 1956, the couple married a week before being appointed to their first church while Walter was still in seminary. They celebrated nearly 64 wonderful years of married life together.
Walter answered his call to ministry at an early age and fulfilled this calling by serving 39 years at four United Methodist church appointments – Wesley Church (Marysville, PA), Calvary Church (Fayetteville, PA), Faith Church (Montoursville, PA), and Pine Street Church (Williamsport, PA). He also served as a District Superintendent for the United Methodist Church (Williamsport, PA). In addition, Walter served on many Conference boards and commissions in various leadership roles. He had a gift for administration and capital improvement campaigns and oversaw many building projects throughout his ministry tenure. In recognition of his lifetime ministry efforts, at his retirement in 1995, Walter received United Churches’ Ecumenical Service Award for service to the “homeless, poor, and neglected in our community and world” and several distinctions at Pine Street United Methodist Church. He was known for his compassion, wise counsel, and energetic disposition.
In addition to being a faithful servant of God, Walter was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He saw his ministry as a shared one with his beloved wife, about whom he wrote “together – never alone – could we travel this road.” Walter loved Marian’s apple pies, sweets of any kind, iced tea, and planting flowers. He worked outside so frequently, people passing by would sometimes mistake him for the church gardener.
The pride and joy of his life was his family with whom he spent many wonderful holidays together and family vacations in Ocean City, NJ. Walter enjoyed bicycling on the boardwalk, eating pizza and pork rolls, and staying at the Flanders Hotel. He loved listening to his son Scott sing at the annual DooDah parade and watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy the ocean.
Surviving are one son, Walter Scott Schell, Loyalsock Township, and a daughter, Melodie Schell Schmouder (Gary), Loyalsock Township. Walter was the proud grandfather to two granddaughters: Vanessa Schmouder (Curtis Johnston) of Loyalsock Township and Janelle Schmouder (Nicholas Lewis) of Elkins Park, PA. He was blessed with three great-grandchildren, Clara Johnston, Juliette Johnston, and Robert Walter Lewis. He is predeceased by his wife, father, mother, and brother Rev. James Schell. Also surviving is a dear sister-in-law Phyllis Schell, her children, and their families.
A private family service will take place on Thursday, February 4 at 10:30 am at Pine Street United Methodist Church, Williamsport, followed by a private family burial at Montoursville Cemetery. Friends and relatives may view the livestreamed service at https://youtu.be/nQXfg0NDeZ8.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests memorial contributions to: Social Service Fund, Pine Street United Methodist Church, 441 Pine Street, Williamsport, PA 17701.
The family extends their deepest regrets that friends are not able to share in this celebration of Walter’s life in person due to coronavirus. We sincerely appreciate the many expressions of love, support, and prayer.
Arrangements are being handled by Spitler Funeral Home, Montoursville.
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