"The community has really lost a great soul."
That's how Scott Ford, commissioner of the Lefty Grove League, described the death of George Schild, who died Monday at the age of 89.
Ford noted that the longtime area businessman, founder of Schild's IGA, sponsored the baseball league for more than half-a-century and helped raise funds for local school teachers to purchase supplies.
For Nancy Griener, who once worked at Schild's, it was again giving, and also caring, that characterized Mr. Schild's commitment to his employees and the community in which he lived and traded.
A veteran of World War II who was decorated for his participation in the Battle of the Bulge, Mr. Schild's commitment to his community extended to its veterans. He was a member of the Norwalk V.F.W. 2743, Norwalk American Legion Post 41 and the Monroeville American Legion Post 547, serving two terms as post commander.
Another tribute to Mr. Schild is that the business he founded more than 50 years ago continues to thrive and remains in the hands of his family. That's increasingly rare today when so many other family-owned businesses from that era live only in the memories of the town's old-timers, having long ago either succumbed to competition from, or been gobbled up by, national chain stores. While sponsorships and donations from a business are certainly admirable, they pale when compared to the number of people who have been able to earn livelihoods over such a long period as a result of a businessman's acumen.
While Mr. Schild's body will be laid to rest today, the community spirit of this "great soul," will live on for as long as there's a Norwalk.