Robert C. Schutz III, longtime umpire, dies

Robert C. Schutz III, a longtime umpire who worked countless college and high school games throughout the state and was a retired security supervisor, died Monday of heart failure at Northwest Hospital Center. The longtime Randallstown resident was 86.

Mr. Schutz, the son of German immigrant parents, was born in Baltimore and raised on Frankford Avenue in Hamilton.

He was a 1940 graduate of Polytechnic Institute and enlisted the next year in the Marine Corps. He was a rear-gunner with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in the Pacific Theater during World War II and fought at the Battle of Midway.

After being discharged, Mr. Schutz worked as a deputy sheriff in Frederick County through the 1950s. From 1955 to 1975, he worked for Household Finance, Beneficial Finance and Baltimore Federal Savings and Loan.

He was security supervisor for 11 years at Providence Hospital in Washington, until retiring in 1986.

An avid lifelong baseball fan, Mr. Schutz umpired thousands of college and high school games during his career as well as training new umpires each spring.

In addition to umpiring games, teaching and serving as rules interpreter for the Anne Arundel Umpires Association, Mr. Schutz also was an umpire for the Mason Dixon Baseball Umpires Association.

"I've known Bob for 16 years and he was very dedicated to umpiring. He loved baseball and he loved the rules," said Tom O'Hara, state rules interpreter for the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association.

"When I gave my course on the rules, he tape-recorded them, and if he needed them, could call them up. He loved talking about rules and barking on the field, and every time he was on the field, he gave it his all," he said.

"At times, he would second-guess himself after a game, but we all do that. You're not worth your salt if you don't," Mr. O'Hara said. "But he was a rule-book guy whose book was filled with underlined and highlighted rules."

Mr. O'Hara said that his colleague was "dedicated, enjoyed the comradeship of umpires, and did the work because he loved it."

"He was one of our oldest umpires and he'll certainly be missed," he said.

While Mr. Schutz gave up active umpiring in 2001, he continued being a rules instructor.

"Bob was a dedicated umpire and an absolute expert on the rules of baseball. He also took great pride in his work and his dress when he appeared on the field," said Jim O'Connor, who has umpired for 60 years.

"I think he probably worked 200 games a year. He was unflappable and always controlled his games very well," he said.

Mr. Schutz also umpired international baseball games at the old Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards, said his son, Marine Corps Col. Robert C. Schutz IV of Quantico, Va.

Mr. Schutz was honored for his 40 years of umpiring by the Mason Dixon Baseball Umpires Association, who presented him their Oaky O'Connor Award this year. In 2008, he was inducted into the Old Timers Baseball Association of Maryland.

Mr. Schutz was an avid hunter and had also been active for many years with Boy Scout Troop 800, where he had been assistant Scoutmaster.

"When he finally hung up his mask, turned in his ball and strike counter at the age of 77, his umpiring had spanned five decades, and by his count, close to 9,000 baseball games," his son said.

"Truly, there was not a place in the whole wide world he'd rather be than on a fresh-cut ball diamond on a sunny Baltimore afternoon with two teams ready to play ball," Colonel Schutz said.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Connelly Funeral Home of Essex, 300 Mace Ave.

Also surviving are his wife of 66 years and grade school sweetheart, Anita Schutz; two daughters, Patricia Durham of Newark, Del., and Roberta Fish of Hammonton, N.J.; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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