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Hon. Gene Schnelz

April 1, 1933 December 5, 2020
Hon. Gene Schnelz
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Obituary for Hon. Gene Schnelz

Hon. Gene Schnelz (retired), born April 1, 1933, Dermott, Arkansas, passed peacefully at his home in Novi, Michigan, on Saturday, December 5, 2020. Raised in Hazel Park, he graduated from Hazel Park High School and attended Alma College before pursuing a career in law. After graduating from Detroit College of Law (MSU) in 1957, he was sworn in as an attorney on January 20, 1958. He established a municipal law practice in Walled Lake, Michigan, representing a number of local municipalities and the Walled Lake Consolidated School District. He was elected to the 52-1 District Court in 1974, where he served until he was elected to the Oakland County Circuit Court bench in 1978. He retired from the circuit bench in 2007 and continued to practice law, acting as Of Counsel to the law firm of Schnelz Wells, P.C.

Judge Schnelz had a deep love for his family and his church. He met the love of his life, Betty Jean nee VanEaton, in 1955, and on their second date told her they would be married. At the time of his death, they had been married for over 64 years. They raised three children together and later took great joy in spending time with their four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Judge Schnelz’s faith in God was at the core of each day and shaped his life. He served the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod on a national level for more than 15 years as parliamentarian, and was an elder at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Walled Lake, for over 50 years. He took great joy in his opportunities to coach young men and women in local youth athletics, as well as local high school forensic team members.

Judge Schnelz was well known for his sense of humor and because of it he was frequently sought out to be an MC for public events. He loved the law and the legal profession and spent many years promoting and bettering that profession through service to the Bar and the public at large. For that dedication, among numerous other awards during his career, in 1994 he received the highest award given by the State Bar of Michigan, the Roberts P. Hudson Award, which is given only periodically to a lawyer that demonstrates unselfish and outstanding service to the legal profession and the public, and brings honor, esteem, and respect to the legal profession.

Judge Schnelz is survived by his loving wife, Betty, son Kurt (Maha) Schnelz, daughters Elizabeth (Ralph) Rexroat, and Rebecca Schnelz; grandchildren Stephanie (Robert) Beach, Steven Schnelz, Carrie Rexroat, and Jacob (Kaitlyn) Rexroat, and great-grandchildren Grace and Bradley Beach, as well as many extended family members and friends whom he considered family.

A private immediate family service was held at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Walled Lake. Judge Schnelz will be interred at Glen Eden Lutheran Memorial Park in Livonia, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Angela Hospice at, or Hospitality House of Commerce Twp.


Event Information

Services are private.

Cemetery Details


Glen Eden Memorial Park Final Resting Place

35667 W. 8 Mile Rd
Livonia , MI 48152

35667 W. 8 Mile Rd Livonia 48152 MI
United States

Memorial Contribution

Angela Hospice

Hospitality House Food Pantry


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