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Bert Schrank

Thursday, January 7, 2021
Bert Schrank

Wilbert William (Bert) Schrank humbly and peacefully passed away Dec. 31, 2020.

In his life he stood for family, Christian faith, community, loyalty, acceptance, encouragement, support, respect and friendship. His morning routine in town meant as much to those he shared it with every day as it did to him. He touched many lives near and far, and he will be forever missed.

Visitation will be at Riley Funeral Home through this week and a graveside service will be held in Oakwood Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 11 a.m.

Bert was born Oct. 28, 1923, to Clara Louise Reinert Schrank and Melvin Neal Schrank. He was delivered by his grandmother in her farmhouse in Pottsville. He told the story that he failed to thrive and they almost lost him, but Dr. Cleveland, a well-known physician in Hamilton County, suggested that they try boiling oats and feeding him the liquid, and it worked! He went on to become great friends with Dr. Cleveland later in life and served as a pallbearer at his funeral in 1976.

He grew up in Pottsville. He was baptized and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church and was a member there until the church consolidated with St. John Lutheran in Hamilton in 1975. He attended parochial school at Immanuel for six years and then went on to public school. He played sixman football and made the first touchdown that the Pottsville Bobcats ever scored, as well as stepped in to play the trombone at half-time. He was valedictorian of his graduating class in 1940.

He enrolled at Tarleton Agricultural College in 1941 where he was a member of the band and ROTC. While there he joined the U.S. Army Reserves.

In 1942 he went on to Texas A&M and was called to active duty in February, 1943. He transferred to the Army Air Corps, trained at Sheppard Field, was deployed to Saipan followed by Peleliu Island, and then was discharged in 1946.

After returning home, he worked in his dad’s mechanic garage and began classes at Texas Christian University, but an opportunity to become consignee for Mobil Oil in the Hamilton area was offered to him. From there his career as a successful businessman had begun.

He met Nancy Fay Pruitt, who worked at the Hamilton National Bank, and they married Feb. 15, 1951.

They had three daughters, Suzanne, Patti and Betsy.

In 1992, he returned to TCU and walked the stage to many cheers graduating with a bachelor’s degree, fulfilling that unfinished goal. He wore his TCU ring with great pride and was an avid supporter of the Horned Frogs and the Alumni Association.

Service to community was a very important part of his life. He was a longtime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion Cunningham Post 222 and Hamilton Lions Club for more than 70 years. He was a volunteer with the Hamilton Fire Department for 26 years. He served on the Hamilton General Hospital Board, and he and Fay were committed to making sure that its doors stayed open for the county. He served 13 years on the Hamilton School Board as well as many other local boards and committees.

He genuinely cared and loved seeing the progress and improvement in his hometown and was duly recognized as Citizen of the Year for his dedication in 1992.

He was a dedicated member of St. John Lutheran Church, where he served as an elder and congregation president, taught the Senior Youth Sunday school classes and was on the building committee that helped plan the new church on Highway 22. He was a devout Christian witness to his faith.

Preceding him in death were his wife of 60 years Fay, daughter Patti McMahon and nephew Phillip King.

He leaves behind to honor him his daughters Suzanne Jarvis and husband Bob and Betsy

Marwitz and husband Dane; son-in-law Mark McMahon; sister Melba Ruth King and husband Jim; his grandchildren, of whom he was so proud, Brennan Jarvis, Bryan Parker Jarvis and wife Blaire, Kaylan Garrett and husband Hayden, Bethany Jarvis, Cullen McMahon, Elizabeth Kaupas and husband Ryan, Whitney Wood and husband Dan, Samantha Wilkins and husband Devin, Amy McMahon, Melissa Baird and husband Craig, Jared Marwitz and wife Bonnie and Brittany Patek and husband Tommy; his great-grandchildren, who always brought a smile to his face, Presley, Gavin, Locklyn, and Spencer Jarvis, Gabriella, Seth and Jason Kaupas, Patti Jo and Asa Wood. Patti Noel, Marisol, Ebenezer and Alice Wilkins. Ellis Baird, Bryson Marwitz and Ella and Beau Patek; and nieces and nephew Carolyn Pontikes, Karen Burch, Jimmy King, Sharon Castronovo and Sarah King and families.

Memorials can be made to St. John Lutheran Church, Hamilton Public Library and Hamilton General Hospital.