Rev. Dr. Jon Charles Schultz

Rev. Dr. Jon Charles Schultz

The Rev. Dr. Jon Charles Schultz, born on June 3, 1937, in Highland Park, Michigan, died on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, at Agrace Hospice Center in Fitchburg.

Pastor Jon was raised at Salem Evangelical & Reformed Church in Farmington, Mich., where his father was the minister. He graduated from Elmhurst College in 1959, where he met Rheda Marie Warming, his future wife of sixty years, while working in the cafeteria kitchen washing dishes. In 1962, he graduated from Eden Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He was ordained the same year and began his first pastorate in the small farming community of Republic, Ohio. He later said that this was where he learned to do ministry.

In 1967, he accepted a call as assistant pastor at Church of the Master in Florissant, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Four years later, he began ministry at Memorial United Church of Christ. At that time, the congregation was located near Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. Later, Jon and lay leaders helped relocate the congregation to Lacy Road in Fitchburg, where it now flourishes.

Jon later accepted calls at Samuel United Church of Christ in Clayton, Missouri, and as interim pastor at North United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio. In retirement, he served as interim at Paoli United Church of Christ, and as pulpit supply in many congregations in Southwest Wisconsin.

Across his career, Jon supported wider church ministries, including the Church and Ministry committee for the Southwest Association, and on the Wisconsin Conference Board of Directors.

He also served the Madison community in many ways, including participating in the Triangle and Madison Urban Ministries, and by co-founding Hospice Care (later Agrace Hospice). He was a long-time peace and justice advocate, beginning with civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s, despite being forbidden to do so by seminary faculty. Later, he took part in the Nuclear Freeze movement of the early 1980s, and marched against Ronald Reagan’s economic policies in the 1981 Solidarity Day Rally in Washington D.C. He opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003. As late as 2011, at age 74, he half-jokingly notified his son to have bail money ready in case he was arrested protesting Act 10 at the Wisconsin State Capitol. He worked for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church, and on behalf of immigrants and refugees. He saw his work for gun control as a stand for children.

His giving took other forms as well. For thirteen years, Jon and Rheda volunteered as tutors and mentors at Hawthorne School in Madison. He participated in his church until very near the end of his life, serving as a confirmation mentor, as well as participating in anti-racism workshops and the congregation’s immigration task force.

According to Jon, children were the best part of ministry. He particularly remembered Christmas Eve services, and doing the Children’s Moment in Sunday morning worship, at which he excelled, along with preaching. At his home congregation, Jon was well-known for enjoying “dirt cups” with Gummi worms with the children.

Jon was a fiercely competitive card player. He was widely rumored among his children to cheat at Monopoly and Hearts. He strongly denied cheating at Monopoly but had no comment on Hearts. Jon enjoyed birdwatching, often taking part in annual counts of the bird population, reading, spending time in Door County, and riding his Trek road bike. While he enjoyed making and eating nearly any kind of ice cream, butter pecan was a particular favorite.

Jon was a loving and faithful husband, father and grandfather.

He is survived by his wife, Rheda Schultz; five children, Peter (Malena) Schultz of Madison, Sara Schultz (Rick McWayne) of Copperas Cove, Texas, the Rev. Daniel (Jennifer) Schultz of Fond du Lac Wisconsin, Rebecca Schultz (Jim Krogmeier) of Oro Valley, Arizona, and Jon Andrew Schultz of Madison; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; two sisters: Ruth Frayer and Jane Long; and two sisters-in-law, Marian Tiedemann and Jacquie Warming.

He was preceded in death by his parents, the Rev. Carl and Barbara Schultz; and one brother, Steven Schultz.

Jon was a member of Plymouth UCC, 2401 Atwood Ave., Madison, where his memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Visitation will be held at the church from 9 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to peace and justice causes: suggestions include The Immigration Task Force of Plymouth UCC, or the Goodman Center in Madison.

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Jon. Acknowledge, we humbly pray, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, and a son of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the company of the saints in light.

Online condolences may be made at

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