John James Schuler, Paso Robles, formerly of Monterey, passed away on Friday July 28, 2017, three weeks before his 85th birthday from advanced vascular dementia.
John was born and raised in Ferguson, Mo.; graduating in 1950 from St. Louis University High School. Two years after beginning college at University of Missouri at Columbia in Engineering, John enlisted in the US Army, and served in Germany. While travelling on leave, he discovered the Nuremburg Race Track. Then on, he would spend his free time there, driving and learning to race, and proudly obtaining his racing driver’s license. For the next 30 years he would drive, work on and co-own race cars, racing in Cotati, Sears Point, Laguna Seca, Portland and Baja California.
Returning from Europe with an honorable discharge, John resumed studies at Mizzou for a BS in Statistics then graduate studies in Experimental Designs and Statistics. As a graduate assistant, he supervised the statistical laboratory and taught the use of calculators in solving statistical problems. John also spent a summer in Florida visiting his brother and continuing grad studies at U of Florida. He would fondly recall this time as one of the best summers of his life.
Back in Missouri after his summer of fun, John worked as a Senior Quality Control Analyst for Bendix Corporation in Kansas City. Wanting to leave shoveling snow and cold weather behind, he relocated to Sacramento as a Mathematician for Aerojet-General Corp. He was instrumental in the development of the Titan system and assisted in technical presentation to prospective clients.
In Sacramento, John and fellow co-worker sports car enthusiasts formed a team and built a race car, racing in Cotati. A racing trip brought him to Monterey to the new Laguna Seca Raceway. John immediately fell in love with the track, the peninsula and began pursuing a job to relocate.
John’s long career as a private contractor for the US Army began in Monterey. He worked for Litton Industries, Braddock, Dunn & McDonald (BDM), Arcata Corp, Planning Research Corp (PRC), and finally Computer Sciences Corp (CSC). John was a Senior Statistician, Project Manager, Consultant, and Senior Operations Research Analyst. Travel was a major career component. Testing and research at Fort Ord, Fort Hunter Liggett and Camp Roberts, and presentations for Government officials in Washington DC. The development of MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) was a favorite project as testing found John and his family in Hawaii for three months.
John absolutely loved Fort Hunter Liggett. He was delighted to be part of the mapping and surveying of FHL, often commenting on the beauty of the military reservation. This task gave him the chance to explore the entire reservation, finding hidden and not so hidden historical landmarks while marveling at the terrain’s beauty and enjoying the warm weather. After commuting from Monterey for over twenty years, he would finally move to Paso Robles.
During the 70’s in Monterey, John was still involved in sports car racing, working with a few different race teams. Trading the driver’s seat for a mechanic’s creeper, his expertise was in suspension and building/rebuilding engines. During race weekends, John and his family would be found at racetrack. John was an enthusiastic spectator, taking his children and passing along his love of racing. The end of the 70’s found John as the managing owner of Kawasaki of Monterey where he also sponsored a motorcycle racer. John sold Kawasaki in 1980, going back to private contracting for the Government.
After 30+ years in sports car racing, John took up a different hobby- winemaking. He was already interested in wine when a former Army retired co-worker turned winemaker asked for help at Soledad’s new Smith & Hook winery. John eagerly assisted on the weekends. Eventually he would purchase and move to a defunct vineyard in Westside Paso Robles. After his private contracting career ended, John took Enology and Viticulture at Cal Poly. Unfortunately as John aged and health problems commenced, he was unable to perform the necessary work in the vineyard. The vineyard was sold to “move to town”.
John was predeceased by his son Matthew, father-in-law TeTseng Liu, nephew Michael, parents Leonard and Catherine Schuler, sister MaryKay and her husband Jim Hughes, brother Leonard Schuler, and sister Louis Margaret Schuler with Sisters of the Incarnate Word Order.
John is survived by his wife of 46 years Suzanna, daughter Margie Berumen (Mike), sons from first marriage Konrad (RuthAnn) and Miles, and grandsons Beau, Jack, and Drew. Also left behind are his mother-in-law Miranda Liu, brother-in-law Edward Liu (Phyllis), sisters-in-law Yvonne Liu (Jim Krider) and Grace Liu-Smith (Mike), and many nephews and nieces in Calif., Ore., Hawaii, Mont., Ky., Texas, Va., and Norway.
John overcame many challenges. The divorce of his first marriage, a broken wrist from a racing accident repaired with four screws and a plate, quadruple bypass heart attack, lymphoma cancer, son Matthew and nephew Michael’s deaths. Unfortunately, the one obstacle he would never overcome was dementia. A slow and tragic progression, dementia eventually robbed John of his once brilliant mind and control of his body.
John loved his birthday parties for the gathering of good friends with good cheer, good food and good wine. If he didn’t recognize or had just met you, he still treated you as a friend. His memorial service will be held on his 85th birthday, Sunday August 13, 2017 at 4 p.m. in Templeton. Please call 805-712-8526 for location and details. Future internment at the CA Central Coast Veterans Cemetery in Seaside.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to either Alzheimer’s Research with the Alzheimer’s Association 3232 S Higuera #101A, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 or to VA medical facility of greater LA.