Billy Schulz–A kind, Loving, and Courageous Gentleman

Billy Schulz passed away on Sunday, September 2, 2012. Billy loved everyone he ever met and was standing ready to love those he had yet to meet. He was a pioneer in the field of Special Needs. Billy will be missed by many people all over the world. He touched a lot of people and changed a lot of attitudes and lives.

A memorial service will be held for Billy in Kingsport, Tennessee on Saturday, September 8. I hope the meeting hall will be big enough.

You may read all about Billy if you visit the website GROWN MAN NOW

John, Jane, and Billy Schulz

John, Jane, and Billy Schulz

The following article was published on January 28, 2012

In my family, January 28 has been the most important day of the year for the last fifty five years. Fifty five years ago was when Billy Schulz first realized that there was a special day that was just for him. For fifty five years, according to Billy and lots of others, This date has been bigger than Christmas.

Billy will be 56 years old Saturday. Dekie and I will be in Kingsport to join in the festivities and the celebration. This year, there is an additional celebration in that this past week, Billy received a very special award from his employer, Food City, where he was recognized for ten years of service to the company. Here’s a picture of Billy with his ten year pin. It has diamonds and rubies. Billy looks happy. Congratulations are in order.

Billy Schulz shows his 10-year service pin from Food City, January 23,  © 2012 Mary de Wit
Billy Schulz shows his 10-year service pin from Food City, January 23, © 2012 Mary de Wit

I remember a few years ago when there was a really big birthday party for Billy’s fiftieth. People came from all over the world to be with him on the special day. They came from New York, Iowa, and even from Japan. What a party that was.

I think the best thing about having watched Billy for the past half a century and more has been seeing a man use his given talents to the maximum. His social skills are amazing, and he has never met a stranger. Billy loves everyone he meets and he distributes his gift of joy wherever he goes. He is truly a special person.

At the time Billy was born, people didn’t know much about Down syndrome. Billy and his mother, Jane were pioneers in the field of special education. His mother earned a doctorate in special education and taught at Western Carolina University for many years. Billy has given talks and slide presentations all over the country.

I love the way Billy tells his own story. He wrote his own article for his birthday in which he said,

“I am born,January 28, 1956. And now I BE 56. That is the same number. Hunh. I like that.

Now I not be 55 any more. But I like that, be 55. It is a good year. But I be 56, now that’s bether!

Now I going to be a old, old man. But I like it.

You know what? Alan Alda born on January 28. Plays on M.A.S.H. I like that show, and it is so funny.”

You may read the rest of Billy’s article IF YOU CLICK HERE

And here’s another part of the celebration: Billy and his mother, Jane B. Schulz wrote a book, Grown Man Now that tells all about growing up and dealing with the talents he was given. This most interesting memoir goes into great depth in relating the story of Billy, his family, and especially his parents as they deal with the problems and joys of his life. You may read about the book and purchase an autographed copy from the publisher with free shipping by clicking here. If you know someone who is dealing with Down syndrome or other disabilities, do them a favor and suggest the book.

Grown Man Now, A memoir by Jane B. Schulz
Grown Man Now, A memoir by Jane B. Schulz

I really like the picture on the cover of the book. Dad was a devoted advocate for Billy and helped him whenever he needed help. After Dad had a stroke the tables turned and Billy became the care giver and helper.

You can even be friends with Billy Schulz on face book. He’s the one fromKingsport,Tennessee.

So, one more time: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BILLY. I have a wonderful brother.

I wrote another article about Billy and why the book Redemption for a Redneck was dedicated to him. You may read that article here


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margaret
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 07:51:24

    John, Dekie & Jane,
    I know the weight is heavy right now. God be with you.


  2. cmburnes
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 08:20:26

    Sorry to hear about the passing of your brother, John. He was a special person and a LEADER! He will be missed by many but is in a really super place now, smiling down at you! talk soon…cb


  3. Dee
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 08:23:58

    I am so sorry for your loss. May God be with you and your family.


    Sep 04, 2012 @ 09:18:48


    I am very sorry Billy past away. He lived a long time for someone who had Down’s. Obviously, he contributed much to the lives of others.  That’s what this life is all about.  Also, John, you take care of yourself and listen to what Dieki tells you to do!!!!  She’s the bos s.



  5. Hilda Atkins Moore
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 09:38:05

    Meeting Billy was equal to having a glistening star placed in my heart. Although he had limitations, his abilities were far greater. There are few “normal” men who can leave such a loving and impressive imprint on one’s life.
    Both Billy and his family were blessed as they accepted this challenge and made gallons and gallons of lemonade. People say Billy was fortunate to have such a loving and responsive family, but I feel his family were the more blessed during the last 56 years…much love to all, Hilda


  6. Myra
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 09:55:25

    I didn’t know Billy well, but I remember him as such a sweet person at CHS. I’m so sorry for your loss and glad to have known this unique and wonderful man. Myra Vassian


  7. Dona West
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 16:54:45

    What a legacy Billy left us with. Many times over the years I refer to Billy in my conversations with parents when they first bring their child to school. I have you all in my thoughts and prayers.
    Dona West


  8. Deborah Lloyd
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 17:42:12

    I knew Billy when I was a student at WCU and later as a teacher of students with special needs. His mother, Dr. Jane Schultz, was one of my professors and a huge influence on me. Later, we lived across the street from their family on Locust Creek. I am deeply saddened by the loss of this fine man. I imagine the angels are singing now to have him back!

    Debbie Mattox Lloyd


  9. Patsy Hubbard
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 17:50:27

    I know how proud you all were of Billy and his remarkable life. Jerry and I send each of you our sympathy and prayers.
    Patsy and Jerry Hubbard


  10. Gladys Cataldo Interlicchio
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 19:51:28

    What a blessing to have had him in your life. I am sure you have learned so much from him as others have. God granted you a special blessing for many years. Believe in God and let him watch over you as you cared for Billy.


  11. Eleanor Lofquist
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 09:01:28

    My children went to school with Billy and always spoke fondly of him. Jane, what wonderful legacy he has left! You and Billy have helped and inspired many. Love, Eleanor Lofquist


  12. Bonnie (Fortune) Burklow
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 09:17:45

    So sad when you lose a brother, especially our special ones. Sending our sympathy and prayers to your family for your loss. :0)


  13. Connie Ray
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 06:29:25

    John, I regret not meeting your brother. Thanks for sending your articles. He is an inspiration to everyone.



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Now available as an ebook at Amazon–read it on your Kindle

Requiem for a Redneck--A novel by John P. Schulz

Check out more adventures of John the plant man in this hilarious yet sensitive award winning novel

Grown Man Now

Billy Schulz, Grown Man Now

My favorite blog by Dr. Jane Schulz and Billy

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