Kenneth H. Schaal Jr.

By Orleans Hub Posted 23 September 2019 at 2:16 pm

Kenneth Schaal

American flag

Kenneth H. Schaal Jr. passed on to eternal rest on Thu., Sept. 19, 2019, following a heroic battle against multiple strokes beginning May 26, 2019.

Kenneth, born on July 7, 1945, was the eldest of eight siblings whose parents were the late Kenneth H. Schaal Sr. and Ada Sharping Schaal. He graduated from Medina High School with the class of 1963.

Earning the rank of sergeant, Kenneth joined the U.S. Marine Corps (1963-1967) immediately after high school graduation. He maintained a class schedule which led to the career of an electrician. Ken proudly served his country by completing two tours in Vietnam, where he was active in the troubleshooting, repairing and maintaining of all electrical systems on military aircraft. His second tour led to being the leader of the electrical aircraft crew as a mentor to each soldier. Ken would often share his memories of this experience and state how he and other Vietnam soldiers were told to change from their uniforms to street clothes before walking through the airports. Protesters were actively displaying their dislike for U.S. involvement in Vietnam by pestering the uniformed soldiers as they departed airports throughout the states. He was thankful that times and attitudes had changed towards service men and women since Vietnam.

On Nov. 25, 1967, Kenneth married Angela Rose Ferri, daughter of the late Samuel and Rose Martino Ferri, in a ceremony held in Albion. The couple resided on Salt Works Road throughout their 33 years of marriage. Within time, Angela and Kenneth made CJ and Jeffery Woodruff their honorary sons, which she allowed her cousin to raise. (She had a beautiful sense of wit.) Angela entered eternal rest on Sept. 2, 1999.

Following a few years at Eastman Kodak, Kenneth joined the workforce at Fisher-Price in Medina in 1970. He remained there as an electrician until 1993, when the toy company was sold to Mattel and departed from New York. This led to Kenneth furthering his skills and talents by earning certificates in various areas of job performance from 1995 to 1996.  Ken was successful at obtaining a position in 1995 as a maintenance electrician at American Axle & Manufacturing in Buffalo. His retirement was celebrated in December 2006.

Patriotism became the model of a lifestyle Kenneth upheld throughout the years of his life. This strong belief in freedom and the rights of the people led Kenneth into the alter-career of a local politician. He was an active member of the Orleans County Republican Committee and the Town of Shelby Republican Committee, which gave him the opportunity to apply his patriotic philosophy throughout the county. Blending politics with the needs of the people in the Town of Shelby, Kenneth successfully held the office of Supervisor for two terms. Ken was known for listening and advising, and he managed the office in a fair and balanced manner, placing what was good for the people before all else. This experience led him on to a countywide position.

Beginning in 1985, Ken was an active Orleans County Legislator for two terms, representing District One
(Barre, Clarendon, Shelby). One of his successful team endeavors resulted in the Orleans County Marine Park on Point Breeze Road, which is still an attractive addition to our county today. Ken worked on the legislative team that oversaw the rehabilitation of the Lakeside Road Bridge, a pony truss bridge over Johnson Creek. As legislator, Kenneth led the highway committee when roads and bridges were of high priority, and he was pleased to have completed two major projects. Ken remained in close contact with Legislator Ken DeRoller, who shared his determination to better the roads and bridges of Orleans County.

After a much needed political interim, Ken became a councilman on the Town of Shelby Board, where he remained until his death. He was involved in many committees during his forty-plus years as a representative of the people. He gathered experience and knowledge pertaining to not only the Town of Shelby, but the entire Orleans County area. His voice projected among many the words of history he had learned and experienced throughout the years. When in doubt, people referred to Ken, since his retention of facts and figures about many topics was accurately shared with any inquirer. As of May 2019, you would see Ken attending meetings, gathering data, and dispensing his facts and opinions to anyone who asked (or didn’t).

A sense of community grew within Kenneth’s value system, and he became an active member of the Town of Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. Earning a lifelong membership, Ken remained proud of his brothers and sisters who served the needs of townspeople in Shelby and nearby towns and villages. As Fire Chief, Ken was called to duty regularly, and he managed the responsibilities with the support of his assistant fire chiefs, David Bushover, Joseph Levandowski and Jeffery McDonald. He was proud of his growing admiration and friendship with Dave Green as the local fire companies worked together. While active in the fire company, Ken became a part of the Medina Volunteer Ambulance Corps with advanced first aid training. This training led to the MET standing of Ken’s medical emergency techniques. His status then rose to that of an EMT member of the volunteer ambulance crew. Kenneth also served as president of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company and, finally, his lifelong membership status, which made him extremely proud. Ken often joked about some of his favorite alliance stories with his beloved fire company, and he stated that only one thing scared him through the years – each time he was a bingo caller, he held his breath as the players yelled “Bingo!” since someone who was “so close” to winning would most likely begin to shout out at the bingo callers. Speaking with Howard Watts recently, he pleasantly recalled when Kenny was Fire Chief and there would be a late night fire their company would fight to the end. Once finished, Ken would invite all the firefighters to a local restaurant and buy a much-deserved breakfast for them. His generosity was limitless.

In 2016, Kenneth Schaal Jr. was named Person of the Year, Orleans Hub, for his participation in Honor Guard. He was a proud member of the local unit. Ken developed fond friendships among his brothers of veteran standing and seldom missed a call to duty when a funeral or event related to a veteran was planned. During Ken’s medical stay in Ohio, three of his veteran brothers, Steve Johnson, Jim Freas, and Glen Whitmore, visited Ken and encouraged him to keep strong through his battle to wellness. They were a tight and loyal unit, outwardly practicing patriotism for all to see and learn. There are many more brothers who have held Ken in high regard for his loyalty to the efforts of duty to and for others.

Those were the times of Ken’s life, but nothing filled his heart with happiness like his family. He would fondly share stories of his grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles. As the eldest of eight Schaal children, Ken learned survival skills along with love and kindness. The siblings who will miss him dearly are David (Nancy) Schaal, Kathryn (Stephen) Smith, Renee (the late James) Jahnke, Stephen (Candy) Schaal, Marc (Jackie) Schaal, Kris (Wally) Leonard, and Kelly (Mary) Schaal. Their coffee hour visits, which began at their mother Ada’s house, will not be the same without the elder brother present dispensing memories and “Kenny wisdom.” Ken is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Kenneth also leaves behind a dear sister-in-law, Jean Bailey Ferri; and was predeceased by sister-in-law, Camille Ferri; and brother-in-law, Michael Ferri. He leaves behind many loving members of the Martino family.

His honorary family will sadly miss Kenny for many reasons, with one being his presence at all the family gatherings he and Angela were an integral part of throughout the years: Mary (his long trusted health advocate) and Paul Woodruff; CJ, Lynn, Amanda and Brennan Woodruff; Jeffery, Mary and Sarah Woodruff.

Calling hours will take place on Sat., Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Alabama Full Gospel Church, 5329 S. Gravel Road, Medina. A final service will begin at 12 p.m. with the Pastor, Rev. Russell Peters, officiating and the Shelby Fire Company Chaplin, Phil Keppler, co-officiating. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders will be leading the Shelby Volunteer fire truck procession to Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Salt Works Road. The Honor Guard will engage in a military salute at that time.

In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested the following charities, or one of your choice, in memory of Kenneth:   Knights/Kaderli Memorial; Shelby Volunteer Fire Company; American Heart Association.

All arrangements have been made by Bogan and Tuttle Funeral Home, 226 Pearl St., Medina NY 14103. Please light a candle or share a memory of Kenneth at