Billy D. Saltz, 88 of Westerville passed away Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at Riverside Hospital. Bill was born on July 21, 1930, to Marion and Ruth Saltz at their Linden family home. He joined his older brother Wayne, and later his family welcomed the arrival of his beloved baby sister, Marlene.
His father, a railroad engineer for the C&O, would return home at all hours of the night. He often awakened Billy to join him in those wee hours. Billy would sit on his dad’s lap and share some toast that had been dunked in his dad’s cup of coffee. That ritual formed an indelible memory and a love for coffee that Bill held dear throughout his life. Every time he enjoyed a cup of coffee with a meal, it brought back the memory of that special time that he had shared with his dad.
When Bill entered the fifth grade, he had the opportunity of a lifetime to join the newly formed Columbus Boys’ Choir, which later was renamed the American Boys’ Choir. Every day he rode the city bus to downtown Columbus and attended the Columbus Boys’ Choir school from the fifth through the eighth grade. The lasting friendships and enjoyable experiences from this time remained among the most treasured parts of his life. When it was time for Bill to attend high school, he entered Linden McKinley and graduated in 1948. It was there that he met his future wife, Mary Schafer, who lived just down the street from the Saltz family.
In 1951 Bill enrolled in The Ohio State School of Architecture and joined the Ohio National Guard. When called up to active duty in January of 1952, he had to drop out of college and spend his time stateside at Fort Polk in Louisiana. After his discharge from the Army in 1953, Bill returned home and married his high school sweetheart, Mary. He also returned to OSU on the GI Bill, and completed his degree in Architecture just days after his son, Jim, was born. A year and half later the Saltz family expanded again with the birth of Peggy. The arrival of Darlene followed three years later, making the Saltz family complete. Bill & Mary were very active in the life of their church, Maple Grove United Methodist. They sang in the choir, were active in an adult Sunday school class, and enjoyed many other church activities. They were known for putting on original family “plays” for church fellowship activities, with Bill playing the role of “Goldilocks” in the Saltz family version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
In 1968 Bill & Mary bought a house in Uptown Westerville near Otterbein. They began a labor of love by renovating it to become their family home. Nearly every repair and update to the former Doty house was done with Bill’s own hands – improving the house while also honoring and preserving its historic design. While watching him build or repair some part of the house, Darlene tagged him with, “There isn’t anything you can’t over-do, dad.” Bill always made it better and stronger than it was before he had worked on it. The Saltzes loved living in Westerville, and quickly made lasting friendships with their fellow West Broadway neighbors. Bill had a special fondness for his next-door neighbor, “Doc” Henry Scatterday. You could always find them chatting over the bushes between their driveways. Mary & Bill soon joined the Church of Messiah in Uptown Westerville. It became their family church home and their list of friends grew. Here, too, they joined the choir, the J.O.Y. class, and contributed to the church in so many other ways.
Bill & Mary served as youth fellowship leaders, chaperoned countless youth activities (even after their own children were grown), and hosted many social and fellowship parties at their home. Bill also taught a high school Sunday school class. Later in life he participated in the Stephen Ministries, and continued to sing in the adult choir and men’s chorus for as long as he was able. Bill & Mary’s house was the site of many family gatherings, parties, and social events. During the warmer months, rarely was a party held without homemade ice cream (made by Bill, of course) being enjoyed on their screened-in porch. Bill and Jim had a great time setting up a 9-hole “chip-chip” golf course in the back yard for all to play. Granddaughter, Misha, quickly gave everyone a run for their money after learning to play ping-pong at Grandma & Grandpa’s house.
Bill gave of himself selflessly whenever asked or called upon. He was a member of the Westerville Rotary Club, served as its President from 1979-1980, and was honored for his club service as Rotarian of the Year. Rotary’s motto is, “Service above Self," and Bill exemplified this in his every thought and deed. Bill’s architectural career also broadened his circle of friends, colleagues, and business associates. He began his career working for Dan Carmichael, later created and briefly operated the Saltz & Forward architectural firm, and eventually found his place with Holroyd & Myers, Architects and Planners. This firm merged to become Myers NBD, and later, Maddox NBD, from which Bill retired in 1994. Throughout his career, he was involved in many large projects. These included Big Bear/Hart stores, many building renovations for Otterbein College, and being integral to the Westerville City Schools expansion in the 1980’s. When asked which project he was most proud of in his career, Bill didn’t hesitate; it was the expansion and remodel of Maple Grove United Methodist Church in 1976. He had known immediately what was required for the expansion, since he’d been a former member of the church.
In addition to work, Bill never hesitated to have fun. He bowled in an architectural bowling league for several years, and played in both an architectural and a Rotary golf league. He did all this while never missing one of Mary’s art shows, or his three children’s concerts, school plays, art exhibits or bluegrass gigs. He and Mary were also devoted followers of Otterbein’s basketball team, and loved taking their grandson, Dieter, to both home and away games with them.
In their retirement years Bill & Mary could be found at the Westerville Senior Center, where Mary taught art classes. Otherwise, Bill would be doing repairs at the Church of the Messiah, or both of them would be visiting friends. They spent most Sunday afternoons playing cards with Bill’s sister, Marlene, and her family. After Mary passed away in 2012, Bill enjoyed playing Euchre at the Westerville Senior Center. There he became good friends with Sandy Medic, who became an important part of Bill’s life. She joined him on Sundays at Marlene’s house, quickly learning to play Hand & Foot. Sandy always tried to help Bill keep his cards straight, in spite of his best efforts to mess them all up.
Regardless of the type of activity or circumstance, Bill felt that what was most meaningful for him was the fellowship that he shared with others. He never hesitated to share his most profound beliefs, to tell a joke, or share a good laugh. He made everyone feel welcome in his home, and his smile was contagious. He was a child of God, a son, a husband, a father, a brother, a brother-in-law, an uncle, a cousin, a friend, and a colleague to countless many. He will be missed. The evening before he passed, Bill shared with son, Jim, “It’s been a good life.” Amen.
Bill was preceded in death by his brother Wayne, parents Marion and Ruth, daughter Peggy, and wife of 59 years, Mary. He is survived by his sister Marlene Price, sister-in-law Gerry Gardner, son Jim (Gina) Saltz, daughter Darlene (Kirk) Lawson, grandchildren Dieter (Mindy) Lawson and Misha Lawson, his dear friend Sandy Medic, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
The family would like to express its sincerest thanks to Dr. Judson Millhon, “Dr. Do” Bair, and Dr. Leah Muthuri for their loving care of Bill during these past several years. We consider each of them an extended member of Bill’s family. A Celebration of Life will take place at 11 AM, Monday, October 29, 2018 at The Church of The Messiah, U.M. in Westerville, followed by reception in McVay Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, friends may contribute in his memory to The General Fund, Church of the Messiah.