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Dr. Gerard E. Schultz, 93, physician with a passion for exciting cars

May 10, 1925 – Oct. 22, 2018

Dr. Gerard E. Schultz, a physician in Cheektowaga for more than 30 years, had a lifelong love of automobiles.

As a boy, he watched Packards as they were test-driven along the streets near his home on the near East Side and admired the lines of the elegant Rolls Royce that the owner of the Lang Brewery drove to work.

The first of his many cars was a 1937 Dodge, for which he paid $70. He went on to Cadillacs, an Oldsmobile Toronado and, notably, a supercharged red 1955 Ford Thunderbird, which he drove in road rallies. He also owned Rolls Royces. His last car was a silver 2005 Corvette.

Dr. Schultz died Oct. 22 under hospice care in Brothers of Mercy, Clarence. He was 93.

In 1984, he bought a famous Rolls Royce.

His son, Gerard Jr., recalled: “Mom and Dad flew to London, England, and were picked up at the airport and driven to Coys of Kensington, a specialist in fine historic automobiles, to inspect a 1933 Gurney Nutting Rolls Royce Phantom II Drophead Coupe. After inspecting the repair history and the car itself, the only thing left was to purchase it. Dad found out that the original owner was (a member of ) the Rothschild family.”

Only 12 of the cars were built.

On a web posting about this model, designated as 74PY, a writer for RM Auctions, a subsidiary of auctioneer RM Sothebv’s, notes: “Under the ownership of Dr. Schultz, the interior, carpeting, top and some brightwork were restored. He also purchased another set of wheels, which were plated and mounted with a new set of whitewall tires. Thereafter, 74PY was depicted in an edition of The Classic Car.”

His son recalled that, although Dr. Schultz “rarely showed any car in competition ... (he) did show this vehicle in the Antique Automobile Club of America National Meet at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich.” It won second prize.

“Truly an amazing vehicle,” his son noted, “that we as children were not allowed to touch!”

He sold it in the mid-1990s.

Born in Buffalo, the oldest of three children, he helped support his family during the Depression by selling newspapers under the bison statue in Central Terminal and by inspecting bottles at the Iroquois Brewery.

He attended School 48, where the principal was so impressed with his high grades that she encouraged his parents to send him to St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. An honor student, he graduated in 1942.

A Navy officer in the Pacific in World War II, he was in charge of the film room aboard the USS Topeka and was among the occupying forces in Japan following the war.

He received a degree from the University of Buffalo Medical School in 1951 and earned his license to practice surgery and medicine in New York State the following year. He served his internship in the emergency room at Mercy Hospital.

Licensed in New York and Florida, he maintained an office in Cheektowaga and was a staff physician at Sisters Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“He had a very close relationship with his patients. His patients universally adored him,” his other son, Robert, recalled. “During the Christmas holiday, the house was filled with homemade Polish sausage, cookies and baked goods of every description, all from his patients.”

He was a life member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and became a charter fellow in 1972. Canisius College presented him with an honorary degree in 2003.

In the 1970s, he was key to the development and construction of a high-rise condominium on Florida’s Atlantic coast, the 12-story Emerald Tower at the border of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Pompano Beach.

He also was a partner in the former Bentley’s Restaurant in North Palm Beach, Fla., which was built around a tree that grew through the middle of building.

His passion for automobiles extended to go-karts. He and a friend, Harry Larkin, were distributors for Simplex Go-Karts in Western New York and raced them at the Larkin home on Old Lake Shore Drive in Hamburg and atop the Larkin Warehouse.

Also a camera buff, he was the photographer at family occasions and was a member of several photo and car clubs.

He and his wife, the former Elizabeth Jane Hiemenz, met on a blind date and were married in 1948. An artist, she attended the Albright Art School.

Residents of East Aurora since 1990, they previously lived in Cheektowaga, Amherst and Clarence.

Survivors also include three daughters, Judith Kulesa, Tina Mastin and Marybeth Reed; nine grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.

A funeral service will be held at 9 a.m. April 6 in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 520 Oakwood Ave., East Aurora.

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