Earl W. Schultz Jr., 72, longtime leader in national Youth for Christ movement

April 14, 1997|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Earl W. Schultz Jr., a pioneer in youth evangelism who founded Hampstead Youth for Christ in Carroll County, died of cancer April 8 at his home in Glen Ellyn, Ill. He was 72.

At the time of his death, he was vice president at large of Youth for Christ/USA and director emeritus of Hampstead Youth for Christ. He had held posts in the national organization after being volunteer director of the Hampstead chapter for 22 years.

According to his son, David W. Schultz of Hampstead, Mr. Schultz's life changed when he was an Army Air Corps mechanic near Phoenix, Ariz., during World War II.

Before that "he never had a personal relationship" with Jesus Christ, said the son, who heads the Hampstead group his father founded.

But Mr. Schultz, who was raised as a Methodist, became ill with a condition that affected his lungs and threatened to prematurely end his wartime service.

While recuperating in an Army hospital, a man suffering from the same disease was moved next to him for one day and spent the time talking about his beliefs. Six months later the man was killed in a plane crash while Mr. Schultz unexpectedly made a full recovery.

In 1945, Mr. Schultz attended the first gathering in Phoenix of the Youth for Christ movement. The combination of events, his son said, "caused him to know the Lord as his personal savior" and to spend his life helping youths to gain a similar relationship.

In 1947, Mr. Schultz returned to Maryland with "a burning desire to gather together other young people," said his sister, Linda L. Long of Reisterstown.

That year, he founded the Hampstead chapter of Youth for Christ and since then helped to build the local and national organizations, traveling throughout the United States, Canada, Central and South America, and elsewhere.

Earl Schultz, a Hampstead native, graduated from Franklin High School in Reisterstown in 1941 and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., in 1949. The next year he married Barbara Frush.

During the first years of his volunteer religious efforts, Mr. Schultz supported himself and his family by working in the construc- tion industry until 1959, when he became Eastern area vice president of Youth for Christ.

In 1974, he became overseas director and moved to the ministry's headquarters in Wheaton, Ill. Nine years later, he helped the ministry form Military Community Youth Ministries, which ministers to young people in Department of Defense secondary schools around the world.

A memorial service was held Saturday.

In addition to his wife, son and sister, he is survived by two daughters, Deborah Moore of Glen Ellyn and Donna Creasman of Heidelberg, Germany; two brothers, Aubrey M. Schultz of Hampstead and Roger L. Schultz Sr. of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and 10 grandchildren.

Pub Date: 4/14/97

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