Walt Schubert was known for his many roles in Sequim, from city councilor to mayor to Santa Claus.
But to many he was known for his kindness, integrity and devotion to helping youths in his local community.
Schubert died in his home on Dec. 22 from complications from congestive heart failure, Schubert’s son Jesse Schubert confirmed.
Schubert was 78, Jesse said.
Family and friends celebrated an early Christmas with Schubert before he died, Jesse said.
“He wanted everyone to know he always tried to do the right thing,” Jesse said. “He spent his life trying to help other people and he was proud of that.”
Walt is survived by his wife Sherry Schubert and raised eight children.
Schubert lived in the Bay Area in California before he moved to Sequim in the early 1990s. There, he owned and operated a retail and contract builder’s hardware store for 32 years.
His daughter Sharon Schubert said he was an Eagle Scout, coached youth basketball for several years and took in many children from the foster care system.
“He was an Eagle Scout and he was really proud of that accomplishment,” Sharon said.
“He did dedicate his entire life to helping kids.”
Schubert founded Action Property Management with his wife in 1998, specializing in commercial and residential property management in the Sequim and Port Angeles areas.
Jesse Schubert purchased the company two years ago and his father continued to serve an advisory role for the company.
“I know my dad as a really good man and he did always try and do the right thing, and live by that,” Jesse said.
Schubert was elected to the Sequim city council in 1998 and as Sequim’s mayor in 2002. He served on the council for about 10 years, including six as mayor.
City clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese worked with Schubert for many years when he served as city councilor and mayor. She said he was always kind to her and expressed concern for her grandson who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor at the age of 3.
“Walt was always contacting me to see how my grandson was doing,” Kuznek-Reese said.
She said Schubert later made a rocking horse for her grandson.
Walt and Sherry Schubert were named Sequim’s Citizens of the Year in 2008 and Walt was named 1999 REALTOR of the Year by the Sequim Association of REALTORS.
The couple was nominated for and won the Citizens award for their involvement in several community organizations including the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, foster care programs, Sequim Food Bank, Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, Sequim Education Association, Salvation Army, Sequim City Council, Boys Scout groups, youth sports and serving as Santa and Mrs. Claus for community events.
Schubert also stepped in as a leader for the Clallam County Economic Development Council and the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce twice, as well as the Sequim Food Bank in difficult times.
Walt’s longtime friend Mike McAleer said he remembers Schubert as a great leader in the Sequim community.
“Walt was a wonderful friend from our first association in 1992,” McAleer wrote in a letter to the Sequim Gazette and Peninsula Daily News.
“I knew him to be a quiet, thoughtful and a courageous person with genuine care for others.”
An advocate for teens
Mary Budke, Boys & Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula executive director, said Schubert was an active volunteer and advocate for the Sequim and Port Angeles units.
“We are so grateful to Walt for what he’s done,” Budke said. “He lead by example and he was always there quietly helping and guiding. I will really, really miss him.”
About one year ago, Budke said Schubert donated $300,000 to name and fund the Boys & Girls Club’s Port Angeles unit teen center; a groundbreaking for the unit is set for April 2019.
The teen center will provide teens with academic support, career preparedness, adult mentorship, and above all else, a place for teens to go.
The facility is set to be named the Walt Schubert Teen Center, Budke said.
“He was really thrilled to support and name the teen center,” Budke said.
In 2014, Schubert took in a Sequim High School junior, Kahn Mills, a teen who did not have a stable living situation, and helped him graduate from the high school and play on the school’s football team — one of Mills’ dreams.
“Walt was right there fighting so Kahn could have a chance at his dream,” Budke said. “That’s what Walt was all about.”