John Merlin Schmeil

(August 23, 1976 – February 16, 2017)

On February 16, 2017, John, age 40, passed suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart condition on his way home from the gym in Tacoma, Washington.

Born August 23, 1976 in Lakewood, Washington to parents Paul Frederick Schmeil and Marylin Broadhead Schmeil, John was one of six siblings. He was raised in Tacoma, earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1995.  John served a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Germany from 1996-98. He later graduated from Brigham Young University—Hawaii with a bachelor’s degree in International Business. While attending flight school in Southern California, he met the love of his life, Debra Jean Stant. They were married in the LDS San Diego Temple on March 20, 2004.  One year later they moved to Florida where he began flying commercially for Gulfstream International Airlines. In 2006, the young couple and their infant daughter Jane Ella moved into their home on Spanaway Lake which they renovated together. Three years later their daughter Ruby Elizabeth was born.

John began flying for Skywest Airlines in 2006. He flew four different aircraft at Skywest as both a first officer and then as a captain. John’s Chief Pilot in Seattle stated: “John was one of my favorite pilots…I could always count on him to do the right thing. He always had a smile on his face.”

John and Deb made a beautiful life together as they raised their young family, made wonderful friends, charmed their neighbors and served in their church and community. John was thoughtful, kind and funny in a subtle way.

He lived life on his own terms. He set trends instead of following them.

John loved to be physically active and embraced all kinds of sports. He swam competitively in high school, played high school and college water polo, surfed, mountain biked, wake-boarded, paddle-boarded, hiked, and played competitive tennis. He also enjoyed scuba diving and sky diving.

His adventurous spirit led him on many interesting trips. He fished in Alaska for a summer on his cousin Tyler’s fishing boat, surfed and hiked with his buddies (who were more like brothers) in Hawaii, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, attended tennis camp in Turkey, and traveled to Chile to visit his sister Jeanne. John was happy to share his love of travel with his family and took them to Germany last Christmas. He also hiked the Grand Canyon with his Dad.

John is survived by his wife Debra Schmeil; daughters Jane and Ruby; parents Paul and Marylin Schmeil; and siblings Susan Allen, Jeanne Tanner, Sandy Turner, and Carl Schmeil. He was preceded in death by his brother Jared Paul Schmeil.

  • The family at the Cupcake Shop in June 2016 for Ruby's Birthday