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Thursday, March 15, 2012
William Hugh Schalk
March 30, 1947 - February 16, 2012

The Creative Genius at Work (Making custom cycle seats)

William “Bill” H. Schalk was a man with an unmistakable zest for life, who truly lived his life "Outside the Box". Never at a loss for humor, he always had a smile, a quick wit and a funny story to tell. He was a man who never knew a stranger, and had many friends, due to his heart of gold, selflessness and willingness to lend a hand. Bill had a charm and charisma that enveloped his friends, family, business associates and community.


Bill was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was a tool and die maker by trade. He was retired from Ford Motor Company, and was self employed as a silversmith and leather craftsman. He was a founding member of Spitfire Custom Cycles (currently Moto Rod Design), with his son Billy and partner Dennis; and was head of the custom seats and leather tooling division of the business, which was appropriately named "Outside the Box Kustom Cycle Seats". His passion was in creating unique works of art, whether he was using silver and turquoise or fashioning custom designs on leather. He was an accomplished artist in drawing and scrimshaw work, which ultimately lead him to creating his custom leather designs. He was always perfecting new artistic techniques, and never stopped learning. He had a special interest in frontier style design, and created numerous projects, such as jewelry, silver and stone inlaid knife handles and pistol grips, and Native American arts and crafts. Bill was drawn to helping others develop and refine their own creative skills, and invested much of his time in teaching others, with children in the forefront.

Bill loved spending time with his family and friends, and also enjoyed some of the simpler things in life, like hunting, boating, camping, four wheeling with quad runners, and interacting with, and observing animals. He was also passionate about spending time on the family farm in Southeast Indiana.

In 2006, Bill was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He beat the cancer, and was given a clean bill of health. Then, unfortunately, again in September of 2011 he was diagnosed with cancer yet again, this time much a much more aggressive type, pancreatic cancer. February 16th, 2012 William Hugh Schalk passed away and moved on to the next phase of his journey. Though his life was cut short it was a well-lived, passionate life.

For those who knew him and loved him, Bill left a legacy of love, courage, and creativity; but most of all he left us with a passion to be true to ourselves and follow the dream that is instilled in each of us, to do what we were uniquely and specially created to do and be.


Some of Bill's Custom Seats

We invite you to take a look now at the memorial video that was created to celebrate Bill's life. Unfortunately, even though this was a memorial video, YouTube would not let us keep the music with the video due to copyright issues. Anyone who came to his memorial service can attest to just how powerful this video was with the music.