Obituary: William Schossow Jr. / Engineer who loved to pass on his knowledge

Oct. 6, 1926 - March 5, 2013

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After William Schossow Jr. bought the T.F. Campbell Co. and moved it to Route 51, you often would see 50 to 60 cars and trucks packed into the parking lot on Wednesday nights.

That's when Mr. Schossow would be teaching workers in the heating and air conditioning industry about some new product his company was selling, said his son, Bill Schossow. His father was never content just to sell merchandise, Mr. Schossow said -- he had to pass along his knowledge.

The elder Mr. Schossow died at home Tuesday of complications from heart disease. He was 86, and had lived with his wife, JoAnn, on the same street in Whitehall since 1958.

Besides teaching his classes, Mr. Schossow also put his engineering degree from Michigan State University to work during his years as owner of T.F. Campbell by designing and installing safety control panels in steel mills across the country.

"It wasn't just selling products for my dad," Bill Schossow said. "He really went out and made things work. It was an incredible career."

"Always do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life," he used to tell his children.

William Schossow grew up in Bellevue, the only boy in a family of four siblings. He enlisted in the Army when he was 18, near the end of World War II, and served stateside. Afterward, he used the G.I. Bill to get his college education, first at the University of Maryland and then at his beloved Michigan State.

He returned to Pittsburgh, where he met and married JoAnn Eckert. They had twin children, Bill and his sister, Cynthia Cox. Mr. Schossow grew up Lutheran, but he and his wife went church shopping after moving to the South Hills and found a home at Whitehall Presbyterian Church, where he served as trustee and elder and had been a member for 47 years.

After working for Sears and Honeywell, Mr. Schossow jumped at the chance to own his own company, buying T.F. Campbell in 1966. He remained active at the firm until he suffered a heart attack about five years ago, his son said, and finally sold the firm last year.

Bill Schossow said his real enjoyment was in quietly serving others, largely through his church and his many charitable donations. When his sister became ill with breast cancer 15 years ago, "he took over and stayed by her side for six months until she died," his son said.

The night before he died, his father -- already having refused to go to the hospital -- had a cup of tea, said his prayers with his family and went to sleep.

"When my mom called to say that dad was gone, she said she found him with his hands folded, as if he had been praying."

Besides his wife and children, Mr. Schossow is survived by a sister, Martha Yost of Cape Coral, Fla., and two grandchildren. Funeral services will take place today at 11 a.m. in Whitehall Presbyterian Church.

obituaries

Mark Roth: mroth@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1130.


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