The deaths this past week of two long-time Houghton Lake leaders is a loss shared by the community with their families. The deaths of Chester "Chet" Schwartz, 90, and Barry Poindexter, 56, have left Houghton Lake without two contributors who worked hard to make their communities a better place, and helped many people become better residents.
Over the years Chet and his late wife Emma employed hundreds of people at their businesses, Whitehead's Restaurant and later Chet & Em's, and were benefactors to just about every cause that came along. They were champions of Houghton Lake. Chet's wide grin and hearty greeting let you know you were a stranger but once.
Unfortunately, we were unaware of Chet's accomplishments while a foot soldier in World War II, and from what we understand Chet was not one to talk about it either. He had earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star while serving with the U. S. Army in the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns. Like many of his generation he answered the call and carried out his duties with honor.
Chet was a people person, and from his variety of life experiences he was a confident businessman who generously shared not only his business acumen but the rewards of hard work.
Barry Poindexter landed on the West Shore of Houghton Lake 31 years ago and didn't venture too far away, his last four years being spent as the supervisor of Lake Township. He became a popular public official. Lake Township will reap the rewards of Barry's tenure for many years to come.
Barry also worked hard to secure grants for the Houghton Lake Adult Education program, and for more than 13 years he was available to help many of the adult ed students, many of whom became his personal friends. His community involvement brought him in touch with many youngsters in Little League and later soccer leagues.
The community mourns the loss of these two leaders. Their legacies will carry forward with the positive influence they had on the community and through the people with whom they came in contact.