Stephen Sylvester Schiltz

ALTAMONT — Stephen Sylvester Schiltz, who played the soundtrack to his family's life and served in the military for 18 years, died on Thursday, May 4, 2017. He was 61.

“He was our music,” said his mother, Betty Spadaro.

Mr. Schiltz learned to play the guitar as a child growing up in Altamont, riding his bike to get to his lessons, she said, and he kept playing throughout his life. He'd provide the music at all their family picnics and he played with his late brother, Joseph Schiltz, on the keyboard.

He covered everything from Hank Williams to The Beatles, but Johnny Cash was his favorite.

Not only was he musical, but Mr. Schiltz was also an artist.  He started drawing as a child and developed into a painter as an adult. He created pictures of most of the players on the Yankees — his favorite team.

He’d often go to New York City to see baseball games and he kept watching on T.V. with his brother, Doug, who moved in to take care of him after he was diagnosed with cancer. He watched right up until the end, his mother said — “a true fan.”

Mr. Schiltz spent his childhood playing baseball and football with his four brothers in Altamont, said his sister, Donna Shadow. He wrote a book in 2015 called “Just Me and the Ball.”

He graduated from Guilderland High School and then joined the Army.

He served in the first Gulf War and was stationed for a time in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. That’s where he met his first wife and had a son, Stephen.

 

Ever an artist, Stephen Schiltz painted many baseball scenes, often of his favorite team, the New York Yankees.

 

The family later moved to Kansas and, after the couple divorced, Stephen would spend summers with his father in New York.

“He was very proud of his son,” said Mrs. Spadaro.

After he retired from the Army, Mr. Schiltz held several jobs, but his favorite was at S&K Menswear in Saratoga, said his sister.

People would come in after winning big at the track, she said — “he liked talking to the guys, it takes a certain kind of person.”

And Mr. Schiltz was good at it.

“He was always loving, and caring, and family oriented,” said his mother.

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Stephen Sylvester Schiltz is survived by his son, Stephen Schiltz of Kansas; his parents, Betty Spadaro of Saratoga Springs and Sylvester Schiltz and his wife, Beth, of Altamont; his siblings, Donna Schadow, Chuck Schiltz, Jim Schiltz and his wife, Suzanne, and Doug Schiltz. He is also survived by his nieces Jessica Altman and her husband, Brian, Kristen Hatt and her husband, Carl, and Devon Schiltz; his nephew Andy Schiltz; his grandnephew Levi Altman; his step-siblings Jeff Gregory and his wife, Jackie, and Jennifer Cary; a dear friend Karen Schiltz; and many cousins, aunts, and uncles.

He was fond of his cat, Stewie.

His brother Joseph Schiltz and his stepfather, Joe Spadaro, died before him.

A memorial service will be held at the convenience of the family at a later date.  Burial will be East Clarendon Cemetery in Vermont.

Condolences may be left at www.compassionatefuneralcare.com.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

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