I last saw and spoke to Bill Schnittman on Monday at the annual Retro Metro OKC Christmas party. Bill wasn’t an Oklahoma City native – he is part of a new community being forged together along the Oklahoma River. He was a Michigan native who was eagerly making Oklahoma City his home – and the launching pad for his ambitions to join the U.S. Olympic Rowing team.
That dream will never be realized. On Friday, Bill was gunned down as part of a confusing series of events involving the abduction and assault of a woman, and the eventually suicide of the killer.
You can read more about Bill in his hometown newspaper.
I’ve been contacted by friends and acquaintances I have in the rowing community who clearly wish to have a forum to mourn their loss, pay tribute to the man.
I wish I had gotten to know Bill better. He was a good guy, very friendly, always eager to hear about the city’s history. His hair always looked as it did in the photo above (which makes me smile). I did not know the personal jeopardy he faced. He was just one of many newcomers I’ve met over the past few years, quite a few drawn by opportunities along the Oklahoma River, who loved Oklahoma City and yearned to learn more about their new hometown.