A lasting memory the Rev. Ronald Mann will have of Judy and Dennis Schulte stems from an event about a month ago when they helped organize and pack donated food for children of low-income families.
“That was their thing, and they were very good at it,” said Mann, pastor of Russiaville United Methodist Church near Kokomo, Ind. “They were wonderful people who will be greatly missed.”
At the church, the Schultes worked on monthly “buddy bag” events, Mann said. Donated food was collected at the church, then packed in bags and distributed to area schools for needy kids to take home on the weekend.
The goal was to fill in for the free or subsidized lunches students got at school during the week.
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At the recent event, Mann said, Dennis Schulte helped unload a truck with donated food and Judy Schulte organized the bag-packing.
“They were both very active in the life of our church,” said Mann, who noted Judy Schulte was in charge of the children’s ministry and gave sermons to children.
Judy Schulte, 68, and Dennis Schulte, 66, were killed Monday afternoon after they were struck by a pickup while on a walk with their daughter-in-law, Karina Ulriksen-Schulte, and her 12-day-old son, Elias.
Ulriksen-Schulte, who suffered a crushed pelvis and cranial bleeding, and Elias, whose injuries were not disclosed, were in critical condition Wednesday morning at Harborview Medical Center.
The driver of the pickup, 50-year-old Mark Mullan, was arrested on investigation of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault and is in jail in lieu of $2.5 million bail. Court records show he has a long history of driving violations and several arrests for driving under the influence, including two in 2012.
The victims were crossing 33rd Avenue Northeast at Northeast 75th Street in Seattle, with Ulriksen-Schulte carrying her son, when the pickup struck them. The Schultes were pronounced dead at the scene, according to Seattle police.
Friends and relatives say the couple had begun planning a move to Seattle when they learned Ulriksen-Schulte was expecting their first grandchild.
“They’d been waiting for that grandbaby for years,” said Judy Schulte’s sister, Susan Morton, of Cottonwood, Minn.
Her husband, Steve Morton, said the Schultes bought a home about a month ago near their son’s cozy blue home on 33rd Avenue Northeast, less than a minute’s walk from the accident scene.
A “Welcome Baby” balloon was still planted in a pot on their son’s porch steps Tuesday afternoon.
The new parents had lived there for at least two years, according to their neighbor Melissa Koll.
“We were really excited to watch them become new parents,” said Koll, who has two small children.
She’d met the elder Schultes as well and could only say they were “even more excited, fabulous people” before tears kept her from saying more.
The Schultes planned to spend half the year in Indiana near their daughter and the other half near their son, Daniel Schulte, his wife and Elias, relatives of the couple said.
Ulriksen-Schulte, who is from Chile, is a pediatric nurse at Seattle Children’s hospital. Daniel Schulte works as a program coordinator for a public-relations business.
The hospital is helping make arrangements to bring Ulriksen-Schulte’s parents to Seattle from Chile.
The elder Schultes taught for about two decades at separate rural schools about seven miles apart outside Kokomo, a city of some 57,000 residents about 50 miles north of Indianapolis.
“They were a true match in terms of their personality, in what was important to them and the way they treated people,” said Bob Jarrett. “Neither one of them had a mean bone in their body.”
Jarrett, who coached and taught with Dennis Schulte at Western High School, said, “Kids who he coached have been calling me all morning. They’re hurting.”
The Schultes celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in June 2011.
Ryan Snoddy, superintendent of Northwestern Schools, where Judy Schulte had been a guidance counselor and teacher, said that even after she retired in 2008, she came back to the school to help on projects, including testing.
“She was a great lady who inspired a lot of kids,” he said. “Judy and Dennis were doing what they loved, which is spending time with their family. To have this kind of tragedy just really takes the breath out of you.”
Brett Colby, a high-school football coach in Kokomo, played football and wrestled at Western High School under Dennis Schulte.
“He was super-excited to go out to Seattle and see his first grandchild,” Colby said. “He had been looking forward to this for a long time.”
Colby said that in the 1980s, Schulte, a Dallas Cowboys fan, would organize road trips with six to eight friends to see the Cowboys play in Indianapolis, Detroit or Chicago.
“Denny and Judy, between the two of them, made contact with thousands of kids over the years. That’s a huge influence in many lives.”
Colby said Dennis Schulte had previously been injured by a drunken driver, an accident Colby recalled as being in the 1970s.
“If you knew them, they were just magnificent people,” said Susan Morton about her sister and brother-in-law. “It’s a terrible loss.”
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Seattle Times news staff reporter Alexa Vaughn and news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.