Obituary: Roger Schiltz excelled at making pool tables

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 17, 2010 - 10:45 AM

The co-owner of All-American Recreation built custom pool tables and oversaw factory operations.

Roger Schiltz

Rheumatic fever kept Roger Schiltz from playing sports as a child, but he excelled in one activity: billiards.

"He was a good pool player," said his older brother Jerry of Burnsville.

Roger took his love for the game and his craftsmanship to All-American Recreation, where he was vice president and co-owner. He died Feb. 8 of prostate cancer at his home in New Brighton. He was 58.

All-American has the motto of "All We Sell Is Fun," and its products include motor scooters, dartboards, spas and trampolines.

In the company's early days, Roger Schiltz designed and built 200 to 300 pool tables a year, many custom-made to meet specific requests, and he made house calls to set them up.

As the company grew, Schiltz oversaw workers who built 30 different models of pool tables in its Twin Cities factory, which at its peak turned out 25,000 pool tables a year and sold them nationwide. He even designed the equipment to build them, Jerry said.

"Making pool tables, that was his specialty," said his brother, who founded the company in 1972. "Work was his passion."

The sixth of 10 children in Bancroft, Iowa, Roger Schiltz graduated from Neillsville (Wis.) High School and attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for two years.

He operated a small welding and snowmobile repair shop for three years in the mid-1970s in Wisconsin before he joined his brother's company in 1976. He worked in the factory until it closed in 2005.

He was a 10-year member of All God's Children Metropolitan Community Church in south Minneapolis. He was one of several Minnesota couples who headed to Iowa last year after that state legalized same-sex marriage, where he wed R. Keith Monjak.

Schiltz was very active in the church's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender pride organization efforts, served as an usher and provided behind-the-scenes support for the music ministry, said the Rev. Paul A. Ekness-Tucker.

"He was a wonderful man, one of the quiet ones you could count on," he said. "If something needed to be done, it would just happen. He didn't need accolades; he just wanted to make others happy."

Schiltz used his artistic skills to create a lavish flower garden with a handmade waterfall at his home.

He also enjoyed woodworking and built dining room and living room tables, his brother said.

Roger Schiltz liked the outdoors and made frequent trips on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. He also hit the open road each summer, adding 6,000 miles or more to the odometer while taking his bike to places throughout the western United States, his brother said.

In addition to Monjak and Jerry Schiltz, survivors include brothers Tom of Rosemount, Ted of Virginia, and Bill of Wisconsin; sisters Ann and Kathy Wallin, and Helen Johnson, all of Wisconsin, Jeanne Potter of Wisconsin, Kathy Ann Schiltz, of Iowa; stepsisters Margaret Baker of Iowa, Shirley Dingman and Dorothy Kay, both of Arkansas, and Janet Cunningham of Rosemount.

Services have been held.

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