Amesbury, MA — Dr. Charles Joseph Schissel, beloved physician to generations of Amesbury families, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family on July 9, 2013. Born in Calmar, Iowa, on May 13, 1920, he was the second of seven children born to Alphonse and Mary Theresa (Becker) Schissel. The oldest son, he worked hard on the family farm while attending local schools, often arriving on one of the family’s draft horses. He earned a college scholarship and received a degree in forestry from Iowa State College in 1942. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S.Navy to join the war effort. He served in the South Pacific in Torpedo Squadron-21(VT-21), as a gunner onboard a Grumman TBF Avenger and flew over 30 missions in the Solomon Islands. He then served a tour as crewman aboard the carrier USS Coral Sea CVE-57. In 1944, he returned to the States for officer candidate school at Columbia University, and finished his service as an ensign and battery commander aboard the heavy cruiser, the USS Saint Paul (CA-73). He and his shipmates were witnesses to the Japanese surrender on the nearby battleship, USS Missouri, while anchored in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.
In 1944, while the Saint Paul was being completed at the Quincy Navy Yard, Dr. Schissel met Rita McNeil, and they were married following his discharge from the Navy in 1946. Under the GI Bill, Dr. Schissel enrolled in the Boston University School of Medicine, graduating in 1952. After serving a residency at Lawrence General Hospital, the couple moved to Amesbury, where he established his practice in family medicine.
Dr. Schissel was truly an old-fashioned doctor, who answered the phone and made house calls at all hours of the night. He took great pride in the number of babies he delivered at Amesbury Hospital. He was well known for his calm and reassuring manner with his patients. Even after long days and nights caring for his patients, he always found time to play ball with his children, coach Little League, and serve his community and his Parish.
Dr. Schissel loved nature and geography, and he loved to travel. He and Rita were fortunate to be able to make numerous trips abroad including to Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico, and Africa. However, his favorite vacations were the camping trips that he took with his family to state and national parks across the country. He was a member and past president of the Zane Grey’s West Society, a past president of the Amesbury Little League, a dedicated parishioner of Holy Family Parish, and was involved in many other civic and charitable organizations.
Dr. Schissel is survived by his wife of 67 years, Rita; daughters, Jean, Susan and her husband, William Fogerty, Betsy and her husband, Andrew Mitchell, and Mary and her husband, Christopher Ryer; and sons, Dr. Lawrence and his wife, Mary Schissel, Dr. Stephen Schissel, Charles and his wife, Mary Schissel, and James and his wife, Cheryl Schissel; 19 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; his brother, Dr. Gregory Schissel; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Arthur and Gerald; and sisters Bertha, Theresa and Kathryn.
ARRANGEMENTS: Visiting hours at the Highland Street Chapel of Paul C. Rogers & Sons Family Funeral Home, 2 Hillside Ave., Amesbury, will be on Thursday, from 4 to 8 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday morning at 10 a.m., at St. Joseph Church of the Holy Family Parish, 2 School St., Amesbury, followed by interment in St. Joseph Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, c/o Holy Family Parish, 9 Sparhawk St., Amesbury, MA 01913.