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Cliff Schimmels, Baptist speaker, educator dies

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (BP)–Cliff Schimmels, a well-known Southern Baptist author and conference speaker, died May 9 from congestive heart failure. He was 63 years old.

Schimmels was a professor of education at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. He was scheduled to be the baccalaureate speaker at a local high school on May 11.

“Cliff Schimmels has lit up the sky since he arrived on the Lee campus almost 10 years ago,” said Lee University President Paul Conn. “He was such a brilliant teacher and speaker, so passionate about students and teaching, such a great friend to so many of us of all ages. It is impossible to describe how much we have lost when we lost him yesterday.”

Schimmels and his wife, Mary, took a keen interest in education in other countries. In the past 10 years, he took numerous trips abroad, including yearlong tours in China and the Ukraine, where he taught and began educational programs at local universities.

Schimmels came to Lee after a 17-year teaching career at Wheaton College in Illinois, and quickly became a favorite among students, especially those majoring in his specialty field of education. He was a member of the faculty of the Helen DeVos College of Education.

He was also the writer of more than two dozen books, including several best sellers. One of his most well-known books “I Was A High School Drop-In,” chronicled the semester he spent as an adult enrolled in a Chicago-area junior high school. In the book, he described his life as “the world’s oldest junior high student.” He was also a former junior high football coach.

He and his wife were married 43 years and have three grown children. He was a member of Candies Creek Baptist Church.

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