INDIANAPOLIS -- USA Track & Field remembers the life of long-time Millrose Games meet director and USATF Hall of Fame Inductee Howard Schmertz, who passed away Thursday evening.
Schmertz, 88, served as Meet Director of the Millrose Games from 1975 to 2004 and was inducted into the Millrose Games Hall of Fame as the sole inductee in 2007, the meet’s 100th year.
“USA Track & Field and our sport have lost a great friend,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “Howard was a Hall of Famer and someone who was respected and loved by many in the sport, from athletes to officials to fellow meet directors. Indoor track & field, and especially the Millrose Games, will always reflect his influence. On behalf of USATF, we send our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Howard was named assistant meet director of the iconic Millrose Games in 1950, and assumed overall meet responsibilities when his father retired in 1975. Howard’s father, Fred, was a delivery boy for the John Wanamaker Department Store and served as meet director from 1934-1975. The elder Schmertz was eventually head of Wanamaker’s legal department. Howard was named Meet Director Emeritus in 2004.
Eight-time winner of the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, Bernard Lagat tweeted, "R.I.P Howard Schmertz, Millrose Games director emeritus. You were the 1st one to welcome me into the Millrose Games family. I'll miss you.”
Howard Schmertz graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx in 1941 and served in World War II as an Army infantryman, during which time he missed his only two Millrose Games in 73 years. Upon his discharge, he earned his undergraduate degree at Columbia University and in 1948, graduated from Columbia Law School and went to work for the firm Dean Magill & Huber, which later became Huber Lawrence & Abell. Schmertz worked days as a partner in his law firm while devoting nights and weekends, assisted by his wife, Judy, to his unpaid post as Meet Director.
Funeral services for Howard Schmertz will be held Sunday, March 30, at 2:00 P.M at Gutterman's Memorial Chapel, 8000 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY 11797.