In Memory

Phillip A. Schermerhorn - Class Of 1969 VIEW PROFILE

Phillip A. Schermerhorn

Phillip A. Schermerhorn

Feb. 27, 1951 - Sep. 4, 2002

Services for Phillip A. Schermerhorn Jr., 51, Indianapois, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and an advocate for the National Kidney Foundation, will be at noon Sept. 11 in Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, with calling from 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 10.

Local calling will be from 2 to 7 p.m. Sept. 8 in Feeney-Hornak Keystone Mortuary. Burial will be in Highland Cemetery, South Bend. He died Sept. 4.

Mr. Schermerhorn was director of media and communications for IDEM since 1999. Previously, he was deputy commissioner for the Office of Public, Legislative and Community Affairs for the Indiana Department of Transportation and a top aide to Evan Bayh when he was governor and secretary of state.

“Phil was dedicated heart and soul to state government and the state of Indiana,” IDEM Commissioner Lori F. Kaplain said. “It really was his life.”

Before joining state government, he was a reporter for several newspapers, including The Elkhart Truth.

Diagnosed with kidney disease in his youth, he was a volunteer for the national Kidney Foundation of Indiana and had moved through the volunteer ranks, serving as local chapter president and state affiliate president to the national board of directors. He received the national Kidney Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award in 1993.

A graduate of Ball State University, he was designated a distinguished alumni and was named a Sagamore for the Wabash by Gov. Bayh.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Stuart Kliet Endowment of the National Kidney Foundation of Indiana.

He is survived by his sister, Gail C. Schermerhorn.


Indianapolis Star - September 6, 2002.



INDIANAPOLIS -- South Bend native Phil Schermerhorn, a longtime state government employee and advocate for kidney patients, died Wednesday night after a long illness. He was 51.

Mr. Schermerhorn was widely known and respected as a spokesman for several state government departments and officials.

He worked as a press officer for U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh during Bayh's tenure as secretary of state and governor, and he later managed the communications office of the Indiana Department of Transportation. From 1999 until his death, he was director of media and communications services at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Lori Kaplan, IDEM commissioner, said Mr. Schermerhorn was "completely and thoroughly dedicated to the state of Indiana and state government. I would say it was first and foremost in everything that he did."

Mike Puro, the Indiana Toll Road manager and former mayor of Goshen, said Mr. Schermerhorn always exhibited a rare trait in state government, that of being "very customer oriented."

"I found that extremely refreshing," Puro said.

Mr. Schermerhorn was born Feb. 27, 1951, in South Bend and graduated from Ball State University. He worked as a reporter for The Tribune, Niles Daily Star and Elkhart Truth before joining Bayh's campaign for secretary of state in 1986.

According to his colleagues, Mr. Schermerhorn's passions included a vacation cabin on the Ohio River in Perry County and his work with the National Kidney Foundation of Indiana.

Mr. Schermerhorn, a kidney transplant recipient, served for many years on the foundation's board, including a stint as board president from 1989 to 1991 and a term as board member of the national organization.

Margie Fort, the foundation's executive director, said Mr. Schermerhorn not only served tirelessly but was instrumental in leading the organization to financial stability. Several years ago, he organized a "governor's gala" that honored all five living Indiana governors, raising more than $100,000 for the foundation.

"He's just like a cornerstone of this organization," Fort said, "and just a good man."

Gov. Frank O'Bannon and Bayh issued separate statements praising Mr. Schermerhorn's dedication and decency, with O'Bannon noting the wry humor for which Mr. Schermerhorn was widely known.

"He liked to laugh and he liked to see other people laugh," IDEM commissioner Kaplan said.

Mr. Schermerhorn had been ill for some months, suffering tissue rejection from his transplanted kidney and complications from various medications. He was preparing for another kidney transplant and was receiving home dialysis treatments when he died.

Mr. Schermerhorn is survived by a sister, Gail Schermerhorn of South Bend.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, followed by a service at the funeral home at noon Wednesday.

Indianapolis visitation also is scheduled from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Feeney-Hornak Keystone Mortuary.

He will be buried in Highland Cemetery, South Bend.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Stuart Kliet Endowment of the National Kidney Foundation of Indiana.


03/30/2021 DEC


South Bend Tribune, Indianapols Star

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