A few months ago, Josh and I found out some of our current home’s history. Being the HGTV lover that I am, it thrills me to think that our home has even a small past worth mentioning. I leave it up to you decide if it’s as interesting as I find it.
Our neighbors, Ken and Flo, came over one day to talk to us about our remodeling project. They have lived across the street for some years now, and have seen many new residents come and go. They are still friends with a former resident from the sixties who came to visit them just a short time ago. As we were talking she asked if I knew that Mary Kay Letourneau was born in our front room, I of course said “No!”, and she proceeded to give me a little history….
Mary and John G. Schmitz, were former residents of our home. They lived in our house in the sixties and were living there when Mary Kay was born on Jan. 30, 1962. Mary Kay was literally born in our front bedroom (which we now use as a guest room). Her family (not just her), are really something special, I think, and have an unbelievable past.
John G. Schmitz (her father) was elected to the California Senate in 1964, (at the age of 34) with the help of Carl Karcher, William Voit, and Tom Rogers. He served in the state senate until 1970, when he won a special election to succeed the late James B Utt in the House from California’s 35th Congressional District. He won a full term in November. By 1972, Congressman Schmitz was elected as the presidential candidate for the American Independent Party. He ran for president against Richard Nixon, winning 1.1 million votes in 32 states. His best showing was in Idaho, where he won almost 10 percent of the vote and even finished second in some counties, ahead of Democrat George McGovern.
Among one of his many roles, Schmitz was a professor and taught political science and philosophy at Santa Ana College. He, like his daughter, also had an affair with a student, Carla Stuckle (this one a long term affair which resulted in a child). Early in 1982, the baby was treated at an Orange County hospital for an injured penis. A piece of hair was wrapped so tightly around the organ (according to one doctor) that it was almost severed. The baby suffered no permanent injury, however, Carla, suspected of child neglect, wasn’t allowed to take the infant home. Bits of hair or other fibers often get trapped in babies’ diapers and can cause infections and other ailments, but at least one physician treating John George had become convinced that a hair was deliberately wrapped around the organ. He would recall it as being “tied in a square knot.” Carla was questioned and threatened with jail time and or loss of custody and was forced to reveal the baby’s father, as the Senator. Schmitz acknowledged fathering the baby and second child (a daughter named Eugenie) out of wedlock. (Both with Carla). The admission effectively ended his political career. Soon the second family of John Schmitz made headlines throughout the country. His political career was over. As was his wife’s (Mary) stint as a political commentator. However, their marriage survived. The couple separated for a period, then reconciled.
Investigators concluded there was not enough evidence to charge Stuckle with child abuse or neglect. John George was returned to her care. In 1994, Stuckle died from complications from the diabetes that had long ravaged her. John George was 13, his sister, 11. John Schmitz had no desire for custody of his two youngest children. The famous psychic Jeanne Dixon, who was a close friend of Mary Schmitz, took them in. When Dixon died in 1997, the children became wards of the state and went to an orphanage.
Mary Kay Letourneau (in case you can’t place the name) is the teacher who was arrested (in 1997) for the statutory rape of a teenaged boy (age 13) with whom she had an affair and a child. She was sentenced to seven years in prison, was let out, and then married her former student. They have two children. Mary was the Schmitz’ fourth child and first daughter.
On August 11, 1973, the family and some friends had a little get together in their (now Corona Del Mar) backyard. Mary Kay, then 11, was supposed to be watching her 3-year-old brother Philip. Suddenly Mary Kay asked, “Where’s Philip?” and a panicked family began looking for the baby. They found him unconscious at the bottom of the pool. He drown.
The family has a very sorted history that is just fascinating to read about and research. I of course, am only highlighting the sensational news, for an interesting read, but there is plenty more interesting facts I discovered about the family.
Schmitz died on January 10, 2001 of prostate cancer and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. His heirs include:
John P.(son): Deputy Counsel to the Vice President during Reagan administration, Deputy Counsel to the President, George H.W. Bush administration. Joseph E. Schmitz (son): Department of Defense Inspector General, George W. Bush administration. Other children: Phillip (deceased), Mary Kay, Jerome, Terry Ann, and Elizabeth.
He was married for 47 years to Mary. Mary is the visitor who came to our neighbors to visit.