Mal Schulze, longtime Framingham politico, dies at 75

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Mal Schulze, longtime Framingham politico, dies at 75 Thursday, May 8, 2008
Dan McDonald 508-626-4416 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- The mettle of a true diplomat could be defined by well-formed and outspoken opinions softened by a gregarious personality.

Those two traits may have also typified the life of Mal Schulze.

A longtime Town Meeting member, former chairman of the Republican Town Committee, veterans advocate, and at one time or another a candidate for numerous public posts, Schulze died yesterday after being diagnosed with colon cancer in March. He was 75.

Armored with a civic drive and razor sharp opinions, Schulze's political delivery was often tinged with brutal honesty and buffered with a hearty laugh.

His voice could be heard reverberating through Nevins Hall at Town Meeting and in a number of coffee shops in town for years.

Last night at Town Meeting, local politicos remembered him for his gift of gab and activism.

Schulze made a habit of shooting the bull at a local coffee shop every Sunday with a contingent of the local literati.

"And it was not much more than bull," insisted Town Meeting member David Hutchinson. "He had his opinion on most things and we loved him for it."

A Korean War veteran, Schulze was "the type of guy to give you the shirt off his back and then remind you that he just gave you the shirt off his back," said longtime friend Doug Freeman.

Town Clerk Valerie Mulvey remembered Schulze fondly as a voting precinct warden.

"What you saw is not always what you got," said Mulvey. "He may have appeared crusty at first, but get to know him and he was a bit of a mush."

Dan Gittlesohn, a Town Meeting member nearly four decades Schulze's junior, remembered calling Schulze for his take on local and national politics. He recalled Schulze, who at one time was chairman of the Framingham Veterans Council, thinking returning vets were not getting their fair shake in terms of services from the government.

"We agreed and disagreed on some things. We agreed that illegal aliens have no place in our country," said Gittelsohn. "We both thought they've cost the American taxpayers money and jobs and they've destroyed downtown Framingham."

Last night, at the request of Town Moderator Ed Noonan, Town Meeting held a moment of silence in remembrance of the cantankerous luminary.

"He was a fixture here," said selectmen Vice Chairwoman Ginger Esty during a break in Town Meeting last night. "He always had opinions and he shared them freely. He was part of the overall personality of Town Meeting."

While his political affiliation differed, Phil Ottaviani Jr. considered Schulze a true friend.

Ottaviani was the chairman of the Democratic Town Committee at the same time Schulze chaired the Republican Town Committee.

"He used to say I was crazy," said Ottaviani. "He hated overrides. He was against the CPA, and one of his regrets was probably that he didn't get to see Framingham as a city."

Schulze ran for the state Senate and the House of Representatives, said Freeman, who called Schulze a true activist.

"He was the person who would scream 'the Emperor has no clothes' in a room full of sycophants," said Freeman.

Recalling Schulze's futile attempts to have Framingham become a city, Freeman joked that Schulze's friends often had to save him from getting lynched in the court of public opinion.

"But he would have gladly gone to the gallows just to prove a point," said Freeman.

Funeral services are scheduled for tomorrow at the Stanetsky Memorial Chapel in Canton at 2 p.m.

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