Harold Schild, former CEO/president of Tillamook Cheese passed away on Sept. 10, 2020 after a short illness at the age of 83.
Schild served as CEO/president of Tillamook County Creamery Association for nine years, retiring in 2002 after 44 years with the creamery. He was instrumental in moving Tillamook Cheese from being a Northwest product to a brand that is now nationally recognized. Although he directed numerous major shifts in the company over the years, the most impactful was the decision and ultimate construction of a second cheese factory in Boardman. This development enabled Tillamook Cheese to grow exponentially over the years.
Schild was also the driving force behind the creation and construction of the first large visitors facility at Tillamook Cheese. Although he had no idea at the time just how big of tourist attraction the visitor’s facility would turn into, it is now part of the Tillamook Cheese brand and lore.
Schild was a self-made leader who attended only one year of college before going to work at Tillamook as a cheesemaker, beginning his climb through different levels of responsibility and management with the company. In the early 1970’s he became the manager of the “Grade A” department, which was designed to get local dairy products such as milk, ice cream and butter into local stores. This department had always operated at a loss, but had been created as a service to give local farmers access to products made from their own milk. He quickly turned the sale of these products into a significant piece of the Tillamook Cheese legacy and brand name.
Although Schild spent much of his career in management, employees continued to regard him as a friend and coworker who had come up through the ranks with many of them. He was also regarded as a person who had a deep commitment to the community of Tillamook, and felt that the community and TCCA were one in the same.
His leadership style was built on developing positive, meaningful relationships with the employees and farmers he worked with. It wasn’t unusual to see him walking through the plant greeting individual employees by name, knowing and caring about them and their families.
Having grown up on their Swiss-family farm in Tillamook, Schild understood the challenges, as well as the advantages, of being on a dairy. He earned the respect of local farmers, as well as state and national dairy leaders, due to his extensive industry knowledge and passion.
Outside of his work at Tillamook Cheese, Schild was actively involved in the community. He was a long-time Tillamook School District board member, the owner of two local restaurants (Swiss Chalet, Hadley House), the play-by-play voice of the Tillamook Cheesemakers on KTIL and a life-long, active member of the Tillamook Church of the Nazarene.
Schild is survived by his wife of 63 years, Betty, daughters Cindy Lewis (Tillamook), and Jody Sherbondy (Denver) and son Randy Schild (Tillamook), as well as 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20, at the Tillamook High School football field grandstands where social distancing practices can be followed.