People

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David Gottschalt - Founder Bratenahl Historical Society

10119 Forster Avenue
David Gottschalt
David Gottschalt

David Gottschalt was a third-generation resident of Bratenahl, where he lived all his life except for a stint in the Merchant Marine. His father, Frank Gottschalt, was one of Bratenahl’s first policemen, and his grandfather, Christian Gottschalt, was a councilman. He was proud of his ancestry, which he traced back to the Mayflower and Revolutionary War soldiers.

David, along with other amateur village historians, founded the Bratenahl Historical Society in 1990. He believed that an understanding and appreciation of our historical heritage is essential to maintaining the unique identity of the community.

Before the United States was drawn into World War II, David started a career as a Merchant Mariner by sailing one summer on the Great Lakes. He went to the Marine Inspectors of the Department of Commerce and obtained his certificate of service as a seaman.

During World War II, the ships and men of the United States Merchant Marine transported across the oceans of the world the vast quantities of war materiel, supplies, equipment, and troops needed to fight and win that war.

After the 1942 season, he went to saltwater and worked his way up to Master Mariner, but preferred sailing as Chief Mate.

During a slump in American shipping in the late 1040s, he was accepted by the Israeli Merchant Marine, where he sailed as Chief Mate. When the United States initiated the wholesale withdrawal of its merchant fleet, he came ashore to work in banking.

Most of his time was with Central National Bank until it sold to Society for Savings Bank. Within six months after the merger, he opted for the buyout and spent the next three years at TransOhio Savings Association.

David Franklin Gottschalt was born on August 5, 1923, to Frank and Martha Gottschalt. He grew up on Foster Avenue attended Bratenahl School, graduating from the eighth grade in 1937. From there, he went to Collinwood High School.

He married Nancy Schwelgin. They had four children: David Jr., Christian T, Jonathan C., and Heidi L. (Baker).  Nancy worked for many years at Bratenahl School and, at its close, was given memorabilia for safekeeping at the Bratenahl Historical Society.

He was president of the Bratenahl School Athletic Boosters as well as scoutmaster of the Boy Scouts Troop 301. His hobby was researching American history and the wars his ancestors fought in for the French and Indian War in the mid-1700s through the 1990 Gulf War, codenamed Operation Desert Shield. He studied our country’s historical flags, and he made and displayed many of his flags in public ceremonies.

David died on September 22, 1996, at the Hospice of the Western Reserve and was buried in the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio.