The Schahet family is deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved husband and father, Gary Norman Schahet. Gary, a civic leader in both his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana and his second home of Rancho Mirage, California, passed away on Friday, May 5, 2023. For over 55 years, Gary’s legacy in business and the hospitality industry, as a cultural and community leader, and as a global citizen stand as a key pillar for all those who were lucky to know and work with him.
Gary was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1942 to Ruby Wender and Samuel Sherman Schahet. With his younger sister, Marilyn, the family moved to Indianapolis. He attended Orchard Country Day School then Shortridge High School, where he made dear, lifelong friends.
Gary earned his BS in Business Administration from Miami of Ohio, which Gary referred to as the Harvard of the Midwest, and a Master’s in Business Administration from American University. It was in Washington D.C. in 1968 that Gary made the most important and best decision of his life – winning the heart of Philly’s own, Phyllis Harriet Schwartz. After convincing his east coast sweetheart to make a life together in Indy, their enchanting love story of 56 years began.
Gary and Phyllis raised two charming children, Lisa Faye and Greg Jacob, both of whom were influenced by their father’s favorite pastimes – summer camp, Indiana basketball, movies, travel and business. Lisa pursued careers in sports and entertainment, while Greg joined his father’s company to work alongside him at Schahet Hotels, becoming an outstanding owner and operator in his own right.
The warm and loving home Gary and Phyllis created for their family, friends, and children’s friends truly reflected them—genuine and generous; beautifully appointed, but comfortable and inviting; elevated, but down to earth; loving and loveable. They relished in hosting many gatherings for various occasions, such as lifecycle milestones, parties, and community events.
Gary was a prince of a guy, a true gentleman, and an exemplary human being. Kind-hearted, positive, upbeat, and sincere, he interacted enthusiastically with everyone he knew and relished cultivating new relationships. He failed to pass judgment despite his children and their friends sometimes testing his patience. At most, they were treated to a little side eye.
Gary is a well-known leader in the hospitality industry. He traveled the world with friends and colleagues, helping to change and shape the hospitality space. Under Gary’s leadership, Schahet Hotels has partnered with some of the most renowned hotel franchises in the world, and it has received awards and accolades for its hotel development, renovations and excellent operations. He actively participated in the International Association of Holiday Inns (formerly IAHI, now IHG Owners Association) beginning in the 1970’s and his service culminated with serving a distinguished term as its’ Chairman. In recognition of his service, Gary was awarded the IAHI Award for Outstanding Service. He was a longtime member and former chair of the Multi Franchise Organization, a national hotel peer group. He had the great fortune of welcoming his son Greg and cousin Jeffrey Brown into his business, mentoring and working with them to grow and expand Schahet Hotels into the diverse, ever-evolving hospitality corporation it is today.
Throughout his adult life, Gary proudly supported many civic and charitable organizations, including a Special Task Force for United Way as well as the United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Cabinet. He was an enthusiastic advocate of the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and he served as a leader and on the boards of many organizations, including Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Indianapolis Jewish Welfare Federation, Bureau of Jewish Education, Jewish Welfare Federation Annual Campaign, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (now Visit Indy), Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association, Friends of Palm Springs Philharmonic, and Jewish Federation of the Desert. He also served many years on the board of the Methodist Health Foundation. At the time of his passing, Gary was a trustee of the Palm Springs Art Museum and served as a board member of the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. He was also serving on the board of trustees of Newfields in Indianapolis. He was a longtime member of Broadmoor Country Club in Indianapolis, and of Tamarisk County Club in Rancho Mirage where he was also a past president.
Gary and Phyllis quietly and generously supported many organizations, people, and causes without expecting acknowledgement. Their enthusiasm for the arts and cultural philanthropy have made a lasting impact on both the Indianapolis and Coachella Valley communities.
Gary is survived by his wife Phyllis, and their son Greg, daughter Lisa, and favorite son-in-law Shoe. He was preceded in death by his father Sam, mother Ruby, and sister Marilyn.
To our beloved G-Man and Sensational North Star: may there be endless M&M’s wherever you go; a comfortable chair to watch your favorite spaghetti westerns and Law & Order re-runs; a 24/7 Blue Collar Comedy Channel; intriguing artwork; a hot craps table; great rounds of golf with your buddies; and a hotel room with a comfortable mattress and a good shower. May your memory be for a blessing.
The Schahet family respectfully requests memorial donations to be made to the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis and/or the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2023 at 2:00 pm in Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, 6501 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260. The funeral will be live-streamed. Burial will follow in IHC North Cemetery. In addition, a celebration of life will be planned in Rancho Mirage, California this fall.
Shiva will be held at the Schahet residence on Thursday from 4:30 - 8 PM, Friday from 2 - 5 PM, and Saturday 2 - 5PM
Arrangements entrusted to Aaron-Ruben-Nelson Funeral Home, 317-873-4776
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gary Norman Schahet, please visit our floral store.
Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis
6705 Hoover Road IN 46260
B'nai B'rith Youth Org