Bintz, John Carl, Thomas Township, Michigan

Passed away recently at Covenant Rehab at the age of 84 years. Born February 5, 1931 in Saginaw to the late Carl and Elizabeth (Sanderson) Bintz. John attended Saginaw Public Schools and then graduated from St. John’s Military Academy in Wisconsin in 1950 and Michigan State University with a degree in Horticulture in 1955. He was proud to serve as a 1st Lieutenant in the U. S. Army as second in command of a Nike Missile Base until 1958. He married Joan Heiderer July 28, 1955. After John Bintz finished his service to his country, he began working along with wife Joan on their apple farm located in Freeland. Even after adding an “old fashioned” cyder mill, general store and gift shop, the family still needed a winter endeavor to keep employees working all year round. It was at this point that they set out to create a ski hill. A small feat would be an understatement considering this was to take place on flat land. As Joan said, “A lot of ski areas were started and had maybe seventy-five feet or so (of slope) already. We had nothing.” Starting with a used tractor and a total of 300 acres of land that he and Joan had purchased, John began his unique undertaking to create the original ski hill. This construction work began in the spring of 1960. What was to be the first part of this project was completed for the 1961-62 winter ski season. At this time the man-made hill had a thirty (30) foot drop. But again, this was just the beginning. Expanded in 1964 and completed for the 1964-65 season the hill increased to a 150 foot drop. The last major change to the ski hill took place in 1968 where the drop increased to 201 feet. Bintz Apple Mt. was awarded an outstanding National Ski Patrol over the years and had an amazing Professional Ski Instructors organization. Along with the creation of the ski hill came the resort buildings at Bintz Apple Mountain which were all constructed and renovated by the couple, including the lodge and church where hundreds of weddings took place. In 1968, Bintz Apple Mt. Steakhouse became a popular eatery and in the 1970’s there was a ski shop and also three Bintz Sports stores created by the family. Over the years, the Bintzs employed over 20,000 people. Locals fondly called it "Bintz's Bump." John and Joan Bintz were inducted into the Michigan Ski Hall of fame in 2012 and nominated for the National Ski Hall of Fame in 2014. John recently told Heidi that he wants his legacy to be "Bintz Apple Mt" even though he LOVED being an apple farmer. He was proudest of his 3 children and 2 granddaughters. Besides creating and building Bintz Apple Farm and Ski Resort he was very involved in the community. Serving on many board of directors and memberships to local organizations (too many to name them all). Thomas Township Planning Commision (54 years); Family Federal S & L - chairman (15 years); Saginaw General Hospital (now Covenant) board member and chairman of the board (16 years); Saginaw Club member and past president (50+ years); Saginaw Country Club, member and past golf tournament winner; Northwest Kiwanis Club, member (55 years); Saginaw County Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year; Michigan State University Alumni Association & Agriculture Alumni Association - president, State of Michigan Labor Board. John was an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America. Surviving besides his wife Joan, are their daughter Heidi Bintz, Vail, Colorado and granddaughters Elle and Sophe Friedman; sons Carl Bintz (Kim), Lake Tahoe, California; John Bintz and his fiancée, Diana, Chicago, Illinois; sister, Roberta Bintz Wiley, Fenton; brothers-in-law, Max (Edwina) Heiderer and Commander Robert Heiderer; sister-in-law Mrs. Conrad Heiderer (Carol); many nieces and nephews and dear friend and nurse Barb Zeil. He was predeceased by his sister, Dorothy Bintz Foster and Gretchen & Fred Langschwager. Funeral service will take place on Friday, June 12, 2015 at 2 p.m. at the W. L. Case and Company Funeral Chapel, 201 N. Miller Road. Friends may visit with the family from 10 a.m. Friday until time of funeral service. Entombment will take place at Oakwood Mausoleum. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider donations to the Saginaw Castle Museum of history or Covenant HealthCare Foundation or a charity of their choice.