A couple deeply committed to Lake Superior State University broadened that relationship even further with the establishment of the Pingatore Brothers Hockey Endowment in support of the Laker Hockey program operations.
The Pingatore brothers from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan were ardent supporters of the Laker Hockey program since its inception in the 1960s when the Lakers played at the Pullar Stadium. All three brothers were successful businessmen and understood the importance of the Laker Hockey program to the university and the community.
Eugene “Gene” Pingatore, Sr. served in the 1437th National Guard Unit during the Korean War and returned to work in the family business, E. Pingatore & Son Cleaners. He worked in a variety of truck driving positions with Sault area companies, completing his career as an independent agent and broker in the transportation industry. He was instrumental in bringing Midget AAA hockey to the Sault. Eugene Pingatore, Sr. passed away on Oct. 10, 2010.
Perry Pingatore had a successful career working and then as the owner of Pingatore Cleaners & Son for 55 years. During this time Perry was an active member of the Michigan Dry Cleaners Association. Locally, he served on the War Memorial Hospital and First of America Bank Board of Directors. His community service also included his participation with Sault Area Rotary Club International. Perry passed away on Sept. 10, 2014.
Chuck and Laurie are the prototypical alumni and donors that our students should emulate following graduation. They care deeply about LSSU and have consistently been generous with their time and treasure over the years. By establishing the Pingatore Brothers Endowment they are recognizing the importance of the Laker Hockey program to the University and to Laurie’s hometown.Foundation Executive Director Tom Coates
Orlando “Landy” Pingatore graduated from Loretto High School with the class of 1959. He also worked in the family business, Pingatore Cleaners, and later owned Soo Supply and Equipment. Landy was an active member with Soo Co-Op Credit Union Board of Directors, a past member of the Lion’s Club, and along with many other Pingatore family members, a member of the Christopher Columbus Hall. Landy Pingatore passed away on Aug. 5, 2010 at his home.
The Pingatore brothers all shared the common trait of being enthusiastic, almost rabid at times, Laker Hockey fans. This enthusiasm could be contagious to those surrounding the Brothers.
Enter Chuck and Laurie (Pingatore) Schmidt.
Chuck Schmidt came to LSSC in 1971 to study business and it was during this time he met Laurie Pingatore, who was working at her father Perry’s business, Pingatore Cleaners. Chuck was a regular customer. Laurie studied nursing at Lake State. Chuck graduated in 1975 while Laurie did so in 1974. Chuck loves hockey, and still plays. This fact fit in rather well with the Pingatore clan and Schmidt succumbed further to the family’s contagious enthusiasm for the sport.
Following graduation the Schmidts moved downstate and continued successful careers in finance and nursing in various locations, winding up in the Rochester Hills, Michigan area. Chuck has remained involved with LSSU, serving as a member of the governing Board of Trustees and also as the board chair.
Following his board of trustees service, he joined the LSSU Foundation Board, served as chair and currently holds a seat on the board. During this time, Chuck spearheaded the successful campaign in support of the newly renovated R.W. Considine Hall. He was awarded Outstanding Alumnus in 2011 and an honorary doctorate degree was granted to him by LSSU in 2015. The Schmidts have supported many projects and initiatives over the years with the goal of advancing the mission of Lake State. They continue to visit the University regularly and maintain a summer home in the Brimley area.