John E. “Skillet” Ulmschneider was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on February 24, 1979, to Cheryl and the late James Ulmschneider. When he was eight, Skillet’s family moved to Clinton, Maryland, where he spent much of his free time working at Miller Farms while attending and graduating from Surrattsville High School. Miller Farm is where Skillet met and fell in love with his future wife, Dawn Padgett.
As a law enforcement officer, Dawn’s father had already become quite familiar with this young man, and it required a healthy amount of convincing for him to come around to the idea of Skillet dating his daughter. However, Skillet was persistent, and he and Dawn went on their first date on her 16th birthday. From that moment on, the two were inseparable.
Skillet had two dreams—to become a firefighter and to settle down and raise a large family. On March 10, 2003, Skillet’s dream of becoming a firefighter came true. On July 31, 2003, Skillet graduated at the top of his class. Through the years, Skillet advanced to paramedic. He spent countless hours studying, fulfilling clinical requirements, and achieving impressive test scores. Officers and peers recognized his work ethic and determination to excel and asked him to become a preceptor to aspiring paramedics. Firefighting was a job Skillet was perfectly suited to do. He loved teaching and helping others and also strived to learn new things himself. A friend to many, Skillet was a joy to work with. His last assignment at Landover Hills Medic 30 was definitely his home away from home. He could not have asked for a better fire department family.
While Skillet had an unparalleled work ethic, there was nothing he enjoyed more than time spent with his family. Skillet and Dawn wed in August of 2005. In June of 2014, they were blessed with their beautiful daughter, Abigail, who became Skillet’s whole world. As Abigail grew, Skillet never missed an opportunity to teach her something, whether it was how to turn a wrench or just to enjoy life.
Skillet was a faith-filled man who lived a life of service, both professionally and personally. He deeply loved every part of his life, at home, on the farm and on the job. On April 15, 2016, he enjoyed a memorable day on the farm with Dawn and Abigail. That evening, while working an overtime shift, Skillet and his partner responded to a 911 call from a concerned family member. Tragically, that evening Paramedic Ulmschneider answered his last call.
Skillet is survived by his wife, Dawn, and daughter, Abigail. Skillet brought joy to every life he touched and is missed greatly by all that knew and loved him.