Arts Commission chair gets parade marriage proposal

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 12, 2018

 Anthony Lewis proposes to Jeanne Schabath in front of Sterling Heights City Hall May 28, Memorial Day. The couple met two years ago during Sterling Heights’ Memorial Day events.

Anthony Lewis proposes to Jeanne Schabath in front of Sterling Heights City Hall May 28, Memorial Day. The couple met two years ago during Sterling Heights’ Memorial Day events.

Photo by Ted Striegnitz

As the moderator of the 39th annual Sterling Heights Memorial Day parade, Sterling Heights Arts Commission Chair Jeanne Schabath did more than judge parade floats and make sure the area’s troops were honored. 

Schabath also received a marriage proposal from her fiancé, Anthony Lewis, after the parade May 28.

According to Schabath and Lewis, they originally met at the parade two years ago, her first time moderating the event. 

When they met, she was in charge of ceremonial duties and judging the floats. Lewis worked for then-U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, who was at the parade.

“I flicked my card to him (in) May 2016,” Schabath said. “By August, we started dating. Two years later, here we are at the Memorial Day parade this year, and Candice Miller takes total and absolute credit for it, by the way.”

Lewis described his first meeting with Schabath. 

“We just started talking, getting to get to know each other a little better,” he said. “She’s very friendly, very bubbly, just a lot of fun. ... We’re both pretty outdoorsy. We’ve done hiking together, fishing, Dodge Park, things like that.”

Lewis said they already had discussed the ring and had talked about marriage — it was mainly a question of when the proposal would take place.

“I thought it’d be nice to get engaged on the same day and place we met two years ago,” he said.

Schabath said she had a feeling Lewis was going to propose that sunny day, with temperatures in the mid-90s. However, she correctly believed that he wouldn’t do the proposal during the ceremony or while she was onstage, lest it take attention away from the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country.

“He knew there’s a certain amount of duties that you have to do,” Schabath said. “So he didn’t want to disrupt those at all.”

Lewis ended up proposing after the parade, as Schabath was about to leave. One of his friends was positioned by the Upton House, with flowers hidden in the bushes, ready to capture photos of the big moment. 

“We started walking toward City Hall,” Schabath said, describing what her fiancé did. “In front of the fountain at City Hall, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”

“It was just very exciting,” Lewis added. “It was right in front of the reflecting pond in Sterling Heights. We had a very nice dinner with her parents afterward.” 

When Schabath is not busy with Arts Commission duties for Sterling Heights, she works for General Dynamics Land Systems. Nowadays, Lewis works for U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, and the couple’s professional lives sometimes intersect at events that involve national defense.

“Needless to say, a lot of times we’re at the same things for both of our jobs,” Schabath said.   

Lewis said the couple is hoping to get married next May in Michigan, possibly in Rochester.