Arthur A. Schmidt, 98, died on December 14, 2016 at the Newton Medical Center. Art was born on February 8, 1918 to Abraham and Sara (Schmidt) Schmidt at their home in rural Marion County. When Art was two the family moved to a farm in Harvey County.
Art attended Walton schools through his sophomore year, stayed home a year to help on the farm, but then returned and graduated from Walton High School. While in school he particularly enjoyed math and art classes and participated in athletics, excelling in track and basketball. He attended Bethel College for one year.
In his youth, Art worked with a threshing crew and on the Drier farm close to Hesston. Upon his father’s early death, Art took care of his parents’ farm and helped provide for his mother and younger brother and sister.
On June 3, 1942, Art married Ruth Unrau, a local teacher. They celebrated their seventy-fourth anniversary with family in June prior to Ruth’s death in August of 2016.
In 1947, Art and Ruth purchased their farm close to Walton where they had a grain and dairy operation. They later joined with son and daughter-in-law Archie and Kristin Schmidt to form Hillside Dairy. Art farmed for 60 years and continued to garden until the last few years of his life.
In the 1970s and 80s Ruth and Art were foster parents for a dozen children and youth through several agencies as well as through informal arrangements. Art was very active in the community as a board member of the Walton School Board and the Farm Bureau Board. He was a member of the Walton Lions Club for forty years and served as a deacon and trustee at Tabor Mennonite Church. He enjoyed music and sang tenor in various ensembles and in duets with his sister Evelyn. In later years Art pursued his creative and arts interests with simple wood carving, making canes and walking sticks, welding metal pieces, and drawing. He won an award in the local “Art Is Ageless” competition sponsored by Presbyterian Manor.
Along with Ruth, Art was involved in various social groups including the Over Forty Club, a square dance club, and several informal coffee gatherings and monthly meetings at the Whistle Stop Café in Walton.
Art was preceded in death by his wife Ruth, his parents and all his siblings Rachel (Ed) Goossen, Simon (Martha, Rose) Schmidt, Eldo (Aileen) Schmidt, Evelyn (Orie) Lehrman; a daughter, Elaine (Verlin) Bartel; a stillborn son, George Alan; and a stillborn grandson, Alan Matthies Schmidt.
Survivors include brother-in-law Gordon Dyck of Estes Park, CO; son-in-law Verlin Bartel of Kansas City; son Archie (Kristin) Schmidt of Peabody; daughter Ada (Wes) Schmidt-Tieszen of Newton; grandchildren Heather (David) Bradford of Ottumwa, Iowa, Olivia Bartel of Murdock, Jody Schmidt of Chicago, Luke (Sarah) Schmidt of College Station, Texas, Katy Schmidt of Peabody, Tina (Dan) Graber of Freeman, South Dakota, Alison Schmidt-Tieszen of Denver; and great-grandchildren Anna and Isaac Bradford of Ottumwa, Iowa, and Adaline Graber of Freeman, South Dakota.
A Celebration of Life service is at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 27, at Tabor Mennonite Church, rural Newton. A visitation with family is from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 27, in Menno Hall at Kidron Bethel Retirement Village, North Newton. Memorials may be designated in Art’s memory to Bethel College or Mennonite Central Committee. Petersenfamilyfuneralhome.com.