Donald Lee Schmidt, 86, of Newton, KS, died Wednesday from complications of pancreatic cancer at Kidron Bethel Village. Don was born at home to David and Kathryn Schmidt who farmed on hilly ground outside of Medford, OK during the Great Depression . Despite the challenging times, and despite living initially without electricity, Don and his younger brother, Lewis, grew up surrounded by love. The family found pleasure in card games, and, after electricity arrived at their home, radio shows like “GangBusters.” In 1948, the Schmidts moved to Newton, where Don attended First Mennonite Church and where, eventually, he graduated from Newton High School. In 1956, Don began dating the love of his life, Marlene (Kopper). They married four years later after Don graduated from Bethel College and afterward he performed 1-W service at Indiana University in lieu of being drafted into the military. In the 1960s, after jobs managing Antrim Lumber and Selling Fertilizer in York, Nebraska, he was hired as an accountant at Hesston Corporation (now AGCO), where he would spend his entire career, weathering a number of mergers and acquisitions and eventually advancing to the position of corporate controller before retiring in 2001. As much as Don thrived in his career, his life was defined by his faith in God, his commitment to serving his church community, and his love for his wife and the three children they raised: Mike, Greg, and Lori. Don served in a number of positions at First Mennonite, including as a deacon and congregational leader, and held positions on several boards, including at Kidron Bethel and Ten Thousand Villages. The quintessential Jack of all trades, Don not only tackled a number of projects, but also built the family’s second home with his father. A passion for golf and antique cars occupied his spare time. Whether attending Mike’s football games or Lori’s music recitals or helping Greg with various projects, Don was devoted to their well-being and encouraged them to pursue their passions. With Marlene, he enjoyed a lifelong marriage marked by many family vacations, concerts, dining out, and time spent with friends and family. Don was preceded in death by his parents, step-mother Elda (Fast), and wife Marlene. He is survived by his children Mike, Greg And Lori, his brother, Lewis Schmidt (Dorothy), his uncle, A.D. Janzen, and several nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Donald L. Schmidt Memorial Fund and left with Petersen Funeral Home.
Memorial service will be 2:00 p.m., Thursday November 10 2022 at First Mennonite Church in Newton with Pastor Laura Goerzen presiding. Visitation will be 5 p.m. tp 9 p.m. Wednesday November 9, 2022 at Petersen Funeral Home. A graveside committal service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Thursday at Greenwood Cemetery in Newton.
Sympathy to you all during this difficult time.
Many memories of your Dad and his leadership at First Mennonite .
May he rest in peace.
Sad to hear of Don’s passing. Always a good friend and ready to help with the vintage cars. Hope your future life will be as fun and exciting as this one was.
Our deepest sympathy to Greg, Lori, and Mike and Don’s extended family. I also was a 1954 Newton high School graduate and classmate with Don. We shared a common background experience of entering the Newton school system from a rural farming environment and our paths joined again in later years with the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America enjoying touring with our old Chevys. Greg restored my father’s old 1946 Chevy pickup for me. Don and Marlene were fine gracious persons who are greatly missed.
To the Schmidt family including Lewis and Dorothy; Remembering Don as a fine gentleman who spent many hours ministering to others especially those at First Mennonite, including my parents.
Jim Jantz, Firestone, CO
Thinking of you all today and in the days to follow. So thankful you can celebrate a long life well lived.
I worked with Don many years in Hesston (Hesston, HFI, Hay & Forage etc). I always appreciated his leadership sound advice and fairness to all. I will always remember Him as one of my best mentors. He leaves quite a legacy and he will never be forgotten.
DON: YOU AND MARLENE ALWAYS TREATED KARLENE, CHRISTINA, AND MYSELF LIKE WE WERE PART OF YOUR FAMILY. YOU AND MARLENE NEVER MISSED ONE OF CHRISTINA’S CHOIR CONCERTS AT FRIENDS UNIVERSITY. NOW THAT YOU ARE BOTH GONE YOU BOTH LEFT A HUGE HOLE IN OUR HEARTS. WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. REST IN PEACE OUR DEAREST FRIEND. MAY GOD WATCH OVER YOU. THE VICE FAMILY.