Robert K. (Bob) Schmidt, age 82, passed away on Friday, January 15, 2021, at Newton Medical Center, from complications of Covid-19. Bob was born May 21, 1938, in Neodesha, Kansas, to Marvin Schmidt and Elma Frey Schmidt. When he was only four years old, a tornado struck the family farm and took the life of his father Marvin. Bob, his mother, and younger brother Duane moved in with extended family while Elma earned her teaching certificate. He started kindergarten at age four in a one room schoolhouse taught by his mother.
When Bob was a teenager, his mother married Willard H. Regier and he gained two additional siblings, Eldon and Lois. He graduated from Whitewater High School in 1955, but was most proud of his self-declared degree from “The School of Hard Knocks.”
Bob married his high school sweetheart, Mary Lou Androes, on June 29, 1956. They shared the next 64 and a half years of joys and challenges together, and relied heavily on each other and their faith following the tragic loss of their oldest daughter, Rhonda, in 1994. Bob and Mary Lou enjoyed many boating vacations at Table Rock Lake in Missouri with Mary Lou’s extended family, several trips to Hawaii, visiting Niagara Falls, and celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with a trip to Alaska. They rarely missed a ballgame or event that involved their children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren, and Bob enjoyed coaching when given the opportunity.
Bob knew no stranger, which served him well in his multiple sales-related jobs. Many in the community remember him as their favorite milkman in the 1960s, and his family and friends always joked that he could sell ice in Antarctica. The last 28 years leading up to retirement, he owned and operated RK’s Auto Supply. Although Mary Lou worried he would be bored upon retirement, he actually became busier than before, perfecting his golf game, joining a weekly bowling league, playing men’s slow-pitch softball with the church team, attending auctions, fishing, and working on projects at his shop. Bob held season tickets for over 50 years to the home games of his beloved WSU Shockers Men’s Basketball team, and was also an avid Newton Railers and Kansas City Chiefs fan.
An active member of First Mennonite Church in Newton, KS, Bob was part of numerous committees, volunteered with the Junior High Youth Group, chaired the FMC Caring Fund Committee for the last 10 years, faithfully ushered folks to their seats, always made sure the grass was freshly cut or snow was cleared, and routinely brewed fresh pots of coffee on Sunday mornings. He willingly and selflessly gave of his time and resources to several community programs, including Salvation Army and New Hope Homeless Shelter. He loved his family members with fierceness and generosity, and would drop everything to support his children and grandchildren, regardless of the situation. He was stubborn, loud, humorous, well-versed in sarcasm, and couldn’t get enough BBQ. Bob truly enjoyed life, not taking anything for granted and choosing to appreciate what he had been given.
Bob will be forever loved and missed by his beloved wife, Mary Lou, of Newton; daughters Roxane Pohl, Newton, Rochelle Schmidt, Emporia, Renee (Kevin) Hamm, Newton; son-in-law Von Krehbiel, Kingman; grandchildren Jared (Ciara) Pohl, Kyle Pohl, Kate (Chance) Colton, Kirsten Krehbiel, Kendra Krehbiel, Ashlynn (Trevor) Duerksen, Logan (Aarika) Hamm, and Madelynn Hamm; and great grandchildren Zane, Braden, Kenzlie, Ellie, Jax, Kinley, Braden, Caysen, Kannen, Kylen, and Blakely. Bob was welcomed into heaven by his parents, daughter Rhonda Lou (Schmidt) Krehbiel, great granddaughter Knoxley Lou Colton, brothers Duane Schmidt and Eldon Regier, and sister Lois Wiens.
Public visitation and guestbook signing will be held at Petersen’s Funeral Home (Newton) on Thursday and Friday, January 21 and 22, from 12-4 pm. A private graveside service for immediate family will be held on Saturday, January 23. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Mennonite Church (Newton, KS) Caring Fund or New Hope Homeless Shelter (Newton, KS). His family would like to thank the Newton Medical Center ICU medical staff for the excellent and loving care shown to Bob during his illness. The outpouring of love, support, and prayers from community members and friends has also been greatly appreciated.