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.