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Roland Albert Schmidt born December 7, 1920 in Great Bend, Kansas, to Samuel J and Katharine (Schroeder) Schmidt, died April 13, 2019 at Kidron-Bethel Village, Newton, Kansas. He was the tenth living child of thirteen. Roland’s father died when Roland was four years old. Roland attended an elementary, one-room country school for seven years; Pawnee Rock High school for four years; Oklahoma Bible Academy for one year; and Bethel College for four years, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in biology. He intended to become a medical technologist but he was needed to run the family farm since his older brothers had been drafted into military service. During his freshman year at Bethel, he met Ethel Richert. He and Ethel were married the day after college graduation and immediately moved to the farm.
Roland and Ethel lived on the farm for forty-seven years, and reared their five children there. While on the farm, they became very involved in the Bergthal Mennonite Church and the larger community. Roland served as a Deacon in the church, a school Board member, a 4-H Fair Board member and leader, and in many other roles. He put his education to work as a leader in innovative farming and conservation, which won him awards.
Roland and Ethel moved to Kidron-Bethel Village in North Newton in 1989. They became members of Bethel College Mennonite Church. Roland served on the Kidron-Bethel Board, volunteered at Bethel College, Kauffman Museum, and the Sand Creek Trail. Golfing was an activity Roland greatly enjoyed with his friends for many years.
Family was very important to Roland. He enjoyed attending sports activities and other events at Bethel, especially those involving his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He developed a special relationship with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, forming a precious bond that will impact them for the rest of their lives. Despite his 98-year-old weary body, he was always delighted to attend a family gathering or dine-out with a family member.
Roland was preceded in death by his wife Ethel in 2009, his parents, six sisters, and six brothers. He is survived by his sons David (Rita), Wichita; Steve (Wanda), Newton; Don (Debbie), Newton, daughters Meribeth (Bruce) Buhr, Wichita; Susan (Joel) Grasse, Rogers, Arkansas, 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Bethel College Mennonite Church, Saturday, April 27, at 11:00 am. Visitation with family present will be Friday, April 26, 6:30-8:00 pm at Menno Hall, Kidron-Bethel Village. Burial will be Sunday, April 28, at 4:00 pm at Bergthal Mennonite Church Cemetery near Pawnee Rock. Memorials may be sent to Bethel College. Petersenfamilyfuneralhome.com.
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