Saturday, July 8, 2017
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Second Congregational Church
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Eleanor Schmidt was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She lived her life caring for others and had a strong sense of commitment to her family. She was indeed the backbone of her family in many aspects, from her work at home, outside the home, and in her faith community. Eleanor’s strong work ethic and her sense of love and support for all who knew and loved her will be deeply missed.
The Roaring Twenties was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. The automotive industry was booming as was jazz music and the nation was seeing significant industrial growth which brought about remarkable changes during this era. With the media focused on sports heroes and movie figures, Thomas and Margaret (Smith) Long welcomed their own star, a newborn baby girl, Eleanor on September 4, 1924, in Meaford, Ontario. Born to a hard-working set of parents; her father’s work moved the family to the Grand Rapids area by the time she was a toddler.
Growing up an only child on the west side of the city on Quarry Street, Eleanor lived a typical childhood. She attended local schools including Harrison Park and attended Creston High School after the family moved to Oakwood Avenue. It was here that Eleanor was first introduced to her childhood sweetheart, Virgil. He lived across their back fence. Riding the bus to and from school together, they grew fond of one another which sparked an “over the fence” romance. Graduating with the Class of 1942, Eleanor sought a degree to work the Comptometer by attending business school. A strong student, her ambition landed her a position with the local gas company where she worked in the office before falling in love with teaching in the evenings. She had a passion for teaching the Comptometer and found great success in her years as an instructor.
When she went off to business school, Virgil enlisted in military service. After the war was over and he had safely returned home, their romance ensued. Wanting to spend the rest of their lives together, they joined in marriage at the Park Congregational Church in 1948. During their early married years, Virgil worked a government job. By the arrival of their first son, Robert they relocated to the north end of town. It was then that they transferred to the Second Congregational Church to raise their children in their faith. When Eleanor’s role as a mother grew to include two more children, she enjoyed her years as a homemaker immensely. She remained active in her children's various school activities and never turned down an opportunity to volunteer during their formative years. She even served as the PTA president! There simply wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her children!
Returning to work after the children were grown helped to fill the void of motherhood. She worked for the West Michigan State Employees Credit Union before retiring by 1986. She and Virgil then relished in their retirement years together by traveling around the United States. One of their most memorable trips was to California. They ventured out via the northern route and returned the southern route! Never one for Michigan winters, they also spent part of the season in Arizona. During those years, she dabbled in ceramics and took up knitting. Eleanor was known to knit sweaters for Virgil and her family as well as make baby clothes for each of the grandchildren. Social and easy going, they joined the N.A.R.F.E. National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association where they met many special friends over the years. One endearing couple, Gerry and Kathleen Schmidt became their closest friends. Eleanor leaned on their friendship after Virgil passed away in 1994.
Not long after Kathleen also passed away, she and Gerry continued their friendship until one day he invited her to a special N.A.R.F.E. event and a romance was born. Special companions and friends over the years, it was no surprise when they joined in marriage in 1999 and Eleanor moved to his home on the west side. The two of them shared many wonderful years together. Traveling continued to be Eleanor’s favorite pastime. She and Gerry frequented Florida during the cold winters and enjoyed many trips to her timeshare at Northern Michigan’s Boyne Mountain area in warmer months. Everyone that knew Eleanor was enamored by her loving ways. She lived a lifetime of modeling a servant’s heart and her kind and generous ways will be fondly remembered for years to come.
Eleanor K. SCHMIDT (Keim), of Grand Rapids, MI, age 92, of Grand Rapids, passed away July 3, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband Virgil Keim and step grandson Keith Maciejewski. Eleanor is survived by her husband, Gerald Schmidt, her children, Robert Keim, David (Pamela) Keim, William (Patti) Keim; step-children, Thomas (Suzanne) Schmidt, Marilyn Schmidt, David (Nancy) Schmidt, Miles (Cecelia) Schmidt, Mark (Gwen) Schmidt; grandchildren, Daniel (Katie) Keim, Emily (Scott) Colby, Cathie (Mike) Geldorf, Rob (Gianna) Keim; step-grandchildren, Paul (Melissa) Schmidt, Ryan (Jen) Schmidt, Kevin Maciejewski, Kurt (Allison) Maciejewski, Karen Maciejewski, Douglas (Kerrie) Schmidt, Mark (Shelley) Schmidt, Justin (Heather) Schmidt, Ben (Becky) Schmidt, Monica (Greg) Mancewicz, Brigid Schmidt, Kolleen (Nick) Chulski, Luke Schmidt, Erik Schmidt, Kolbe Schmidt, Dominic Schmidt, Greg Schmidt, Brad (Merideth) Schmidt; a great-grandson; and many step great grandchildren. Eleanor was retired from West Michigan State Employees Credit Union and served for many years as the secretary for N.A.R.F.E. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 8, 2017, at 11 AM, at Second Congregational Church, 525 Cheshire NW. Friends may visit with the family Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE and from 10-11 AM at the church. Interment will be in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to Second Congregational Church Food Pantry. Please visit Eleanor's personal web page to learn more of her life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.lifestorynet.com.