Friday, April 1, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Masonic service will be held that evening, time TBA.
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
Paul Schmidt had it all – a family he treasured, a career for which he was passionate, the delight of good friends, and an appreciation for the world around him. He lived life to the fullest at every opportunity and always questioned and challenged those around him to maintain a creative and positive outlook. The love Paul held for his family was one of pride, and in them he found his greatest joy.
The year 1940 found the US finally recovering from the Great Depression as it geared up for its inevitable involvement in WWII. Hollywood gave us such amazing movies as “Gone with the Wind” and “Great Dictator” and the sounds of Count Basie and Benny Goodman were played across the newly static free FM airwaves. Amidst these changing times, in the Michigan community of Snover,, there was much to celebrate in the lives of George and Ida (Shaw) Schmidt when on July 20 they welcomed the birth of their son, Paul Roy into their hearts.
Paul’s parents were hard working dairy farmers and as the second oldest of six children, he joined his older brother, Richard, and younger siblings, Fred, Rita, Tony, and David in their bustling household. Although Paul was accident prone, he survived all of the mishaps of a good childhood and enjoyed numerous adventures along the way. Growing up working on the farm instilled in him a hard work ethic. He learned valuable lessons, like when something goes wrong you find a way to fix it. He also learned the attribute of responsibility which served him well throughout his life.
He first attended the local country school, then Sandusky High School and was always well liked, maintaining a good sense of humor as he was quite a jokester. Paul was an outgoing student while in high school having been a member of the drama club and industrial arts. He was also a member of Future Farmers of America, the math club, and played on the football team as well as being active in 4H.
After graduating in 1958, Paul volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army. He enjoyed his time in the service from 1958 to 1961 and loved having served his country as a member of the U.S. Signal Corp. His deployment to Laos as a civilian piqued his interest in learning more about the world. Following his honorable discharge, Paul returned to Michigan where he furthered his education at Lawrence Tech in the Detroit area.
While on leave from the Army, Paul was set up on a blind date. He found himself enamored with Beverly Shier, and the feeling was mutual. Bev found in Paul a compassionate and responsible man who had wonderful goals. The couple dated for two years, and on November 30, 1963 they were happily married in Sandusky, Michigan. They began their new life together and Paul continued his education taking night classes before pursuing his degree in packaging at Michigan State University, graduating in 1968.
After moving to Minnesota, Paul and Bev welcomed the birth of their first son, Michael in 1969, Mark followed in 1971, and Matthew completed their family in 1974. Family was very important to Paul. He was always there for those entrusted to his care, and was ever encouraging and supportive of his sons. He was very involved with the boys when they were active in scouts, and supported them in sports, too. When playing on teams, he taught them foremost the value of having fun, showing them the importance of being good losers as well as winners.
When the boys were young they enjoyed big family camping trips each year in their pop-up trailer. It made for wonderful times together making memories as a family. When Paul became a grandfather, he enjoyed the time spent with his beloved grandkids and made every visit with them an adventure. His nurturing spirit was clearly evident not only in the lives of his sons, but in the hearts of his grandchildren, too.
Paul supported his thriving family as an engineer in the packaging industry, making quite a name for himself internationally. He loved his job and was passionate about his work. Paul first began working for 3M, then General Mills located in St. Paul Minnesota, and then on to the Kellogg Company in Battle Creek, Michigan. For a time he worked for Frito Lay in Dallas, Texas followed by Kimberly Clark in Neenah, Wisconsin. When Paul eventually retired, he and Bev returned to Michigan, making their home in Portage where he did consulting work and taught part-time at MSU. As alumni of Michigan State, Paul received several honors and a true highlight was when he was inducted into the MSU Packaging Hall of Fame.
In addition to keeping himself busy as a professional, Paul had an active personal life filled with many hobbies and interests. He was an avid MSU sports fan, following both football and basketball, attending games when he could. Paul loved art and learned watercolor painting early in his marriage, picking it back up after retirement. He was taught macramé by his mother and enjoyed restringing his lawn chairs in green and white. Paul had a passion for kite flying and successfully flew a multi-stack kite on South Padre Island. He enjoyed history, philosophy, and his favorite author was John Grisham. Paul and Bev were ambitious travelers crossing the country numerous times with following the Lewis and Clark Trail being one of their biggest highlights. As an ardent cyclist, Paul loved seeing the world from the seat of his bike. He rode around Lake Winnebago many times, competed in the Wichita Falls Hotter Than Hell Hundred, and even rode parts of Historic Route 66 on a trip home from San Diego. He also loved the work he did in the Masonic Lodge and Scottish Rite. And, even though he lost sight in his one eye during a fishing trip in his youth, he loved to take his sons and grandchildren fishing with him, and he and his two sons almost won the yearly fishing tournament they participated in this past fall.
Next to his family, Paul’s faith was the most important aspect of his life. As an active member of many different congregations over the years, he found himself serving on a variety of church committees. He was always heavily involved with community service, with his work as a Stephen Minster being his greatest passion and commitment.
Paul Schmidt was a force of nature who loved life and lived it to the fullest. Never bashful, people always knew where they stood with him. He held fast to his beliefs, and the many lessons life brought his way. Firm on taking responsibility for one’s own actions, he advocated never becoming complacent, and encouraged all to ask questions on how things needed to be done. He led by example, always looking for new and innovative solutions to problems. Above all, Paul counted his greatest days as the day Bev became his wife, and the birth of his children and grandchildren.
Paul lived by one of his favorite sayings by Albert Schweitzer: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Paul felt exceedingly fortunate to have had a family and career to live by this very statement. For all he was and more, Paul will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
Paul Schmidt, age 75 of Portage, died on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at Bronson Hospital. He is survived by his wife, Beverly, his children: Michael (Stephanie), Mark (Shawn Morgan) and Matthew (Jess), four grandchildren: Kirsten, Keira, Cash and Madison, siblings: Richard (Mary), Fred (Roni), Rita (Richard), and David, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Paul was preceded in death by his parents, George and Ida, and brother, Tony.
Visit with Paul’s family and friends on Friday, April 1, 2016, 5–8 PM at Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler–Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900). Services will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016, 11:00 AM at the same location. A reception will be held immediately following in the Life Story Center. Burial with full military honors will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Paul’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory of him and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Portage, MI, Michigan State School of Packaging, or The American Cancer Society.