Life Story / Obituary
Frederick "Fred" Schmidt was undeniably a loving husband, father, and grandfather. A nature lover, he enjoyed everything outdoors from hunting to camping or just sitting on the porch of a Lake City cabin soaking in a sunset and watching wildlife. A hard worker his whole life, Fred was proud of his contribution to the space program when he helped build the legs to the first Lunar Lander and the Rover used by NASA! Freddy had a heart of gold and there simply wasn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for his growing family. He leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for his close friends and family to cherish for years to come.
So much of our nation’s history was characterized by the year 1941. It was the year that marked the fateful attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. Glenn Miller's "Chattanooga Choo Choo" was the number one hit single and Franklin D Roosevelt was leading the United States into unprecedented times. Fred & Lola (Watters) Schmidt welcomed home their newborn son, Frederick born on October 12th in Comstock, Michigan. Fred's birth brought his parents great joy and promise during an era of great change. He was soon joined by his brother Gary and sister Mary.
Losing his mother, Lola at a young age, Fred’s father remarried, Pearl. He and his two siblings were especially close and had their fair share of causing mischief. Typical of most siblings, they’d test the boundaries from time to time or challenge one another to stunts or dares that would cost them trouble with their parents! Fred attended local schools and graduated from Comstock High School. He had a love of cars and purchased his first at the age of seventeen, which he hid from his parents. When his father later found out that the 1936 Ford Coupe was more of a hot-rod than a reliable vehicle he demanded that Fred sell it immediately! As a teenager, he hung out at the local skating rink, the Silver Star, where he met his first love Brenda Jean Dillon. Wanting to spend the rest of their lives together, he and Brenda married in June of 1961. Sharing thirty-eight years together, they raised two wonderful sons, Michael and Jeff. Told she would never have children, Fred and Brenda indeed felt blessed by two miracles the days their sons were born.
As a father, Fred was very active in his sons’ lives. He loved to share his love of the outdoors by taking them camping and hunting. As they matured, he also took them to the cabin he owned in the Baldwin area where they’d go four-wheeling and swimming in the lake in the summers and during the winter they’d retreat there for snowmobiling. Sadly, his wife Brenda passed away, and about a year later he met Diane who was a friend of Brenda’s cousin and they quickly fell in love and by 2002, they were married joining her two children Hollie and Michael, with his two sons. A good provider for his family, Fred worked several jobs over the years with National Water Lift, Thomas Tools Company, Portage Rapid Cut, and General Motors (where he retired in 2003) before sharing time at Schmidt Grinding, his son Jeff’s business. Known to eat all of Jeff’s Girl Scout cookies and donuts at work, Fred’s family often joked that he would spend half of his day eating and the other half visiting with friends!
Although quiet, Fred held many unique and interesting hobbies over the years. He had a real knack for taking pictures and spent some time dabbling in professional photography. He loved to look through magazines to get ideas and enjoyed capturing couples’ first kisses at their weddings, yearbook shots for senior students, and family portraits. Fred had an extensive collection of guns. Interest in their designs as well as reloading their bullets, kept him busy. He also enjoyed traveling with Brenda exploring South Carolina with Mike and his family. After Brenda died, he bought himself a Harley Davidson motorcycle and he and his son Mike took off for Daytona’s Bike Week. He and Diane also enjoyed numerous trips together; they treasured trips to beautiful and sunny Florida to visit friends.
As much as he loved his role as a father, being a grandpa meant everything to him. Over the years, he loved to tease and joke with Adren, Heather, Kody, Abbie, Sierra, and Jakob. Important to share his love of the outdoors, he was proud to pass the heritage down to his grand kids! They loved his sense of humor and his innocent way of connecting by kidding with them. Nothing brought him greater joy than having them over and his heart was over the moon when his great-granddaughter, Autumn arrived! Known for his loving heart, his ability to listen, and his genuine concern for the well-being of others, Fred will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved him.
Frederick Schmidt, age 75, of Vicksburg passed away on July 11, 2017 in the comfort of his home. Visit with his family and friends and view his life story film on Friday, July 14th from 4–7pm at the Life Story Funeral Home, Vicksburg; 409 S. Main St. (649-1697). A funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 15h at 11am at the same location. Left to cherish his memory are his wife Diane; his sons: Michael (Sue) Schmidt and Jeff Schmidt; step-daughter Hollie; 6 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; and brother Gary, as well as his special companion, his cat, Meka. He was preceded in death by his first wife Brenda; sister Mary; step-son Michael; and his parents. Please visit Fred’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo, and sign his memory book online.