Hillsboro – Hilda Schmidt, 96, died March 12, 2018 at Hillsboro Community Hospital. She was born April 29, 1921 to Bernhard and Helena (Schmidt) Schmidt rural Walton, Kansas. She married Peter Schmidt Jr. June 11, 1946 at Tabor Mennonite Church rural Newton. Survivors include: sons, Darrel (Carmen) Schmidt of Newton, Dwight Schmidt of Hillsboro; daughters, Jolene (Lynell) Klassen of Omaha, Nebraska, LaVonne Marks of Lawrence, Julia (Eldon) Kaiser of Lehigh; 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Predeceased by: husband, Peter Schmidt Jr in 2008; daughter, Janet Funk in 2006; sisters, Irene Schmidt and Norma Nickel. Celebration of Life Service 3:00 p.m. Friday, March 16, 2018 at First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro. Interment 2:00 p.m. Friday at Lehigh Mennonite Cemetery. Family will receive guests from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursday at Jost Funeral Home in Hillsboro. Memorials to the Church or Mennonite Central Committee in care of Jost Funeral Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro, KS 67063. Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com
Life Sketch taken from the Funeral Bulletin
Today we gather here together to celebrate the life of Hilda Elvira Schmidt, who was our dear mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wonderful encourager and friend to many. Hilda was born on April 29, 1921 at home on the farm near Walton, Kansas to Bernard W and Helena Schmidt. She had two sisters; Irene, five years older and Norma, two. Mom grew up in the Greenfield community three miles from Goessel, Kansas. Their family attended the Tabor Mennonite Church located a couple miles from their farm. She was baptized on June 5, 1938. The grade school Mom attended was just a quarter mile down the road and she remembered hearing her mother through the school windows whistling and singing while working outside. Her father went to the school every morning in the winter to start the fire that kept the one-room schoolhouse warm. Mom said that she got so smart by listening to the teacher teach the upper grades while she was still in the lower grades. She often spoke of her parents and the Godly example they had been to her and the laughter and love that was evident in their home.
Mom attended Goessel High School, catching a ride to school with the neighbor boys in the rumble seat in their Model A Ford. She remembered being the only girl in an agricultural class with 24 boys. When Mom was 14 she met a handsome boy at school who was 15, by the name of Peter Schmidt Jr. They dated throughout high school and he drove 12 miles every Sunday to see her. Mom was always a very hard worker. She helped her father on the farm harvesting, driving truck, putting up hay, milking cows and feeding chickens. After high school she worked at Holmes Diner in Newton for a year (soup was 10 cents a bowl). She hired out to help 12 different families to do housework and baking when they had new babies. She also worked at the CO camp in Weeping Water, Nebraska where Pete was working on a dairy farm. When he was discharged in 1946 they were married on June 11 at the Tabor Mennonite Church.
Mom and Dad purchased a house in Lehigh for $4,500 and lived there for 60 years. They had six children from 1948 to 1960 – Jolene, Darrel, Janet, Dwight, LaVonne and Julia. Many happy memories were made in the house on 201 Prospect Ave. Precious are the memories of the eight of us sitting around the small kitchen table in a small kitchen eating the delicious meals that mom would prepare. Later, when we were grown and visiting, she would always send something home with us – the zwieback were the favorite. Mom always took care of a large garden and canned vegetables and fruit for year-round use. She was also very proud of her beautiful tulip and iris garden in the front yard. She baked bread, zwieback, cinnamon rolls and pies, making the front page of the Newton Kansan for saving the labels from the 5080 pounds of W- R Flour she had used. Saturday morning was baking day and mom would always give us children our own little piece of bread dough to fashion our own creations. The smell of bread baking in the kitchen was so wonderful and we can all probably hear the radio playing in the background. She cut her husband’s and children’s hair and also cut hair and gave perms to ladies in Lehigh for 25 cents. We always said “Mom, you should charge more,” but she wanted to do a service to others. She had a little cup on the shelf that she would always put a tenth of whatever she earned to give to the Lord.
She helped Dad clean the school every day after Julia was born, and still had a warm dinner on the table every evening. We loved running around the school halls cleaning blackboards and sweeping floors. It was like a second home to us as our whole family was there. She and Dad also worked as the janitors at the church for 27 years. She worked for MCC fixing clothes and cutting quilt blocks. She was one of the earliest recyclers – buying polyester pants at the EtCetera shop and re-sizing them for her own clothing. She helped Daddy read 99 Lehigh water meters for 37 years, holding the flashlight while Dad would read the meter. We kids would sometimes go along on those nighttime adventures. She cleaned houses in McPherson for years, sometimes driving through snowstorms, and her clients, of course, became lifetime friends. Mom never knew a stranger. She could walk up to anyone and start talking as if she had known them for years.
Mom always saved her best for her family and home. She sewed clothes for six kids – frilly dresses for the girls and shirts and shorts for the boys, cutting her own patterns from newspaper. She made homemade lye soap to use for washing in her wringer washer. When we were sick, Mom would be the best nurse – taking special care of us. We loved the purple medicine she kept on hand. She taught herself to play the piano as a child and played for church, and sang in the choir – but mostly we loved to hear her play piano at home and sing hymns in the evening. She also made sure we could all sing on tune. She enjoyed having people over for dinner and always had us set out the “good” dishes. She would get up on Sunday mornings at 4:00 a.m. to get the roast on or make porcupine meatballs, cook potatoes, and bake a pie for dinner. This was after giving six kids baths on Saturday night, getting our shoes polished, clothes ready for Sunday, finishing our Sunday School lessons and saying prayers with us. We were always in church on Sunday morning looking our best. She also gathered her children around her most evenings to read Bible stories and pray. She fed the neighbor kids many meals and mended their clothes after their young mother died. She helped Daddy do chores for farmers in the community who went on vacation. She loved sitting on the front porch swing in the evenings with Daddy listening to the whippoorwill and cicada sounds. Mom was a delightful storyteller with a memory of things she did when she was four years old. She delighted in her grandchildren, babysat for some, always remembered their birthdays and sent them so many encouraging letters. She must have sent hundreds of letters and notes to people usually using up all of the space on the paper, sometimes drawing a little picture in the corner or on the envelope.
Mom was a woman who loved the Lord with her whole heart. Until she became ill, she always lifted her hands to heaven each morning before she got up and named all of her children and grandchildren, asking the Lord to bless them and keep them safe that day. Now she will pray for us from heaven. Mother would always tell us “I did my very best for the Lord; I worked hard in my life but I enjoyed every minute of it.” She was never afraid to share her deep faith; she wanted people to know what was really important to her. When we were leaving from a visit with her we could barely get out the door because she couldn’t stop telling us how much she loved us, how she prayed for us, how we were so special and her parting words were always “The Lord Bless You!” And, of course, she handed us a bag of zwieback and waved until we were out of sight!! What a treasure we have to remember her by. We will really miss her and all of her personal encouragement, but we will always have these and many more memories to cherish.
In 2006 it became too hard for Mom and Dad to keep up their house so they moved to Kidron Bethel Assisted Living in Newton. After Daddy passed away Mom moved to Parkside Assisted Living in Hillsboro and in 2012 into their nursing home. She often went into resident’s room to sing hymns to encourage them. Though we will miss her sweet voice, her lovely smile, and her encouraging words, we are rejoicing that she is now whole and resting in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. She always said that the best thing that ever happened to her was accepting Jesus as her personal Savior. That is why she was such a calm, kind, caring, loving, sweet and generous mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend. We know she heard these words from Jesus; “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” when the angels carried her to heaven. We will miss your hugs and kisses Mom. Until we see you again…thank you for everything!
Hilda was preceded in death by her parents and sisters, her dear husband, Pete, and her sweet daughter, Janet. She is survived by five children, 11 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and many friends