The celebration of his life in Cottonwood was just that! A church filled with family, friends, and people who just loved him... like me. The church decorations for Christmas added to the festive atmosphere - trees decorated with lights, garlands hung about the Stations of the Cross, and of course, the beautiful Nativity set. I want to die at Christmas time and have Christmas carols sung at my funeral. Sally Rehder sand O Holy Night and Silent Night - absolutely beautiful. A blanket of red roses covered the oak casket. Louis was a handsome man and wrote his own obituary.
I, Louis Schmidt, am telling you my life story. I was born in Greencreek Nov. 10, 1916, on a rather cold day in our family home, delivered by my grandmother Mrs. Joe Schmidt, a midwife.
I was the third child of Henry and Elizabeth Schmidt. The first child, Josephine, passed away at 3 months of age; next came Urban, then myself, Sophia, Richard, Virgil, Harry, Adele, Betty Ann and Edward. I remember playing in the wood pile, hitching up cats on a toy wagon and dreaming of miniature ponies in the hay loft. The children went to school in buggies, walked or rode horses. Eighth grade was all the schooling we had. I graduated in the morning and was driving six horses on the harrow in the afternoon. I loved riding down the canyon to fix fences. Horses and cattle have always been part of my life.
There was no electricity in the late '20s and most of the '30s; around 1938 farmers in the area banded together to build their own power lines and we finally had the luxury of lights! One evening about that time I went to one of the local dances and danced with the most beautiful girl on the prairie, who I made my wife on Nov. 10, 1940. I still carry her picture in my wallet. We bought a farm and milked six head of cattle, hand separating the milk, selling the cream in 5-gallon cans. In 1941 we got our house wired for electricity at a total cost of $25 and built a milking parlor and began selling Grade A milk for more than 20 years until we got all of our girls through college. We continued farming until the mid-'90s. In 1950 I was appointed road commissioner for the Cottonwood Highway District and served in that capacity for 25 years. In 1970 I was elected trustee for Saint Mary's Parish when the new church was built. It was a pretty lively time for awhile, but it eventually turned out to everyone's satisfaction.
I felt honored to be chosen as the grand marshal for the 2001-2002 Grangeville Border Days and was delighted to be on a horse again for the parade. Mary and I had been married for 67 years when she passed away in 2007. Things haven't been the same without her; she was my strength and she gave me five beautiful daughters. I have been blessed with good health, a strong family and wonderful friends through the course of my life.
I am survived by my daughters and their husbands: Virginia (Bill) Crea, Jackie (Roy) Lacey, Patricia (Dave) Fealko, Janice (Lynn) Gardner and Joyce (Mark) Woods. We lost our son Timothy at birth. His family also includes 15 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. I was the last living member of the Henry Schmidt family, I was preceded in death by my sister Josephine, who was the first to join the Lord, then my brother, the Rev. Father Urban, my siste,r Sophia, my brother, Richard (married Gertrude Funke), my brother, Virgil (married Dorothy Wemhoff), my brother, Harry (married Clarice Feucht), my sister, Adele Logan (married Kenneth), my sister, Betty Ann Wessels (married Wilfred), and lastly, my brother, Edward (married Carole Lightfield, now Toennis).
In closing, I'd like to share some final thoughts, "Keep your faith in God, pray to the blessed virgin and tell your children you love them."
Father Andy Schumacher gave the homily and talked about Louis love of music and the three songs he picked out to sing on a CD of Cottonwood voices. He chose, "God Bless America, "Somewhere my Love, and "How Great Thou Art." Father Andy wove the music into the homily and how Louis loved his country, his family, and his God. My sisters went to school with the Schmidt girls, a gracious, classy bunch! Marilyn remembers Louis always being kind and friendly to the giggly teenagers who spent time in the Schmidt home. I remember going to daily mass with my mom and watching her put some cinnamon rolls or soup in Louis car when Mary was ill and did not cook any longer. Louis never forgot those acts of kindness and I loved him for the way he appreciated my mother's goodness.
As we were gathering at the cemetery Patsy told me Louis put this picture on his refrigerator. "There you were among all the grandchildren...he really loved you."
A life well lived, a life filled with love, may you now enjoy the music in heaven!