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Bill Schmidt - March 21, 2011


Wilber “Bill” Lynch Schmidt, the fourth son of Otto A. and Mabel F. (Lynch) Schmidt, was born June 18, 1935 in Haxtun. He died March 21, 2011 at his home in the Wages community, south of Paoli.

Bill grew up attending the Wages school and Holyoke High School. After high school, he engaged in farming with his dad.

Bill had a multitude of interests as a young man. They included playing guitar and saxophone, golfing, bowling, hunting, fishing, racing (ditch or road), flying (without a license) and sharing his warm and outgoing personality with family and friends.

Bill met the love of his life, Carol D. Miles, while she was teaching in Holyoke. They were married June 14, 1964. To this union, three children were born: Delana Ann, Danny Alyn and Danine Alise.

Besides farming, Bill had several additional careers. He learned to operate industrial land leveling equipment and worked cattle for the Ferguson Ranch and later the Struckmeyer Ranch. Bill farmed for many years for Salvador Farms, earning the nickname “Otis” for his boisterous and fun-loving spirit.

Many friends were made during several potato harvests as that Phillips County industry was first beginning. He developed a wide range of skills that served him and others well, such as woodworking, carpentry, welding and mechanical knowledge.

Many years were spent serving the Wages United Methodist Church as a board member, Sunday School teacher and pancake flipper for the annual pancake supper. Bill also was an original member of the Wages Fire Department.

In 1990, Bill and Carol opened Schmidt’s in Holyoke. He quickly became known as “the Pizza Man,” developing Schmidt’s famous “secret sauce” for their specialty pizzas. Also, at the store he repaired musical instruments. It was during the restoration and opening of the store that he discovered he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and thus began his 20-plus-year battle with this disease.

The arrival of grandchildren was a joyous occasion for Bill. He enjoyed watching them participate in their activities and was proud of each home run, basket, soccer goal, half-time performance, concert, solo or “A” on the report card. One of his joys was introducing the grandsons to the thrill of fishing on the infamous Schmidt Rendezvous.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Otto T. Schmidt and wife Thelma and Clifford L. Schmidt; father-in-law, Herschel D. Miles; and twin grandbabies, Mason and Lee Gorman.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Carol; daughter, Delana Gorman and husband Troy of Yuma and grandchildren Keaton and Chelsea; son, Danny Schmidt and wife Laura of Colstrip, Mont., grandchildren Meghan and Dalyn and great-granddaughter, Chloe; daughter, Danine Zwiebel of Haxtun and grandchildren Morgan, Katelyn, Abigayle and Brody of Wakefield, Kan.; brother, Chuck Schmidt and wife Minnie of Haxtun; sister-in-law, Dottie Schmidt of Wray; mother-in-law, Delpha Miles of Fort Collins; brother-in-law, Dwight Miles and wife Jean of Fort Collins; and many beloved nieces and nephews and special friends.

A celebration of life service was held March 28 at Yuma First Nazarene Church with Pastor Dave McQuisten officiating. Memorial contributions will be made toward organizations supporting youth activities and special needs.

Funeral arrangements were made by Spellman-Schmidt Funeral Home of Wray.