Willis “Willie” L. Schmidt

Sunday, June 19, 2022
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Willis “Willie” L. Schmidt, age 89 of Glendive, passed away on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at his home in Glendive. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, July 16, 2022 starting at 11 a.m., at Zion Lutheran Church in Glendive with Pastor Avis Anderson officiating. Interment with military honors will follow in the Dawson Memorial Cemetery in Glendive. Silha Funeral Home of Glendive has been entrusted with the arrangements.

Willis “Willie” Schmidt was born February 12, 1933, in Swanville, Minn. The third son of Leonard and Anna (Ehrenberg-Schmidt). Willie was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church.

Willie grew up on the family dairy farm, along with his three brothers. The boys worked hard, but also had plenty of mischievous moments, and have many stories they loved to share. Willie found his love of fishing from his dad, and any chance they could talk their dad into fishing was a good day. When they returned from fishing, his mom was always ready to clean and cook up their catch.

Willie attended Swanville High School where he excelled in football, basketball and track. He graduated in 1952 and enlisted in the army. He was stationed in Hastings, Neb., where he met the love of his life, Joan Dillard. They met at a roller-skating rink where Joan fell, and Willie ran over her skirt. They were married March 25, 1953 and celebrated 65 wonderful years until Joan’s death in 2018.

The army moved them and their first child Pamela to Tacoma, WA, where Willie had favor with the army and was given the responsibility of driving the colonel’s jeep. He drove the old man’s jeep as an extra in the movie “To Hell and Back”. Where he met Audie Murphy and became a lifelong admiring fan. Willie and Joan’s next move would be to Glendive. This would be their hometown and where they welcomed three more children Dan, Renee, and Belinda. Willie worked for Wagner’s Heating and Air Conditioning for over 30 years installing countless furnaces and air conditioners in schools, businesses, and homes. In the 1970’s, with the encouragement of his wife, they became the team of “Willie’s Heating & Air Conditioning.” Joan served as the office manager. Willie’s special skill of fabricating sheet metal earned him the title of “Tin Man” on his license plate. Willie finally retired in his 80’s, but he would continue to answer phone calls with questions about furnaces, air conditioners, and boilers.

He will forever be remembered for his natural sense of humor and storytelling ability. He enjoyed spreading joy to his family, friends, doctors, nurses, and even strangers. Willie and Joan were the perfect compliment of one another. Dad’s humor, and Mom’s wit, and their generous spirit drew people toward them.

We are thankful for the legacy and dedication our parents had teaching us about the love of Jesus. Faithfully bringing us to Church and Sunday School.

We rejoice in knowing that they are together in heaven. They will forever be missed, especially by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Preceded in death by his wife Joan Schmidt, parents Leonard and Anna Schmidt, brother Elmer (Marilyn) Schmidt, sister-in-law Barbara Stephenson, and niece Stephanie Phillippe.

Willie is survived by his children Pamela (Jim) Sundsted of Westby, Mont.; Dan (Becky) Schmidt of Glendive; Renee Day of Mankato, Minn.; and Belinda (Tom) Pavek of Sidney. Grandchildren Michelle (Jakob) Cook, Melissa (James) Hobbs, Maria Sundsted, Jeffrey (Melissa) Schmidt, David (Shauna) Schmidt, Tiffany (Steven) Rhiger, Trevor Graham, Erin (Ryan) Baumgartner; and his great-grandchildren Hudson, Nolan, Ganon and Colton Cook; Ayden, Ashdyn, Austen, Aleya, and Aevrett Hobbs; Mikala, Dillon, and Bridger Schmidt; Kaitlyn and Kaleb Rhiger; Kyle (Sophia), Madison, Nevaeh, Eli and Gabrielle Graham; and Tristyn Baumgartner.

Brother Elmer’s children, Dennis (Brenda) Schmidt, Dorcas (Roger) Dowell, Shelly Lambrecht, Kenny, Ronnie, and Donnie Schmidt; brother Alvin (Kathy) Schmidt and his children, Cheryl (Greg) Schaffer, Daryl (Michele) Schmidt, Darwin (Carla) Schmidt, D’wayne (Nita) Schmidt; brother Larry (Donna) Schmidt and children, Linda (Allen) Hoelscher, Doug (Mary) Schmidt; sister-in-law Sherra Dawn Owens; and brother-in-law Kenny Stephenson, and their families.

Extended family in love Avis, Greg and Bernie Anderson. Along with many other loved ones.