Richard Joseph Schmidt, age 85, died peacefully April 4th, 2022 at Good Samaritan Retirement Village in Fort Collins, Colorado following years of declining health. Richard, commonly known by family and friends as “Dick”, “Rich”, or “RJ” was born September 4th, 1936 near Preston, Minnesota. He was the first-born son of Gerald and Carol Schmidt. His family lived near the family farm that was first his Great Grandfather’s. He and his two brothers were born of third generation German immigrant farmers. Dick began his early education at Dutch Hollow country school and later schooled in Preston. He was very social and loved telling stories. He enjoyed playing trombone in band, football and most of all, fishing or hunting activities. He graduated Preston High School in 1954 and soon after proudly served his country in the Marine Corps. He had many fond memories from his time of service and was honorably discharged.
On May 2nd, 1959, he married Wanda Lou Gatzke at St Paul’s Lutheran Church. Their early years in and near Preston blessed them with a daughter and a son. Dick and Wanda celebrated 62 years of marriage in 2021.
He began farming an adjoining Schmidt farm in 1960 and supplemented his income by other means as necessary. In 1967 he decided to try other employment, so they sold the farm and moved to town. Growing things and raising animals was always part of him, he could leave farming but it never left him! He always had a garden and often had farm animals, especially chickens, as space allowed.
His construction interests took him from Minnesota to Silverthorne, Colorado in 1973; Mena, Arkansas in 1975; and finally, to Eagle, Colorado in 1977. His construction work suited his enjoyment of working outdoors. As a General Contractor he built many homes and office buildings in the Eagle and Vail Valley in Colorado from the early 1980’s until 1999.
Following Wanda’s retirement, the couple moved to Missouri, where they enjoyed country life with close friends living nearby. He continued building homes and restored the home they purchased. Their last move to the Fort Collins, Colorado area was to be near their children and grandchildren.
As a Past Master in the Masonic Lodge, Dick was involved in his community. He donated time and materials to renovate the Gypsum Lutheran Church he and Wanda attended. He enjoyed hiring young men on his crews and training them to appreciate hard labor and a job well done, while still having fun. His crew also included family members at times, mostly his son and even one grandson! He was a generous spirit, could make people laugh, loved a good country sing along, never had a bad day hunting or fishing, and it was always a good time when he had a get-together.
He is survived by his daughter, Shelly (Wayne) Cash of Erie, CO.; a son, Karl (Lori) Schmidt of Fort Collins, CO; five grandchildren, Wesley (Felicia) Cash, Lyndsay (Andrew) Warner, Zachary Yust, Benjamin Yust, and Levi Schmidt; seven great grandchildren, Laurel Warner, Mona Cash, Mia Cash, Jenette Cash, Beringer Cash, Matthias Cash and Verity Cash; one brother and sister-in-law, Christopher (Marlene) Schmidt; and sisters in law, Mary Gatzke and Jeanette Schmidt.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Wanda Schmidt; brother, David Schmidt; brothers in law, Lester (Opal) Gatzke, Vernon (Doris) Gatzke, Milo Gatzke, Dale Gatzke; and sister-in law; Norma Lyngen.
Family & friends of Richard and Wanda are invited to a reception in Preston, Minnesota on June 11, 2022, from 2-3pm at the Lutheran Church. Joint graveside memorial services & burial will follow at the Carimona (Minnesota) Cemetery.
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