Earl P. Schmidt, age 79, of Cologne, died Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008, at the Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia.
He was born Nov. 27, 1929, in Benton Township, the son of Philipp and Emma (Seltz) Schmidt. Earl was baptized Dece. 15, 1929, by Pastor Herman Amend, and confirmed by the same March 29, 1942.
A lifelong member of the Zion Lutheran Church, Benton Twp., Cologne, Earl served 24 years as head usher, congregation chairman, trustee, and elder. He also volunteered his time and services at the church and school taking care of the water quality and recycling duties. Last year, Earl was chairman of the committee to organize Zion’s sesquicentennial celebration services.
Earl was married to his high school sweetheart, Marville Herrmann, June 16, 1956, at the Church of Peace in Norwood by Pastor Menger.
They lived and farmed on the Schmidt family farm in Benton Township, which they purchased from Earl’s father. Earl was very proud to have lived his entire life on that homestead.
In 1968, Earl changed careers and began working as a salesman for Rainy Water Conditioning Company. He retired in 1996, to enjoy his family, playing cards, and traveling. He and Marville visited eight countries and traveled throughout the United States.
Earl was a musician and played the trombone. He played his first old time dance job with the Ivan Kahle Band in 1946, while still in high school.
From 1951 through 1954, Earl served his country as a Marine and was stationed in San Diego. He played trombone in the Marine band and marched in two Rose Bowl parades.
In 1960, Earl formed his own old time band, the Earl Schmidt Orchestra, featuring Jerry Schuft on concertina. Through his band travels and experiences of over 25 years and across 10 states, Earl was very pleased to meet so many wonderful people.
Earl was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame in New Ulm, MN in 2004. The previous year, Earl and Marville were recognized as its volunteers of the year. They also emceed concertina jamborees in various area towns since 1973.
Earl also enjoyed word games and crossword puzzles, and was a contestant on two game shows, “Scrabble” and “Wheel of Fortune.”
He is survived by his loving family: wife Marville; son and daughter-in-law John and Patty Schmidt of St. Paul; daughter and son-in-law Nancy and Alan Buckentine of Cologne; and grandchildren Adam Buckentine and special friend Corie Korin, and Heidi Buckentine and special friend Phil Piepe.
Earl is further survived by a brother, Erwin Schmidt of Norwood Young America; sisters and brothers-in-law Eunice and Harold Bruesehoff of Cologne, and Clarence Marks of Minneapolis; sisters-in-law Esther Poppitz of Norwood Young America, and Irene Herrmann of Hamburg; nieces; nephews; and other relatives and friends.
The funeral service was Sunday, Dec. 14, at 1:30 p.m. at the Zion Lutheran Church, Benton Twp., Cologne with the Rev. Eric Zacharias officiating. Interment was at Zion Lutheran Cemetery.
Visitation was Saturday, Dec. 13 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia, and continued Sunday for one hour prior to the service at the church.
Casket bearers were Virgil Hedtke, Marvin “Cactus” Stoehr, Ron Hahn, Jerome Kadlec, David Kroells, and Hillard Grack.
Arrangements were with the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia. Online condolences are available at www.johnsonfh.com.