Elmer Arthur Schmidt, age 80, of Watertown, passed away Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, at St. Mary’s Care Center in Winsted.
A memorial service will take place Thursday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Watertown Evangelical Free Church, 509 Jefferson Ave. SW. There will be a gathering of family and friends from 4 to 7 p.m. at the church, prior to the service. Private family inurnment will take place Friday, Aug. 12 at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.
Arrangements are with the Iten’s Watertown Funeral Home.
Elmer was born April 4, 1936, in Hollywood Township, the son of Ed and Clara (Beigler) Schmidt. He was baptized at St. John’s Church in Hollywood.
Elmer grew up on a farm with six siblings: Ervin, Harvey, Maynard, Arne, Elvera, and Diane. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1954. While in high school, he was active in plays/drama and athletics, eventually being selected to Watertown-Mayer High School’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Following a three year courtship, Elmer married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Berwald Sept. 27, 1955. In 2015 they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
Elmer served in the United States Armed forces from 1955 to 1957. Shortly after his marriage, Elmer was transferred to Korea and was stationed at the DMZ separating North and South Korea. Eventually, he tried out for, and was selected to one of the elite military baseball teams. He spent the balance of his service years playing exhibition baseball to entertain the US troops across South Korea.
Upon his return from service, Elmer and Dorothy started a family. They had two sons, Michael and Tom. Michael went on to work in aerospace medicine, while Tom worked alongside his dad in the golf business.
While raising their family, Elmer was active in town team baseball for Watertown, which he played and coached for approximately 20 years. He was instrumental in bringing town team baseball back to Watertown after the team disbanded in the 1960s.
The consummate fan of sports at the high school, college, and professional level, especially baseball, football and basketball, he was known to travel almost any distance to watch his sons play sports, and then he turned his passionate eye for sports to supporting his five grandsons.
Elmer served as president of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, president of the men’s club, and treasurer for St. Paul’s. He served his community for years as a member of the Watertown Lions Club, and was active in the Watertown Chamber of Commerce.
Over his lifetime, Elmer held many different occupations, including milkman, raising rabbits, greenhouse owner/manager, service manager, and as a business owner in Watertown for many years. While a manager at Bachman’s, he developed a keen eye for landscape design, which led him to both help design and build two golf courses that would become his pride and joy.
Elmer had a stroke approximately five years ago, which took away much of his physical, and eventually his cognitive abilities. His wife, Dorothy was his constant caregiver and advocate in all his remaining years.
Prior to Elmer’s stroke, one of Elmer and Dorothy’s favorite pastimes was dancing. Whether in their living room at home, or out with good friends, they spent countless nights dancing.
Elmer was also an avid golfer. He and Dorothy went on many golfing outings with area businessmen and close friends. They also loved traveling together.
One of Elmer’s greatest attributes, aside from his calming presence, was his sense of humor. He had a quick wit, loved to laugh, and was always cracking jokes with family and friends. Even though he suffered much during his final years, he never lost his love for cracking people up with his dry sense of humor.
To quote one of Elmer’s close friends, “Elmer was just plain one of the kindest and most thoughtful men God has put on this earth.” He was a man of character, a man who truly cared about his fellow man, and a man who rarely had anything negative to say about anyone.
Family was everything to Elmer. His grandchildren were his greatest source of joy.
Elmer was preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Clara Schmidt; brothers Ervin, Maynard, and Arne; sister Elvira Lockwood; brother-in-law Jerry Spagenske; father- and mother-in-law Herman and Lydia Berwald; brothers-in- law Marvin Berwald, Donald Berwald and Jim Borell; and nephew Ryan Schmidt.
He is survived by his loving wife, Dorothy; children Michael Schmidt, and Tom and Linda Schmidt; grandchildren Caleb Schmidt (Katie Sarradet), Julian Schmidt (Kendall Carroll), Robbie and Kelsey Schmidt, Jonathan and Michelle Schmidt, and Tyler and Chanel Schmidt; and great-grandchildren Naarah, Maia, Lydia, and Naomi Schmidt.
Elmer is further survived by his brother and sister-in-law Harvey and Jo Schmidt; sister Diane Spagenske; brother-in- law Gordon Lockwood; sisters-in-law Vernetta Schmidt, Caroline Schmidt, and Beverly Schmidt; brothers and sisters-in-law Verdella Borrell, Bonita Berwald, and Dennis and Sandy Wabbe; and many nieces and nephews.