Our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, James Richard Schmidt, passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 11, 2023 in Carmel, IN. Jim was born to Mildred Reynolds Schmidt and Oliver Wayne Schmidt on June 28, 1933, in Davenport, Iowa, the second of four sons. Their home was filled with homemade pies, always ironed shirts and games of ball, played sometimes in the house, with brothers who were close in age and playmates for life.
As a young child, the family relocated to Wichita, Kansas where his parents owned a tire store. Jim graduated from Wichita East High School where he found his passion for golf at age 14, a game he enjoyed throughout his life. After high school, Jim attended the University of Kansas and was a member of ROTC and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Graduating with a degree in architectural engineering in 1955, Jim enlisted as a Lieutenant in the United States Airforce and served as a tanker pilot refilling planes in flight.
Jim was introduced by his cousin to Karolyn Kay Hanson in the summer of 1957 and their connection was instant. They were married the following summer on Jim’s birthday and set up their first home at the Forbes Air Force Base in Topeka, Kansas. Their love would last a lifetime, spanning 65 wonderful years. Kay was Jim’s sweetheart and NorthStar and Jim was Kay’s champion. The blessing of their partnership endowed their four children Jim, Michael, Andrew and Tracy with constancy, Christian faith, and the assurance they were deeply loved.
After the Air Force, Jim and Kay moved to Kansas City and Jim went to work for Stuart Hall Company in 1959, serving as Vice President of Operations and a Board Member for over 30 years. Jim’s inherent aptitude for numbers and attention to detail served him well in his role scheduling manufacturing to meet the increasing demand for school and office supplies. In the days before and after computers, Jim tracked product specifications and set schedules for all Stuart Hall production.
Jim was an involved father and wore many hats including Little League baseball coach, 8-11 Baseball organizer, softball coach, Cub Scout pack leader, and Pinewood Derby consultant extraordinaire, with more than a few wins to his son’s and grandson’s credit. Jim was an active member of Knox Presbyterian Church serving as an elder as well as a member of the Finance Committee.
Jim famously loved sports, especially his beloved Chiefs, Jayhawks and Royals, and as a hole-in-one golfer, any day spent on the golf course was surely a good one. The family all learned to play golf and tennis and there were never any “gimmes” in competition. You played hard, you played fair, and of course, you played to win.
In retirement, Jim began building doll houses, first for the granddaughters and then for special friends, church raffles and charity auctions. He built too many to count, and each one was unique and a treasured possession.
Jim knew his heavenly father and Jesus built a house for Jim too, one in heaven which is beyond compare. Jim is there now and enjoying the sweet reunion with his Savior and beloved family members who traveled the road before him. Preceding Jim in death were his parents, brother, David Schmidt, and daughter-in-law, Robin Schmidt. Jim leaves his beloved wife, Kay Hanson Schmidt, his children Jim (James II) and Ann Schmidt, Michael Schmidt, Andrew and Ashley Schmidt, and Tracy and Andy Miller to carry on his legacy. Jim will be deeply missed by his grandchildren, Jay Schmidt (James III), Amy Dean, Zachary Schmidt, Aubrey Magaña, Hans Schmidt, Gunnar Schmidt, Charlie Schmidt, Anna Schmidt, Nathan Schmidt, David Schmidt, Elizabeth Miller, Drew Miller, Grace Miller and great-grandchildren, Riley, Tommy, Hank, Sam, and James (IV). Jim is survived by his brothers, Bob Schmidt and Ralph Schmidt.
A private memorial service will occur August 5th in Carmel, Indiana. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the general fund of Knox Presbyterian Church of Overland Park, KS.