Kenneth Jerome Schmidt was born March 27th, 1940, in Morton County, North Dakota, and passed away in Bellevue, Washington on June 21st, 2023. The youngest of 15, he was preceded in death by his parents Thomas and Marianna, and siblings John [who passed away in 1919, shortly after birth], Philip, Tony, Ida, Julia, Agnes, Bertha, Ted, Ralph, Eva, Arnold, and Bob. Ken is survived by his wife Mary, brothers Adam [Elva] and Tom [Pat], former wife Carol, his three kids, Joe [Jane], Beth [Cameron], and Paul [Holly], Mary's kids Dana, Tyrie, Blaiz [Amy], and Sommer [Joe], and a large extended family. He was affectionately known in his later years as Pop, or Pops.
Ken's family moved out west to Seattle from North Dakota in 1942, settling in Rainier Valley. One particularly vivid memory he shared with us around the dinner table, from his early youth in the immediate post-WW2 era, was feasting on fat trout his elder brothers pulled from nearby Lake Washington. He graduated from St Edward's elementary school in 1954, and from O'Dea HS in the spring of 1958. At the end of that summer, he and his buddies Al Chapman and Rich Fenkner enlisted in the Army. Basic Training was at Fort Ord in Monterey. He served his hitch in Fontainebleau, France, a period of his life he always recalled with fond affection. Upon returning home from overseas, Ken was hired by VWR Scientific, where he met and fell in love with Carol Rossmann. The young couple married in 1963, and settled in West Seattle, at a house near Schmitz Park, where they raised their family. Ken and Carol separated in 1986. Ken's second great love was Mary Grubic - they were wed in 1998, and stayed together until his last breath. Their home in Bellevue was the scene of many large and festive family gatherings, always centered around a delicious meal.
Ken lived a long, full, life as a son, brother, uncle, father, and grandfather. He was a big football fan, liked salmon fishing and playing card games, loved to travel, and really enjoyed running [until his knees gave out]. Pop always took great pleasure in making a tasty pasta sauce or soup for us all to come together over. He faced death the same way he faced the entirety of his life: head on, ready for the challenge, no BS allowed. His memory is cherished, and he will be deeply missed by those who loved him.