Life Story / Obituary
Mike Schmidt was a wonderful man to know and love. The love he had for his family was to be admired, and his hard work ethic provided for those entrusted to his care. With his wonderful sense of adventure, he took in all the great outdoors had to offer along life’s way. Mike was a man of strong values; a man of his word, and honest to the core. He lived by his moral compass and with faith as his guide he lived by way of example, teaching those around him well. Dearly missed, gone but never to be forgotten are the wonderful memories Mike leaves behind.
The end of World War II was a time of great celebration. Young servicemen came home to marry their sweethearts, and the “baby boom” was officially launched. Families moved into newly developed suburbs, and U.S. manufacturers quickly turned at-war production into post-war innovations to meet heightened demand for consumer goods. Now a time to begin anew with hopes and dreams for the future, this was especially true for Harold and Norietta (Adamot) Schmidt as they celebrated the October 18, 1946 birth of their little boy, Michael. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, young Michael joined his older brother, David and later welcomed his younger brother, Jerry. The Schmidt family made their home on Center Street NE and attended Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Michael’s father worked as a pattern maker while his mother remained at home as a homemaker. In 1959, his family transferred their membership to St James Lutheran Church where Mike remained a member for the remainder of his days. Mike and his brothers were each four years apart in age and together they shared many boyhood adventures. They could always be found enjoying time spent hunting and fishing together, and they spent a lot of time on their grandparent’s farm in nearby Allendale. Memorable times were also shared as a family for two weeks each year on Drummond Island, a tradition Mike and his future wife and family would come to enjoy, as well. A close knit family, many memories were made during the holidays with extended family through the years.
Having attended Sibley Elementary School, Mike went to Riverside Junior High and then on to Creston High School where he ran cross country before graduating. He was always quite gifted in woodworking while in school, as well. During Mike’s youth and young adult years his favorite hangout was John Eisler's motorcycle shop on Leonard and Front Streets. With his easygoing nature and quick wit, Mike enjoyed the friendships of many during these years and his whole life through.
After high school, Mike joined the U.S. Navy, like his father before him, and his brothers, too. He served his basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago, Illinois and was then stationed in Norfolk, Virginia before being deployed out to sea. Mike served in the Mediterranean for six months on board the USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5). He was honorably discharged a Gunners Mate following two years of service. Through the years Mike remained proud of his service and the many things it taught him and the experiences he encountered while serving.
Back home in Michigan, Mike attended pattern making school and completed his millwright apprenticeship. For the following six years he worked out of Union Hall. In 1978, he was hired in at Steelcase as a millwright, eventually retiring from there after 23 years. He was then hired by the City of Grand Rapids and worked at the water plant at Lake Michigan for another 12 ½ years.
Mike spent his time attending church, going to work, and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He owned his own home at 2111 Rowe Street which kept him busy, too. One afternoon his neighbors invited him over to meet their great niece who was visiting after she inquired about the handsome man next door washing his car. Sharon Wallington was a pretty young woman and as fate would have it, she and Mike spent the next three hours visiting. With her phone number in hand, Mike later called Sharon for their first official date which they spent going to a movie and out to dinner. Mike was working as a journeyman out of Union Hall at the time and after a 13 month courtship, Mike proposed to Sharon in his kitchen. A nice autumn day set the scene for their wedding day when they were happily married on October 29, 1976 at St. James Lutheran Church. Guests gathered at Fingers Restaurant for dinner and then back to Sharon's parent’s home for cake and gifts. The following December, the couple honeymooned in Tampa, Florida where Mike's parents lived.
Before long, Mike and Sharon started a family of their own with the birth of Matthew in 1977, and Jennifer in 1980. They remained living on Rowe Street until moving to 858 Arbor NE in 1983. As a father, Mike was very involved in the lives of his children and supportive of their endeavors. He was the disciplinarian in the family, and taught his children the importance of honor and trust. He and Sharon raised their family in faith and were faithful church members. Mike served his church well through the years as a deacon, usher, and for a term as president of the congregation. Family was at the center of Mike’s heart. When Matt's future wife Jess brought her 3 year old son, Karter to meet him, it brought him the greatest joy. The two shared a very special bond, and Karter became Mike’s main computer teacher!
When it came to music, Mike liked classical and enjoyed Handel's Messiah. He was a very intelligent man and did a lot of reading, but mostly about hunting, fishing, woodworking, and motorcycles which were some of the things he loved best. While he loved Sharon’s cooking, he especially loved desserts, particularly German chocolate cake. His favorite place to eat was Schmidt's Sausage Haus and Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio as he loved their authentic, German cuisine. Perhaps it stemmed from his time in the service, but Mike’s favorite thing to do was traveling. He had traveled throughout most of his life, and together he and Sharon made it to 46 of the 50 states, including Hawaii. Some of their memorable destinations included Australia, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, New Foundland, and Bermuda.
The heart of Mike Schmidt was centered on his faith and family. He was ever loving and caring, and his dry humor brought smiles to those around him. He was on the stubborn side for sure, but he would be the first to admit if he was wrong. He lived fully and completely at every opportunity, and for those who knew him best, Mike leaves a lasting legacy of friendship and love to all he encountered.
Michael Q. Schmidt, age 71, of Grand Haven, Michigan passed away Monday, September 17, 2018 at home. Sharon (Wallington), his wife of 41 years survives, as do their children, Matthew (Jess) Schmidt of Sparta, Jennifer Schmidt of Grand Haven; grandson, Karter Van Ess; brothers, David (Margaret) Schmidt of Grand Rapids, Jerry (Jan) Schmidt of Kentwood; numerous in-laws; many cousins, nieces, nephews and special friends. A funeral will be held Monday, September 24, 2018, 11:00 AM at St. James Lutheran Church, 2040 Oakwood Ave NE. Friends may visit his family Sunday, 2-6 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE and beginning at 10:00 AM at the church. Interment will be in Rosedale Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St James Lutheran Church. Please visit Mike's webpage to read more of his life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.lifestorynet.com.