BIO:   Dr. Fred John Schmidt,  "RACCOON"

I was born on September 2, 1928, In Plainfield Twp. near Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have a twin sister and she and I are the last of nine children born to Gerd Heinrich Karl and Minnie Ringold Schmidt.    My father and his family emigrated from the Netherlands in 1907.   He worked as furniture maker, storekeeper and farmer.  The family moved to Coopersville, Michigan area. I attended rural schools and graduated from Coopersville High School in 1947.

My five brothers all served in the military during WWII.  My 3 sisters and I did  the farm work during those war years.  All family members survived the War.

After completing High School, I, along with 2 classmates, enlisted in the U.S. Army on an 18-month tour of duty.  We stayed together at Ft Knox, Kentucky.  I was assigned to a Casual Company, set up for former servicemen, and helped process then back to active duty.  It was interesting work.  In 1948 I, along with 25 to 30 other servicemen, were Guests of Honor at Churchill Downs for the running of the Kentucky Derby.   Citation won that race and went on to become a Triple Crown winner.

After my military years, I enrolled in Calvin College in Grand Rapids.   I married my High School classmate and sweetheart, Norma Jean Kirkbride, in 1951.  Our only child, Schuyler Nathaniel, was born in 1961.

I entered the Education profession in the fall of 1955 as a teacher at Hudsonville, Michigan.  A year later, 1956, I became a teacher and Superintendent at Allendale, Michigan. In l966, I was hired as and Assistant Superintendent at Coopersville.  This was followed as Superintendent at Cassopolis , Michigan (1969-1973) and at Lakeshore Public Schools, Stevensville, Michigan until retirement in 1984.   After my educational career, I had a second  "life" as a Real Estate salesman.  I have been fully retired since 1999.

I have studied  and graduated with degrees from four colleges.  Calvin College, BS.  1953; Western Michigan University, MA. 1961; Michigan State University, Ed. Specialists, 1969 and Andrews University, Ed. Doctorate, 1981.

Norma Jean and I have traveled in all 50 states and several foreign countries.  We are active in the First Church of God in St. Joseph where we have been teachers in the educational program.  We have two grandsons, Zachary (1986) and Adam (1996). I have  an interest in Antique Automobiles and currently enjoy driving a 1930 Model A Ford. I have participated in the Blossom Parade with an antique car since 1975.

As a "RACCOON", I serve as Assistant Chaplain (in the absence of Father Mike) and the "Official Interviewer" of all usual and unusual patrons of the Stevensville Big  Boy.

May 1, 2010

Pfc Fred Schmidt
Memorial Day Parade
Dr. Frederick John Schmidt      OBITUARY

Published: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 1:07 PM EST
Dr. Frederick John Schmidt

ST. JOSEPH - Dr. Frederick John Schmidt, 83, of St. Joseph went to meet his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph.

A Celebration of Life Eternal will be held 11 a.m. Friday at the First Church of God, 2627 Niles Ave., St. Joseph with the Rev. Rick Blumenberg officiating. Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Coopersville-Polkton Township Cemetery in Coopersville, Mich. Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Starks & Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Road, St. Joseph. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society or the First Church of God, St. Joseph Endowment fund. Those wishing to sign Fred's guestbook online may do so at

Fred was born Sept. 2, 1928, in Grand Rapids to Karl and Minnie (Ringold) Schmidt. He graduated from Coopersville High School in 1947, entered the United States Army to serve his country until 1949, and graduated from Calvin College in 1953. He also held degrees from Western Michigan University and Michigan State University. He received his Ed.D from Andrews University in 1980.
On Jan. 19, 1951, he married his high school sweetheart, the former Norma Jean Kirkbride, in Coopersville. Fred's life revolved around children and education. He served as a teacher and administrator in the Hudsonville, Coopersville and Allendale school systems. He served as superintendent for Cassopolis Public Schools from 1969-1972, and Lakeshore Public Schools beginning in 1972 and retiring in 1984. Following retirement, Fred was a Realtor with Meredith & Kamp Realtors, retiring in 1995.

Fred was an active member of the First Church of God, St. Joseph, where he served as Sunday school teacher, Endowment Committee member, Life Group Leader and a member of the Men's Chorus.

He was a member and past president of the Lakeshore Rotary Club, member of the Southwest Michigan Car collectors, Berrien County Retired Teachers' Association, a former Bible Study Fellowship leader, and a proud member of his breakfast fellowship group, the Royal Order of Raccoons. Fred was also the patriarch of the Oak Terrace neighborhood and knew all his neighbors.

He was a proud owner of his 1930 Model A Ford which he entered in the Blossomtime Parade for the last 35 years, this year as Honorary Grand Marshal. In retirement, he and Norma Jean enjoyed traveling, enjoying their antique automobile and spending time with their grandchildren.

Fred is survived by his wife of 60 years, Norma Jean; his son, Schuyler (Cindy) Schmidt of Fishers, Ind.; two grandsons, Zach (Amanda) Schmidt of Oklahoma City, Adam Schmidt of Fishers; his brother, Maurice Schmidt of Bellaire, Mich.; two sisters, his twin Florence "Pokey" (Roger) DeGraaf of Holland, Shirlee (Harry) Hofstra of Hudsonville and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by brothers Ralph, Lawrence, Alex and Franklin Schmidt; sisters Mary Noe and Doris Mazurek; and one sister-in-law, Evelyn (Franklin) Schmidt.