Donald Lee Schmidt

Donald Lee Schmidt, 86, of Newton, Kan., died Nov. 2, 2022, from complications of pancreatic cancer at Kidron Bethel Village.

He was born at home to David and Kathryn Schmidt, who farmed near Medford, Okla. In 1948, the family moved to Newton, where Don attended First Mennonite Church and graduated from Newton High School. He graduated from Bethel College and performed 1-W service at Indiana University in lieu of being drafted into the military. He married the love of his life, Marlene (Kopper), in 1960.

In the 1960s, after jobs managing Antrim Lumber and selling fertilizer in York, Neb., he was hired as an accountant at Hesston Corporation (now AGCO), where he would spend his entire career, weathering mergers and acquisitions and advancing to the position of corporate controller before retiring in 2001.

His life was defined by his faith in God, his commitment to serving his church community and his love for his wife and three children: Mike, Greg and Lori. He served in a number of positions at First Mennonite, including as a deacon and congregational leader, and held positions on several boards, including Kidron Bethel, Ten Thousand Villages and the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board.

The quintessential jack of all trades, he built the family’s second home with his father. A passion for golf and antique cars occupied his spare time. Whether attending Mike’s football games or Lori’s music recitals or helping Greg with various projects, Don was devoted to their well-being and encouraged them to pursue their passions. With Marlene, he enjoyed a lifelong marriage marked by family vacations, concerts, dining out and time spent with friends and family.

He is survived by his children, Mike, Greg and Lori; and a brother, Lewis Schmidt (Dorothy). His wife, Marlene, preceded him in death.

A memorial service was held at First Mennonite Church of Newton. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery.


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