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Schmidt, Joe

Joe Schmidt happily began his “day of jubilee” on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
Joe was born July 11, 1926, the fifth child of Catherine and Michael Schmidt. One sister, Moni Simpson is still living. He was predeceased by his siblings — Ann Ritz, Kaye Holtvogt, Mike and Frank Schmidt, Elly Shirkey, and Vi Kreiger.
Joe attended Willow Ridge elementary school in Burr, Sask., then went to a private high school for boys at St. Peter’s College, Muenster. He received his Bachelor of Education from University of Saskatchewan and his Masters of Education from University of Montana.
From one of his much loved teachers at Willow Ridge Joe developed a passion for English literature. He delighted the students in his classes and his children and friends in his home on the occasions he would spontaneously quote poetry — everything from children’s fantasy rhymes to the classics and then his contemporary favourite Housman.
. . . And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
Joe did many things to earn a living: truck driver, worked in his mother’s grocery store and post office as well as the family hotel in summers, drove tour bus at Lake Louise to put himself through university, managed the family ice cream parlour for a year in Rodney, Ont., but classroom teaching was his passion. He loved young people and he loved books; his students inspired him throughout his entire life to keep learning and I believe he hoped he inspired them to do the same.
Joe met Delle at university and in 1956 they both applied for teaching positions in southern Alberta and were married. As Joe said, “We put our finger on the map saying, ‘There’s where we want to live.'” For many years after World War Two an acute teacher shortage existed all across Canada. So Claresholm, Granum and finally Fort Macleod became their home. Joe spent 35 years in the classroom and lived 55 years in the house he built in the community he called home, Fort Macleod.
During their teaching careers Joe and Delle raised two daughters and spent several years teaching abroad; in the late ’50s in West Germany on loan to Department of National Defence and in the ’60s Joe taught in the International School at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria through the Canadian External Aid Program. His daughters attended local schools in West Africa and one Christmas holiday Joe bought tickets for the family on a French mail boat enabling them to visit all the ports along the coast from Lagos south to the Congo.
In 1969, Joe accepted a teaching position at Lethbridge Community College and enjoyed the last years of his career working with post secondary students. He retired from teaching in 1984.
Joe found particular pleasure in the outdoors, planting and tending trees, flowers and grass, both at his home in town and at Beauvais Lake. The “cabin” became the family refuge on weekends and in the summer, a place where the girls grew up, boating, swimming and sharing life with their friends. It was always thought of as “Joe’s Place” and the greatest joy for him in these last few years was sharing his girls’ enthusiastic accomplishment of rebuilding the original cabin.
Joe dearly loved his sisters’ children, Delle’s nephews and nieces and “the other Lorelei” who was like a third daughter; his friends were friends for life — how he loved their lively conversations and companionship.
Joe’s ‘love for animals, eloquent expression of thought, value of achievement, interest in the unknown and respect for all people’ will live forever in the hearts of those to whom he devoted his very being: Lorelei and Ellie, his daughters, Kristin and Ellen, his granddaughters. Together with Delle they will miss his presence in their lives beyond reason.

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