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Russell Allen Schmitz

Obituary for Russell Allen Schmitz

February 20, 1921 - March 5, 2019
Pendleton, Indiana | Age 98


PENDLETON – Russell Allen Schmitz, 98, devoted and loving husband of Nancy Alma (Sparks) Schmitz (died June 1, 2014), passed away calmly and with dignity, surrounded by his loving and supportive daughters, Nancy Shoemaker of Anderson and Beth Fox (husband Bob) of Pendleton, on Tuesday, March 5th in the very early, peaceful morning hours.
Russ was born on February 20, 1921 in St. Paul, Minnesota. His parents, Edna Violet (Stetzel) Schmitz (born 1898), homemaker, and August Fredrick Schmitz (born 1865), a painter and Church of God minister.
Russ was very family oriented as a young man, helping his mother support his siblings upon his father's death when Russ was 12 years old, leaving his education behind to find employment. Russ began his career with Guide Lamp in 1939 making an hourly wage of less than a dollar. He then moved to Delco Remy in 1941, with an increased wage of $1.02. Russ was drafted into World War II and was part of the European Theater. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge. Russ described in a letter he wrote to his sister on August 11, 1945, that he was subsequently assigned to guard the site where the Nuremberg Trials were held. After the War and while starting a family of three children, Nancy, Terry, and Beth, Russ found his passion in home building and built several homes, including one that he and Alma built together in Markleville and lived in for over 50 years. After the war, he continued his career at Delco until retirement in 1980.
Russ enjoyed life to the fullest when surrounded by family. Russ and Alma discovered Lake Cumberland in Kentucky as their vacation haven. He loved spending time on the water and would water ski for hours, enjoying every minute of the experience. His last water ski adventure was at the age of 71, just an example of Russ' life very well lived. He loved tapioca pudding and was never one to miss desserts, including homemade ice cream made with a hand turned freezer. Russ often told a story about his teenage years when he helped jack up the back of a car and attached a string from the car's wheel to the handle on an ice cream freezer to avoid the tedious task of handcranking. One of his buddies was in the driver's seat to turn off the engine if anything went wrong… and really, what possibly could have gone wrong?
Russ and Alma were avid square dancers and round dancers, and approached the dance floor with laughter, energy and a zest for life. Alma and Russ also spent valuable time with family and friends at Walnut Ridge Campground in New Castle, as well as time in Florida with dear friends for several years in Nokomis. They were lifelong members of Markleville North Christian Church.
Russ was an outstanding husband, loving and caring father, engaged grandfather, and a truly great grandfather, positively impacting many generations. His was life well lived. He was loved well by his family and respected by his community. Russ was a kind, caring, gentle and respectable man. We have loved each other well--father, grandfather and great grandfather--and you will truly be missed. As Russ stated and lived by daily, "the secret to staying young is living a clean life."
Russ is survived by his daughters, Nancy and Beth (husband, Bob); daughter-in-law, Kaye Schmitz of Pendleton; seven grandchildren, Julie (Tod Higbee) Shoemaker Imel of Pendleton, Erick Schmitz of New Palestine, Dawn Schmitz Speedy of Ingalls, Brent (Sharon) Shoemaker of Rockville, MD, Tara (Shawn) Fox King of Pendleton, Todd (Helen) Fox of Johns Island, SC, and Tony (Heather) Fox of Markleville. He is also survived by a cousin, Bob Walters of Huntington, 16 wonderful great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandchild, and another on the way in June.
Russ was preceded in death by his parents; wife Alma in 2014; son Terry in 2004; and his 12 siblings.
A visitation will be held on Friday, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Markleville North Christian Church, 32 N. State St. Markleville, Indiana 46056 with services to be held at 3:00 p.m. at the church with Pastor Jerome Bell officiating.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the church.
Arrangements entrusted to Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service and Crematory, Lahm Chapel, 211 E. State St., Pendleton, Indiana 46064.

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