Kenneth L. Schmidt, 72


Kenneth L. “Ken” Schmidt, 72, died at home on Aug. 3, 2012 surrounded by his family following a courageous battle with metastatic cancer. A lifelong resident of West Bend, he was born on March 28, 1941, the third child of Leander J., Sr. and Melanie M. (nee Wolf) Schmidt.

After attending Holy Angels Elementary School and graduating from West Bend High School with the class of 1959, Ken attended UWM in Milwaukee where he earned an associate’s degree. He then served an apprenticeship in funeral service followed by his graduation after one year of additional education at the former Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science. He was employed at and later became an owner of the Schmidt Funeral Homes in West Bend and Jackson. Prior to retiring in December 2000, Ken and his wife Joyce worked together in serving bereaved families.

Ken met the love of his life while attending school in Milwaukee, and he and the former Joyce Ann Hafenbrack were united in holy matrimony at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Greendale on July 20, 1963. They settled in West Bend where they raised their family Lori L. (Paul) Reed, presently of Cottage Grove, Kenneth L. “Kenny” (friend Sarah Krist) currently of Waukesha, the late John L. “Johnny,” and Linda J. (Kent) Williams now living in Kewaskum.

He and Joyce loved the great outdoors and thoroughly enjoyed both wilderness camping and camping while traveling to see this beautiful country. They took some trips alone, but most enjoyed sharing the sites and natural beauty of this great land with their children and later with their grandchildren. Traveling by car and van and RV, combined with camping, made it financially reasonable to see 43 states, ranging from border to border and coast to coast.

Some of the most memorable trips included traveling through New England in the fall, the historical sites of Virginia and three of the Hawaiian islands, among many other trips.

While their children were in high school, Ken and Joyce hosted long term exchange students from Zimbabwe, Brazil, the Philippines and Okinawa in addition to hosting district wide exchange student Christmas parties in their home, where they were hostparents to over 175 students from over 35 countries world-wide. As they arrived at their home, Ken told the kids that the main rule for this weekend was to have fun. Ken enjoyed woodworking, and puttering around the house, doing repairs he could handle and building things ranging from his garage, the rec room in the basement, some furniture pieces, and so on.

Over the years, he was very involved in the community including memberships in the Boy Scouts of America where he served as a cub master, as District Chairman and on the Council Board; the West Bend Jaycees as president and state director; Immaculate Conception Parish, where he served as finance chairman, a lector for 33 years, a Eucharistic minister and as parish trustee-secretary; as an honorary life member of both the Knights of Columbus Father Caspar Rehrl Council No. 1964, where he is a past Grand Knight, and of Our Lady of Holy Hill Fourth Degree Assembly where he served as a past Faithful Navigator; and as a past president of the West Bend Noon Rotary.

Those surviving to mourn Ken are his loving wife, Joyce; three children Lori (Paul) Reed, Kenny (friend Sarah) and Linda (Kent) Williams; 13 beloved grandchildren, Josh, Kim, Shauna, Damonte, Dee and Mya Reed, Grayci, Dylan and Camy Schmidt, Cory Schneider, Alyssa Schmidt, Travis Williams and Andrew Buelow; five great-grandchildren, Landin, Leanne, Isaiah, Preston and Kylie; his step-mother Kay Schmidt of West Bend; two brothers, Curt (the late Judy) and Dr. Robert (Jane), a sister-in-law, Bobbe (Roger) Rybak; two brothers-in-law John (Patti) Brandenburg and Jerry (Patty) Vetting, nieces, nephews, other relatives and dear friends.

He was preceded in death by his son Johnny, his parents, his parents-in-law Lloyd and Dorothy Brandenburg, his brothers Lee & Jerry, and sister Mary Vetting.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, Aug. 8, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception Catholic Church with burial following in St. Mary’s Cemetery (new). Visitation will be at the Schmidt Funeral Home on Wednesday from 4-8 p.m. and also Thursday at the church only from 10-10:45 a.m.

There will be Knight of Columbus prayer service at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home followed by a prayer vigil service.

Masses or memorials are appreciated.

On-line guestbook and condolences available at www.schmidtfuneralhome.com.