Kenneth L. Schmidt, 72
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
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
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
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
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
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