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Stephen A. Schmidt

December 31, 1969 September 3, 2012
Stephen A. Schmidt
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Obituary for Stephen A. Schmidt

Stephen A. Schmidt was born on March 28, 1933 in Jefferson City, MO to Henry T. and Bertha (nee Korsmeyer) Schmidt. Stephen was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church. He developed a life-long love of vegetable gardening as a child working side by side with his father and brother on the family truck farm. His last weeks were spent watching tomatoes ripen in his back yard. Stephen made many contributions to Christian education over his long teaching career. After graduating from Concordia Teachers College in 1955, he accepted his first teaching position at Zion Lutheran, Lyons, IL where he taught 3rd and 4th grade, directed a children's choir and a 35 voice senior choir, drove the school bus, served as substitute church organist, coached various school team sports, served as Walther League counselor and Sunday School teacher coordinator. Two years later he became 7th and 8th grade teacher and principal while earning his Master's Degree from Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary in Maywood, Illinois. In 1962 Stephen began more than a decade of teaching at his alma mater, Concordia College. While there he received a leave of absence to pursue doctoral studies in a joint degree program of Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary, New York. He completed his doctorate in education in 1969. In 1976 he left Concordia and taught for 30 years at Mundelein College and then at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University from which he retired in 1999. He was secretly pleased to be a Lutheran teaching religious studies at Catholic institutions. Stephen was a prolific writer with more than 5 published books and chapters and articles too numerous to mention. When he felt passionately about something, he wrote about it. His first book Powerless Pedagogues (1972) was born of his dismay with the role of teachers in the Lutheran church. His many years of struggling with illness led him to write Living With Chronic Illness (1989). During his 35 years as a member of Grace Lutheran Church, he sang in the choir, was instrumental in introducing the adult education program as it is currently formulated, founded the Chronic Illness Group, served as chair of the Board of Elders and the search committee which led to the calling of the current senior pastor, Bruce K. Modahl. He died suddenly and peacefully in the early morning hours of September 3, 2012 surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren. Steve's final hours were spent wrapped in the love of his family who sang hymns and prayed as he passed from this life to eternal life where he is now wrapped in the arms of a loving God, freed from the illness and fear of death that had marked his days. Stephen is survived by his wife of 56 years, Hildegarde "Gick", his daughter Elizabeth (Douglas Swartz) and their children Jeremy (Liliana), Benjamin and Emma; his daughter Deborah (Christopher Rogers) and their children Nathaniel and Madeline; his son Stephen (Arlene Sweeney-Schmidt) and their children Chad, Maggie (Matt) and their child Owen, Yasmine and Christopher; and his daughter Ruth (Kevin Zamzow) and their children Noah and Jonah. Steve is further survived by his brother Herb (Grace), his sister Henrietta (the late Harold) Kieschnick and many nephews, nieces. Visitation will be Wednesday September 5 from 4 to 9 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St, Oak Park. A funeral service will be held on Thursday September 6 at 11 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St. River Forest, IL 60305. Interment at Concordia Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Institute of Pastoral Studies, 820 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, WI 60611 or Grace Lutheran Church and School, School Fund

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