- Funeral Date: 4/28/17
- Funeral Time: 11:00 am
- Date of Birth: 2/24/25
- Date of Death: 4/15/17
- Funeral Location: Trinity Lutheran Church - Northfield
Orville Milton Schmidt age 92, was born on February 24, 1925, to Frederick and Lena (Beckman) Schmidt in Sleepy Eye, MN. His father passed away when he was a toddler so he and his seven brothers were raised by their mother Lena; frugal by necessity, hard working, and guided by her faith. The family lived through the Great Depression and when World War II broke out, five of the eight boys joined the armed forces; Orville served with the US Navy in Hawaii from 1943-1946.
Like many young men returning from their military service, Orville sought to start a family. He married Phyllis Domke on June 22, 1947. Together they moved to Minneapolis where he attended the University of Minnesota on the GI Bill. They then settled in Sleepy Eye, MN, where their four sons were born. Orville’s early career was in the dairy processing industry. The family moved to Lewisville in 1956, then to Waseca in 1963, and finally to Northfield in 1966. Orville was the plant manager for the Webster Cooperative Creamery and later the chief engineer at the Northfield City Hospital from which he retired in 1990.
Orville enjoyed his life and his family. There were occasional family vacations and many trips to Sleepy Eye to visit family. He and Phyllis were great fans of their boys’ high school activities and opened their home as a gathering place to the boys’ friends. When the time came, their grand children provided many more activities for them to support and be a part of. Orville was an avid armchair coach for the MN Twins, Vikings, and Gophers.
In retirement Orville and Phyllis traveled and enjoyed their growing family. They enjoyed fishing and pontooning at the family cabin, which was a great sanctuary for relaxation and fun with the entire family. “Set the hook, Orv” will forever be the advice to anyone missing a fish at the cabin. In the community, he spent countless hours working at and working on the popcorn wagon on Bridge Square. Orville was also an accomplished stained glass craftsman. He taught community education classes in glass. His stained-glass creations are cherished possessions of his family members.
Orville was a very active member of the Northfield American Legion, where he served as Commander for a term. He was an active member of the Honor Guard, and he was a member of the fund-raising committee for a war memorial that is part of the Northfield community.
Orville was devout in his faith which gave him great strength throughout his many health challenges. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Orville passed away on April 15, 2017, at Reflections at Three Links Care Center. Orville is survived by sons David (Sara Klasky) of Inver Grove Heights, Greg (Barb) of Northfield, Mark (Nancy) of Mantorville, and Steve (Lori) of Northfield; 11 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Paul (Nydia) of Litchfield, MN; his sister-in-law, Marlene Carlson of Spearfish, SD; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Phyllis, his parents, and six brothers, George, Howard, Ervin, Willard, Raymond, and Frederick.
Memorial services will be held 11 am Friday, April 28th at Trinity Lutheran Church, Northfield with the Reverend Brent Klein officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be in Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield, with Military Honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Trinity Lutheran Church or the Northfield Veterans Memorial Park.