Kurt Walter Schmidt was the third of six children born to Friedrich and Rosalie Schmidt in Waldersee, Manitoba on April 18, 1926. When he was 14 his father underwent surgery and Kurt had to leave school as he was needed on the farm. He took grade 9 and 10 by correspondence and completed grade 11 in Glenella. In 1946-47 he worked at a lumber camp in Slave Lake, Alberta, coming back home to help out on the farm and taking an agriculture course at the Brandon Agricultural Centre in 1948-49. In 1949 at the age of 23 he obtained some land of his own and began his farming career.
It was during 1948-49 that Frances came to teach school in Waldersee and boarded at his parents’ house. One evening she was standing and listening to the radio, so he invited her to come sit down next to him. He and Frances were married in 1950 and they built the house they would live in for the rest of their life in 1951 on an 80 acre plot. The land was unbroken and they had to clear the space for the house and yard site. Hydro had just come in; so luckily, even though they did not have running water at the time, they had electricity from the start. It was here they raised their six children – Kenneth (Adrene), Faye, Russell (Elizabeth), Donald (Debbie), Leona (Todd), and David (Christine) and welcomed their 11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. They were happily married for almost 70 years.
In order to make ends meet, Kurt took on many jobs during the early years while still managing the home farm. In 1956 he worked in Winnipeg with sheet metal and furnace installations, coming home only on the weekends and for spring planting and harvest. The following years he did furnace installations in the area as well as various wiring jobs. From 1957-62 he drove the Waldersee Transfer, transporting livestock to city, and groceries and supplies back for Waldersee stores.
Kurt was very involved in his community. He served on the Municipal School Board, the Lutheran Church Council, the Glenella Pool Elevator Board, the Glenella Credit Union Board of Directors, the Seven Regions Health Board, and the Neepawa Hospital Board and was involved with 4-H Beef Club.
He was Reeve of the Glenella municipality for 20 years, from 1975-1995, serving 7 terms. He was very interested and involved in conservation in the area. He was an original member of the Whitemud Conservation District when it started in 1972 and was chairman for 20 years. He continued as a member until 2005. Kurt also served as treasurer for the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association and was a member of the Conservation District Commission based in Winnipeg.
In his retirement Kurt and Frances enjoyed travelling. They went to visit their parents’ homeland in Europe and bought a camper. They succeeded in visiting almost every province in Canada as well as many of the states. Auction sales became a huge pastime/hobby for them. Kurt amassed an impressive collection of antique tools. He used some of the scrap metal and tools he acquired to create welded metal sculptures to decorate his yard. He also carved wooden chess sets for each of his children from the dowels used to secure insulators to telephone poles. He always had something new to show you whenever you visited.
Kurt passed away on December 1, 2020 at the age of 94 years. He was truly an honest and decent man who will be very much missed.
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Christ Lutheran Church, Waldersee
Box 86, Glenella Manitoba R0J 0V0, MB
Manitoba Lung Association
301-1 Wesley Ave, Winnipeg MB R3C 4C6