John W. Schmidt
MADISON- John has only taken “time out whilst (he) think(s) up some more deviltry” with his buddy, Bugs Bunny.
But yet, how does one say good-bye to a connoisseur of jellybeans, a diehard Green Bay Packer Fan, a Bucky Badger follower, the King of Naps and his unforgettable Blanket Tents, Babcock Hall frequent flier, master debater (just ask his three children; they never even tried!) teacher, mentor, friend, and love? “Where have you gone Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Where have you gone Charming Billy?” These are words to an old folk song that John, “John Bill,” remembered his mother singing to him during his childhood.
John William Schmidt was born to Ruby (LaMore) and Hans Josef Schmidt on May 25, 1934, in Madison. Included in this family are his younger siblings, Rowan (Todd) Zeiss, and Karl (Joann) Schmidt.
John was a scholarly man who was very proud of his academic achievements. One of his favorite Vince Lombardi quotes was, “If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.” He proved this by earning his BA from Illinois College; his MA from Bradley University; and his Doctorate from The University of Minnesota. He retired in 1999, with the honor of, Professor Emeritus after serving as the Dean of General Extension at the University of Wisconsin. Even after his retirement, John found a way to stay active by working with the SAIL Organization (Senior Adult Independent Living) in Madison. He spent long hours collaborating, creating fond memories, and forming friendships, while being President of the board.
Along his educational journey, John was not alone. He met the love of his life, Marilyn Burkhardt while working at the Mission House College, in Elkhart Lake, at the age of 13. As Piglet and Pooh both say: “Piglet: ‘How do you spell love?'” “Pooh: ‘you don’t spell it. You feel it.'” They married on August 5, 1954. Their love went on to include Steven (Elizabeth), Diane, and Martha (Mark) Goughnour. In addition he enjoyed his grandchildren; Rebecca (Copper) Therriault, Nathan (deceased) Schmidt, Ellen (Trevor) Nickerson, Sally (Luke Mueller) Goughnour, Johanna Schmidt, Malissa (Antonio) Nelson, and Nicole (Spencer) Sachs, as well as great-grandchildren Uriah and Ari Nelson.
John died peacefully in the loving arms of Marilyn, on Monday, July 31, 2017, with the support of his “extended family” he had found at Attic Angel. The family would like to thank Attic Angel Place and its staff for its warmth, compassion, and support. Thanks also goes out to Agrace Hospice for their care.
There will be a Celebration of John’s Life at ATTIC ANGEL PLACE, 8301 Old Sauk Rd., Middleton, at 3 p.m., on Sunday, October 8, 2017.
Remember what Monty Python says, “Always look on the bright side of life. If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten! And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing….”
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