Gene Schmidt, 77, passed away peacefully on March 27th, 2021 after complications from congestive heart failure. He was surrounded by love, family, and music in his final hours. A memorial service was held Wednesday, May 5th. To view the service, visit Gene’s Celebration of Life.
Love, family, and friendship were the heart of Gene’s world. He was a dedicated husband to his wife, Peggy for 55 years. Their marriage was a testament of true love and teamwork. They shared a lifetime of memories and weathered many storms. Gene enjoyed playing pinball, and attending rock concerts, especially Bon Jovi, with his younger daughter, Jeni (Cosgrove.) He was a supportive and kind-hearted father-in-law to Jim. He was an active, childlike grandfather (Papa) to Lyda and Willa, always beaming in their presence. Gene adored the family dogs who are missing his walks and unconditional love.
Gene was born on Nov. 2nd, 1943, to Nick and Hilda Schmidt and his brother, Marvin in Hoisington, KS. (His parents and brother proceeded him in death.) Gene graduated from Hoisington High school in 1961. He received an English degree from Pittsburg State University where he was student body president, and a charter member of the Zeta Iota Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Gene was one of the chapter’s first Consuls and was involved with the Alumni Association for many years. Gene was Zeta Iota’s 3rd Recipient of the Sigma Chi National “Significant Sig Award” in 1999 for his incredible dedication to advocating for victims’ rights after the tragic murder of his older daughter, Stephanie in 1993. With the help of friends and lawmakers, the Schmidt family started the Speak Out for Stephanie Foundation to create public awareness for victims’ rights, through which they successfully changed laws and saved lives. Their advocacy work was recognized by multiple awards, including the National Crime Victims’ Service Award. Gene also served as the Victims’ Rights Coordinator for the State of Kansas.
Gene’s charismatic personality and creative talents kept him connected to a variety of communities. Some knew him when he was an English teacher, photographer, real estate agent, and advertising consultant. Throughout every chapter of his life, he made many lifelong friendships. Gene loved popping popcorn to share with friends. He made a lasting impression with his quirky sense of humor and unforgettable.
The family has requested that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to the community outreach programs provided through Colonial Church. (Colonial Church in Prairie Village 7039 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS 66208.) Or, please consider donating to a Victims’ Rights Advocacy organization of your choice. In Gene’s honor, we can continue to make a difference in the lives of others.
This photo is perfect. No matter what was happening, Gene was always smiling. I loved this man so much. Marilyn and I were blessed to spend time this past 12 months with Gene and Peggy on their deck and in their beautiful back yard. Gene in now with the Lord and their daughter Stephanie. That must have been an amazing reunion. It has been such an honor and blessing to have had Gene in our lives.
An inspiring man with a wonderful and devoted family. Gene will be missed by so many people who will forever and eternally admire ihis courage and fortitude.
May God bless Gene and his family.??
John and Pam Douglas
From the minute I met Gene and Peggy seeds of an eternal friendship were planted. The fruition bore much fruit through Stephanie’s tragic death. I wrote a song called, Fallen Tree” and sang it at her celebration of life service. Gene took a heart wrenching situation and expanded the roots of that tree to provide shelter for many others who would suffer the same loss. Gene was an oak tree of strength, safety and shelter…. did I mention funny… his smile and laugh could dismantle the most hardened heart. See you in heaven brother! Paul Clark
Our deepest sympathy,Gene will be missed at our class reunion. Prayers to you Peggy and family.
Gene and Peggy have been great neighbors and friends for 34 years! We met in their home on many occasions and frequently at the fence. Grilling up something special on their deck was a common site during the summer. Their yard and planting areas are a beautiful sight to behold and displays their attention to detail and tender loving care. Gene and Peggy were such a great team–echad (Hebrew for one in the form of united together as 1).
Gene was perpetually smiling and filled with love and joy that was infectious. He loved his family and God immensely and will be missed. Earth now has a big void, but he is now dancing on the “streets that are golden” with his daughter Stephanie!
I am saddened by the loss of my friend Gene whom I have known from the early 60s The world has lost a wonderful kind and generous person Gods speed Gene!
Loved Gene’s laughing eyes and wonderful smile. A wonderful father and grandfather and husband. He made a huge difference in the world and left it a happier more peaceful place. Hugs all around the Peggy and the Cosgrove’s
The world has lost a good one. Much peace to Peggy, Jeni, family, and friends.
We are so sorry for Gene’s passing. He was such a delightful neighbor, always with a smile and a friendly chat. He will be missed.
Andrew and Patrice Mendelson
The Gene and Peggy partnership impacted lives far beyond Pitt State and the Kansas City area. One shining moment was the “Speak Out for Stephanie” / victim rights day at Kansas State University. Powerful message and meaningful interactions with students, faculty & staff.
Also remembering KC Royals Sluggerrr at the 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Always memorable and always fun! A family affair showing all how to retain the spirit of youth.
Gene – the White Cross has gained new luster by your life!
I RSVp’d, but if you are getting capacity, let m know cause can stream it!
Mr. Schmidt was my English teacher at Webb City High School in 1968-69. His Advanced Composition class was what helped prepare me for college composition classes. He made an impression on my life. I was so happy over 40 years later to connect with him on FB through our mutual friend Steve Scearcy. We shared many laughs together over his and Steve’s posts. He touched many lives, and what a legacy he leaves! Your family will be in my prayers.
Was in Hoisington this week for my Aunt Sue Campbell’s memorial service. Many fond memories of Gene when I was a child. Sending love & prayers to Peggy & family.
Dina (Hawkins) Remington
I love you Mr. Schmidt. Give Stephanie a big hug for me. ?