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Frederick "Fred" Joseph Schmitt

Frederick "Fred" Joseph Schmitt, 85, of Park Rapids, formerly of the Twin Cities area, died Monday, April 13, 2009 at Diamond Willow Assisted Living Center in Park Rapids.

He was born Oct. 26, 1923 in St. Paul to Rose Schmitt. At the age of six months he was placed in an orphanage. At the age of 11, John and Mary Zeis, of Holdingford, took him into their home. He attended a country school through the eighth grade and then went on to the Holdingford High School. He helped on his parent's dairy farm.

On April 10, 1943 he entered the U.S. Navy and served his country in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre during World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946 after earning the rank of specialist lst Class. He returned home and attended college to study business, earning a four-year degree in three years.

In June of 1949 he married Alice McCarter in Appleton, Wis. They had one daughter. From his late 20s to his late 30s, he bowled the Professional Bowlers Association Circuit. He also began his career in business with the Peavey Corporation that spanned over 23 years. He began with Peavey working as an accountant and later switched into sales where he spent the rest of his years. Later, he worked as a sales manager with the Montgomery-Wards Co. in Blaine.

On Oct. 14, 1975 he married Shirley Arlene Hinkley. They first lived in Fridley and later in Anoka until retiring to Park Rapids in 1986. In 1990 he suffered a massive aortic aneurysm, which nearly took his life.

He was a member of Riverside United Methodist Church in Park Rapids. He was a lifetime member of the Otto Hendrickson American Legion Post 212 in Park Rapids and the Guy L. McDermit VFW Post of Menahga.

He is survived by his wife; a daughter, Susan (James) Kubovec, of Maple Grove; two grandsons; four stepchildren: Deborah (Dean) Stearns, of Park Rapids, Rebecca (Gary) Bistodeau, of Nevis, Ray (Debbie) Hinkley, of Maple Grove, and Trudee (Tom) Vogtman, of Park Rapids; 11 step grandchildren; a sister, Rita (Ozzie) ZenZen, of St. Cloud; five brothers: Robert (Judy) Zeis, of Grey Eagle, Allan (Wanda) Zeis, of Coon Rapids, Ervin Zeis, of Holdingford, Jerry (Mona) Zeis, of Avon, and Don (Esther) Zeis, of Oro, Ariz.; as well as many nieces, nephews and other relatives.

He was preceded in death by his adoptive parents.

Funeral service: Friday, April 17 at Riverside United Methodist Church in Park Rapids with Rev. Don Bird officiating.

Honorary casket bearers: His grandson, Philip Vogtman, who is serving in the U.S. Navy overseas in Japan; and his granddaughters: Jeni Stearns, Tracy Vogtman, Katie Medlin and Anna Hinkley.

Casket bearers: His grandsons: Mike and Brian Kubovec, Charles and Michael Stearns, Dean Vogtman, Bryon and Andrew Bistodeau, and Bob Hinkley.

Interment: Riverside Cemetery in Osage.

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