Idaho Transportation

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Longtime ITD employee Hank Schmidt, passes away

Hank Schmidt, a 26-year craftsman and welder in ITD’s District 2, recently passed way at St. Joseph Medical Center in Lewiston.

The following obituary appeared in the Jan. 17 issue of the Lewiston Tribune.

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Hank Henry E. (Hank) Schmidt, 54, Lewiston

Schmidt was born July 23, 1953, to Harry and Clarice (Feucht) Schmidt in Greencreek. A longtime resident of Lewiston, Hank died very suddenly Monday, Jan. 14, 2008, at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. He was the oldest son, and third child of 10. He graduated from Prairie High School in Cottonwood in 1971.

He worked for the Forest Service for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps.

He served two years active duty in San Diego, then returned to Idaho to work in the logging industry before being injured. He attended Lewis-Clark State College and received his welding certification. His 26-year career with the Idaho Transportation Department included positions in the welding shop and bridge and building shop as a utility craftsman.

He joined the U.S. Army Reserves, with his military service ultimately spanning 24 years.

He was deployed to Operation Desert Storm in December 1990, and returned in July 1991. He achieved the rank of sergeant first class (SFC/E7). He was a combat medic (68W) with his last position being a combat life saver instructor attached to the 96th Regional Readiness Command, Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City.

Service to the community was important to Hank. His reservist training inspired him to become a civilian licensed EMT. He served with the Lapwai Quick Response Unit. In 1982, he was instrumental in the development and implementation of the first adult soccer league in the valley.

This was the cornerstone that enabled soccer to expand into the sport it is today. He coached soccer teams from the Valley Boys and Girls Club and officiated for the local school districts. His soccer contacts over the years developed into strong friendships. His knees eventually forced him to quit, but he was always pleased to recognize his former players, especially if they still played soccer! He had grand hopes for his great-nephew, who was starting a soccer career at age 5.

Hank finally found the love of his life in Renae Dykes. They were married in June 2003, and this gave him a stepson and playmate in Jordan. At that time, Hank had to concede that basketball was at least equally important as soccer. Together Hank and Renae spent time remodeling their home and their gardens. Although Hank was not detail oriented, with Renae providing appropriate supervision he became a master handyman.

Home projects rarely occurred without misadventures, and a common response from Hank quickly became, "a small price to pay." Despite this, visitors to their home were eventually charmed with beautiful tile floors, marble showers, granite countertops, geraniums, tomato plants, and multi-colored dahlias. They enjoyed traveling together, whether it was actual vacations or road trips to watch Jordan play ball. Their last trip was to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, where they really enjoyed just walking through the fields and bickering over whose picture would be taken!

Hank was the ultimate prankster. Without children of his own, he tortured and tormented his brothers and sisters, then his nieces and nephews, by wrestling, tickling, stealing food, and any other activities he could think of. He rarely called any of his family members by their real names, assigning each of them unique nicknames. He was an equal opportunity jokester, and loved it when the little ones planned to "torture" him in return. When he became a stepdad to a 14-year-old son, he was in heaven, with daily opportunities to tease and torment Jordan.

When Jordan grew to a height of 6-foot-7, Hank abruptly stopped wrestling, but verbally insisted that he was tougher, stronger and meaner, and that Jordan would never forget it! Beating Hank at any of his favorite games (pinochle, crazy eights, trivial pursuit, chess) would ensure that "torture time" was in order.

Hank was a staunch Democrat, and would debate political issues with great gusto. In fact, family members state the only way to get Hank's temper up was to support any Republican platform.

Hank had a special affection for animals, and had a unique talent for training dogs to climb the willow tree in the front yard. One of the few real fights between Hank and Renae was whether to build a fence to keep "the girls" in the yard. Hank just preferred to take them along wherever he went.

Hank is survived by his adored wife Renae and stepson Jordan Gregg; his much loved mother-in-law, LeeEllen Dykes; his brothers, Duane and Becky, (Jenni and Craig Heimgartner, Tyler) and Monte and Johanne (DJ, Leah, Eve, Miccie) of Lewiston, John and Diana (Jeremy, Chandi) of Grangeville, and Phil and Rhonda (Chris, Keely, Carson) of Greencreek; his sisters, Linda Dalton of San Francisco, Joann and Gene Hollandsworth (Clay, LeAnn, his goddaughter) and Debby Schmidt of Tacoma, and Ruth Moody (Jason and Melanie, Justin, Kelcee) of Spokane; great-nephew, Garrett Heimgartner; great-nieces, Abby Heimgartner, Brittney Callahan, Rachael Moody; his uncles, Louis Schmidt of Cottonwood, Don and Laura Feucht of Culdesac, Marvin and Luella Feucht of Lewiston; his aunts, Joan and Herb Stubbers and Marge and Ambrose Schumacher of Greencreek, Vonne Ringle of Portland, Ore., Barb and Mike Broncheau of Post Falls, Idaho, Betty Wessels of Dayton, Wash., Dorothy Schmidt and Carol Toennis of Cottonwood, Gertrude Schmidt of Asotin; and, being from a good Catholic family, hordes of cousins.
Hank was predeceased by his parents, Harry and Clarice Schmidt; a sister, Beth; a niece, Breigh Moody; a brother-in-law, John Dalton; uncles, Fr. Urban Schmidt, Richard Schmidt, Virgil Schmidt, Edward Schmidt, Ken Logan and Willie Wessels; and aunts, Sophie Schmidt and Adele Logan.

Memorial contributions in Hank's name may be made to Lapwai Valley Quick Response Unit, Valley Boys and Girls Club, or the "I Am An American" General Fund Memorial at the Idaho Veterans Home in Lewiston. Hank would probably add, "Enjoy the wine and the flowers, and say "I love you."

Published 2-1-8