John T. Schmitz, age 86 of Watkins, passed away June 25, 2022. A funeral service will be held Saturday, July 2, 2022, at 11:00 AM at Johnson-Hagglund Funeral and Cremation Service in Litchfield. A visitation will be held Friday, July 1, 2022, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at the funeral home and one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at Ripley Cemetery in Litchfield.
John Theodore Schmitz, the son of Theodore and Veronica (Wolbeck) Schmitz, was born May 10, 1936, in Todd County, Minnesota. He was baptized at St. James Catholic Church in Staples, MN and confirmed at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre, MN. John attended school in Sauk Centre. At the age of 18, John joined the National Guard, serving his country from 1955 to 1962. He received training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, Fort Knox, KY, and Camp Ripley in Little Falls, MN.
John married the love of his life, Betty Peterson, on November 7, 1959, in Alexandria, MN. They were blessed with three children: Debra, Richard, and Cindy. John and Betty initially lived in St. Joseph, MN, and moved to Litchfield where they raised their family. In 1998, John and Betty moved to a hobby farm near Watkins.
As a young boy, John developed a strong work ethic that carried him through life. He worked at Franklin Manufacturing in St. Cloud prior to moving to Litchfield in 1960. He then worked at Jennie-O Foods, Lee Trucking, and later Anderson Crane Company, until his retirement in 1999. Upon retirement, John was able to fully enjoy their hobby farm where he liked to tinker with machinery and care for their animals, with a special fondness for ponies. John was a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Litchfield. He was a family man at heart, and was very proud of his children and grandchildren, always looking forward to their visits.
John is survived by his wife of 62 years, Betty Schmitz of Watkins; son, Richard (Christy) Schmitz of Cincinnati, OH; daughters, Debra (John) Wendroth of Watkins and Cindy Grote of Crystal; grandsons, Joshua Schmitz and Zachary (Amy) Schmitz of Cincinnati, OH; great-granddaughter, Bonnie Rose; brothers, Edmund (Diane) Schmitz of Wichita, KS and Sylvester Schmitz of Hudson, WI; sisters, Mary Brenner of Little Falls and Matilda (Romie) Petermeier of Sauk Centre; sisters-in-law, Carol Schmitz of Litchfield, Myrna Schmitz of Darwin, and Marita Schmitz of Sauk Centre; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
John was preceded in death by his father, Theodore Schmitz; mother Veronica Schmitz; siblings, Bernard (and wife Margie), Wilfred, Edward, Edwin, Arnold, and two brothers and a sister in infancy; sister-in-law, Catherine Schmitz; and son-in-law, Tom Grote.