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Obituary for Thomas John Schmidt
Thomas John Schmidt
June 6, 1959 – June 25, 2021
Thomas John Schmidt entered this world in Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach, Oregon on June 6, 1959. His parents were John Thomas Schmidt (Smitty, the Barber) of Mandan, North Dakota and Vivian Clara Henkes of Stenen, Saskatchewan Canada. He was the youngest of three children. His oldest sister, Shereen Scheuneman currently resides with her husband Gus in Longwood, Florida. His older sister Pam Bay (deceased) was a long-time resident of Myrtle Creek, Oregon.
Tom was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Gold Beach, which his family helped build, until he became a member (with his sisters’ blessings) of Bethany Lutheran Church of Gold Beach in 2003. He was an SDA Pathfinder and a member of the wrestling and football teams at Gold Beach High School where he also played the trumpet, trombone, harmonica, and guitar.
He had many jobs growing up including picking berries, stringing crab pots, logging for various outfits in Curry County, longshoreman with his dad in Curry and Coos Counties, banking in Portland, and produce manager in Northern California. Most notably, he became an excellent chef and worked for various restaurants in Gold Beach (Spadas, Spinners, The Riverview restaurants) and Pappy Gander’s in Merrill, Oregon; but the job he loved the most was when he became the best Dietary Cook at Curry General Hospital from March 1, 2005 – May 19, 2021. He prepared the meals with love and nourished the souls of many patients and family members, staff, visitors, and residents of Curry County through the Hospital’s Curry Café.
Tom has three amazing children, Robert (42), Brianna (36), and Heather (35), and a great stepson Scott (41). He has six beloved and wonderful grandchildren, Austin (20), Paige (12), Maci (11), Seth (11), Dean (7), and Adie (5). He also loved spending time with his sister Pam’s son, Kevin (42), and her grandson, Austin (13), and her granddaughter Becky (21).
Tom met the love of his life, Laura, who had just arrived in Gold Beach from the East Coast on June 16, 2003, on a blind date set up by Rita at the Fairgrounds Halloween Party, Saturday, November 1, 2003. It was love at first sight for the costumed San Francisco’s 49ers fan and the sexy witch. He proposed to Laura on November 1, 2004, had their engagement party in 2005, and was happily and forever married on June 3, 2006 at Bethany Lutheran Church.
Tom followed in his dad’s footsteps (who was a volunteer Gold Beach Firefighter and Fire Chief in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s) and became a Firefighter and First Responder in Gold Beach from 2003 to 2016. He loved the commitment, training, and responsibilities of being part of the team. He loved working with the kids at Riley Creek Elementary School doing Fire Safety events, he was the best “Ham Man” cook at the annual Firefighter Breakfast Fundraiser, and especially enjoyed driving the firetrucks at the annual Curry County’s Fair parade and helping to set off the July 4th Fireworks at the Port of Gold Beach.
Tom loved music and must have attended well over 500 concerts ranging from 50’s music all the way up to the current hits. But what Tom and his wife Laura enjoyed the most besides kayaking, camping, singing in the church choir, and their animals was fundraising for local charities especially groups that helped children. Tom helped set up, clean up, advertise, participate in, and helped prepare the best food for fundraisers that included Curry Cares for Kids (a local dental program); Gold Beach Snack Pack Program, Wally’s House, Gold Beach Youth Fund; Summer Camp for Developmentally Disabled Children and the list goes on and on.
Tom, through Bethany Lutheran church, Thrivent, and the Bar None Group of Gold Beach (which he was a member since 11/12/2003) also helped with activities that included Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day Luncheons, St. Patrick’s Day, Campouts, Thanksgiving, Christmas Parties, AYG (Adult Youth Group) functions, Assemblies, and that list goes on and on as well. Tom was always there with a helping hand and a well-cooked meal!
Tom’s Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, August 28, 2021 at 2:00pm at the Bethany Lutheran Church’s Youth Education Building. The service will be from 2 to 3pm with a potluck and memory sharing following at 3:00pm. Please bring fresh fruit, veggies, salads, and dips in honor of Tom’s dietary lifestyle changes. Parking will be at the Curry General Hospital’s parking lot. In lieu of fresh flowers and to honor Tom’s commitment to service, please donate to Wally’s House (PO 1845), or the Gold Beach Snack Pack Program (PO Box 377), or the Gold Beach Youth Fund (PO Box 267) all three of these non-profit organizations’ addresses are Gold Beach, OR 97444.