Melvin Schmidt was born Dec. 23, 1925, on a farm west of Marion, S.D., to Abraham and Sarah (Duerksen) Schmidt. He attended country school for eight years, then farmed at home with his father, and harvested his first crop at age 17.
He was baptized at Bethesda Mennonite Church and became a lifelong member.
Melvin was united in marriage to Delora Ensz on Dec. 26, 1945. They farmed in the Parker, S.D., area until 1994 when they moved to Marion. Melvin continued to farm and skillfully handled farm equipment until age 90. He still oversaw and managed his crops until this fall, which would have been his 75th harvest. Indelibly etched in his memory were the grinding poverty and hard times of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, yet his stories of humor and drama entertained generations of his descendants. He loved the rhythm of planting, growing, and harvesting. His later years were fulfilled with family and the observation of that rhythm. Delora died in 2006, and he lived independently in his home until the last few months.
Melvin passed away in the Tieszen Memorial Home on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.
Left to mourn his passing are daughter Bonnie (Tim) Burkey of Milford, Neb. and sons Larry (Jan) Schmidt of Parker and Roger (Nancy) Schmidt of Freeman, S.D. He is also survived by grandchildren: Brant (Dawn) Burkey, Krista (Steve) Yutzy-Burkey, Kendra Burkey and husband Nathan Bartel, Justin Schmidt, Lacey (Mike) Hommerding, Trevor Schmidt, Abby (Erik) Newcome, Bryce Schmidt, and nine great-grandchildren; sisters Delsie Van Westen and Doris (Art) DeHoogh; and many nieces and nephews. Melvin was preceded in death by his wife Delora, parents, and siblings Ella, Lloyd, Edna, Arnold, and Clarence; and an infant granddaughter, Jennifer Schmidt.
A time of remembrance was held Saturday, Oct. 6 at Bethesda Mennonite Church in Marion, with the Rev. James Koller officiating. Music was provided by Sandy Schmidt and Del Schmidt. Pallbearers were Melvin’s grandsons: Trevor Schmidt, Bryce Schmidt, Justin Schmidt and Brant Burkey. Interment was in the Tieszen Cemetery in Marion.