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Obituary: Schmidt, Errol E.

Age 69

SCHMIDT, Errol E. December 26, 1944- February 22, 2014 Errol was the devoted husband of, Robin Lee Schmidt for 46 years, the loving father of three children, adored grand- father of seven, and an inspiration to many more. He lived a rich, engaging and full life. He was born in Jamestown, North Dakota to Edward and Emma Schmidt and grew up in the small farming town of Lind, Washington along with his brother Elroy. He and Elroy shared a love of basketball and listening to Dodgers baseball on the radio. In high school he played every sport and that passion for athletics remained a big part of his life. Errol met Robin at Whitworth College where they both graduated with teaching degrees. At Whitworth he played basketball and always strove to be the hardest working player on the court. His smile caught Robin’s eye from the beginning. After six months of teaching in Hawaii, they settled into life in Spokane. They raised three children: Darby, Jake and Casey. They lived most of their childhood in the house that he and Robin built in the woods near Colbert. Immersing himself in fatherhood he enjoyed backpacking with family, skiing, shooting hoops and demonstrating good sportsmanship and compassion through intense games of croquet. Errol enjoyed leading bike trips with students, coaching his kids’ sports, running races including two marathons and listening to Mariners baseball games while doing yard work. Errol taught middle school math and mentored students for 35 years at Saint George’s School. His passion for teaching inspired him to offer free after school tutoring to the students. He coached the middle school girls’ basketball team for most of that time and helped lay the foundation for several High School girls’ state championships. He taught and coached with two philosophies: that everyone should enjoy the activity, and that all should be pushed out of their comfort level. By taking pride in each student’s success, and creating fun and challenging curriculum, the Saint George’s community all knew him as the heart of the school. He set aside the textbook and created his own math curriculum that the school still uses today. In 2005, the school named its new gym the Errol Schmidt Athletic Center after him in recognition of his dedication to the students. When Errol and Robin retired they moved to Indianola, WA on Puget Sound where he loved the beauty and climate of the Olympic Peninsula. After a series of inner city riots, this young man from a small town headed to Harlem to join the VISTA AmeriCorps program in the summer of 1966 and joined again the next summer in inner city Seattle. Giving back to the community, and providing activities for neighborhood children helped shape his empathy, generosity and desire to improve the lives of many. Teaching and coaching was one reflection of those traits, but they also showed up in the way he raised his children, and the way he treated everyone he met with warmth and compassion. Errol is survived by his father Edward Schmidt; wife Robin Schmidt; and three children: Darby (Chris), Jake (Celina) and Casey (Jennifer). He is survived by seven grandchildren: Colby, Maureen and Quinn Thompson; Dylan and Hannah Schmidt; Willow and Simone Schmidt. His mother Emma and brother Elroy preceded him in death. Donations in Errol’s memory can be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association and Smile Train which provides free cleft palate repair surgeries for children in developing countries. A service to celebrate Errol’s life will be held on April 21st at 4pm at the Indianola Club House: 20446 Indianola Rd NE, Indianola, Washington. A memorial will be held on May 10th at 4pm at Saint George’s School: 2929 W. Waikiki Rd, Spokane, WA. All are welcome for both celebrations.


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