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Obituary: Smith, Hilda Christine Schmidt

SMITH, Hilda Christine Schmidt Hilda Christine Schmidt Smith, 93, died on October 20, 2014, at Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan, Alabama.

Funeral services will be held 2:00 p.m. Thursday, October 23, 2014 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 105 Luther Way, Dothan, with Pastor Mark Kocsis officiating.

Entombment will follow in Gardens of Memory Cemetery with Byrd Funeral Home directing.

The family will receive friends at the church from 1-2 p.m. on Thursday prior to service time.

She was born in Manchester, Iowa on June 19, 1921.

She was a second-generation German-American, born into and instructed in the Lutheran faith.

Immigrating to the U.S. from Germany in the mid-1800s, her grandparents settled in rural IA.

They succeeded in farming and in having large families.

Hilda was one of nine children born to John August Carl Schmidt and Matilda Catherine Eiben.

Her father, John, died of Scarlet Fever when Hilda was eight years old.

Despite the difficult times that lay ahead for her mother, Hilda mostly talked of the wonderful memories growing up in IA.

She often said, “We didn’t know how bad it really was, mother always provided for us.”

After attending Earlville High School, Hilda moved to Chicago, IL at age 18, under the employ of the Kaplan family.

On October 14, 1941, Hilda married Donald Edwin Haag of Monona, IA.

Shortly after their wedding, Donald’s naval service took him aboard the USS Jacob Jones where he died at sea on February 28, 1942, after being torpedoed by a German U-boat along the Delaware Capes.

Hilda remarried Christmas Eve in 1943 to Gordon Merton “Red” Smith of Port Jervis, NY.

Hilda and Red’s joyful and laughter-filled family holiday gatherings were occasions to remember.

To this union, seven children were born.

Hilda and Red lived throughout the US and shared many adventures.

Red was an Air Force veteran serving in World War II and the Korean War.

After Red retired as Chief Master Sergeant, he and Hilda lived in Cheney, WA for several years before their final move to Dothan, AL in 1988 “to escape the snow.”

Hilda was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Dothan, AL.

She is best remembered for her humor, cooking/baking, storytelling, and love of family.

She was affectionately referred to by her grandchildren as “Hootie” and “GiGi.”

Hilda is survived by two daughters, Cheryl Breckenridge (Larry) of Dothan, AL; Kathy Dymalski (Richard) of Phoenix, AZ; and three sons, Craig Smith of Pendleton, OR, Mark Smith Ret.

MSgt USAF of Tacoma, WA, and John Smith (Jeannie) of Dothan, AL.

Also left to remember Hilda are 17 grandchildren: Stacey Ezell, Debbie Breckenridge, Larry Breckenridge, Jr., Michael Breckenridge, Shanna Kleinsmith, Lindsey Smith, Anthony Smith, Katie Perry, Courtney Perry, Senior Airman USAF Stephen Dymalski, Lanette Smith-Danburg, Crystal Rediske, Cherrie Smith, Christina Smith, Mikaela Smith, Leah Smith and Beth Kirkland; 11 great-grandchildren; and her sister Velma Burke of Earlville, IA.

She was preceded in death by her husband Gordon “Red” Smith, two children Deborah Perry and Michael Smith, granddaughter Michelle Dymalski-Mabry, five brothers and one sister.

A survivor of the Great Depression, the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964, and the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, Hilda held true to her name’s meaning: “strength from within.”

May we all carry a little piece of her strength forward BYRD FUNERAL HOME, Dothan, AL

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