How is the evidence of our life measured, is it in numbers? Here are just a few of the numbers that make up the life of Joellen Schmidt. Years lived (85), siblings (2), years married (54), children (7), daughters-in-law (6), son-in-law (1), grandchildren (16), and a great-grandchild. Perhaps it’s measured in years of teaching (37), nominations for teacher of the year, or her induction to the Kansas Teacher Hall of Fame. When it comes to family of the heart, maybe it’s her countless friends, 25 exchange students hosted, almost 80 foster children cared for, or the many friends of her own children that always had a seat at the table and a bed to sleep in. What we know to be True is that evidence of a life well lived is found in those who love you. And in regards to Joellen Schmidt, the evidence is plentiful.
Numbers are just one way to measure life. However, for those that knew her, the numbers of Joellen's life scarcely compare to the life she lived. Joellen was born and raised in Yonkers, NY. Her optimism and spirit for travel began when she and several college friends took off for an adventure to teach in the wild-west known as Oklahoma City. It was here that she started her career as a teacher and met her husband, Jerald. After marrying they packed up, headed north, and lived the rest of their lives in Caldwell, KS. Joellen’s dedication to education came in many forms: classroom teacher, school board member, preschool teacher, special education teacher, activity sponsor, and junior high teacher.
Joellen sounds incredibly busy, yet you would most often find her 1) cooking for the hungry hordes in her home or 2) reading a book. In between those activities, she volunteered at St. Martin of Tours church, attended Caldwell Bluejays sporting events (you probably remember her as the patron saint of the south gate), and raised a thriving family of seven.
Joellen never failed to give her time, love, and attention to children. While raising their family, she and Jerald hosted exchange students right alongside their children. When each of those seven children left the nest, Joellen must have felt there was too much time on her hands because she and Jerald began life as foster parents. From young babies to teens, she and Jerald provided a home, love, and stability for many children. And they continued hosting exchange students (only this time in pairs). For many years, Joellen was a People to People sponsor and traveled the world with children. Summers were spent traversing countries around the world with junior high and high school students to build a sense of global community and service to one another.
Joellen was called by God to be a beacon of love, opportunity, and service, and she dedicated herself to those at the highest level.
Upon her passing, she was greeted by her husband Jerald, family members Helen Donough Gill, Patrick Gill, Margaret Gill, and countless friends and colleagues.
Evidence of her love on Earth is continued by her family: Martin, Jill, Jordan, and Dylan Schmidt; Kevin, Danielle, Kellen, Maddie, Karlee, Katie Jo, and Kassie Schmidt; Tim, Elena, Isaac, and Adelaine Schmidt; Dick, Shannon, Theron, Sierra, and Sienna Schmidt; Brian, Devon, Declan and, Jamie Schmidt; Kelly, Lamont, Aoife, and Loki Turcotte; Dennis, Sara, Jett, and Sophee Jo Schmidt; brother Kevin and Helen Gill; Kevin, Susannah, Max, and Rebeka Gill; Michael, Melissa, Meara, and Michaela Gill; Brian, Kim, Thomas, and Ian Gill; sister Maggie and Gary Benz; Eric, Holly, and Sophia Benz; Kirk and Kali Benz.
Rosary services will be held at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023. Mass of the Christian Burial will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, June 2, 2023, both at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church with Fr. Thomas Hoisington presiding.
Memorials may be made to the Caldwell High School Alumni Association or to the Catholic Charities and sent in care of the mortuary.