Alton Arno Schmidt, 87, of Richland died Jan. 15, 2002 at St. Elizabeth Health Services.
At his request there will be no formal service. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be scheduled in the spring when the wildflowers bloom on the Bear (Bare) Walla (Waller) Hills.
Alton, known as “Skip,” “Skipper,” “Alt” or “Smitty,” was born June 7, 1914, in Pine Valley. He was the only son of Louis and Maude Schmidt. He attended school at Clear Creek and Pine Valley High School at Halfway. He was proud of his “cradle roll” in the Presbyterian Church and used to sing and whistle solos in both the Presbyterian and Christian churches of Halfway.
If anyone would ask Alton what his occupation was, he would respond, “I’m just a doodle dasher.” This was surely a modest impression. His many lines of work included ranching, furniture manufacturing, Boeing Aircraft construction, heavy construction (Detroit Dam Powerhouse concrete foreman) and framing and finish carpenter.
A creative and imaginative problem solver, Alton never lacked for a project, from making his small sister tea sets from clay mud while sheepherding, to building his family a home from start to finish at West Linn.
He loved gold mining, gardening, tinkering, singing and whistling. Alton found happiness in the small humble pleasures of life, such as laughing or getting somebody else to, with his quick wit. He enjoyed life and found beauty in every day.
His positive perspective saw him manage being disabled since 1982 when he punctured his spinal cord in an arthritic neck. This began limiting his mobility until in later years he was in a wheelchair full time. In all that time, he never lost his positive outlook and would still cook for his daughter so her “day wouldn’t seem so long.”
His family made this tribute to him: “Thank you, Papa, for all the caring, sharing and love.”
Alton was a loving husband and supportive, teaching parent.
Survivors include his wife, Norma Jean of Portland; his sisters, Edrie Wells of Halfway and Louise Morgan of West Linn; his daughter, Laina Kay Chandler of Richland; grandchildren, Joshua and Jeremiah Sprague and Troy Schmidt; great-grandson, Landon Sprague; and numerous other extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Wilma Cox; a son, Larry Alton Schmidt; a niece, Naomi White; and a nephew, Patrick Wells.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Richland Ambulance through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, February 15, 2002
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor