LTC Erwin Augustus "Dutch" Schmidt II completed his tour of duty here on Earth on September 11, 2013. Dutch was born on March 1, 1934, to Erwin and Lila Schmidt in San Antonio, Texas. He was raised primarily in San Angelo. His love of science led him to study zoology at the University of Texas at Austin. As a graduate student, he worked in groundbreaking research studying the DNA of the fruit fly. He began a distinguished military career in 1959. He was the commander of the 191st Assault Helicopter Company in Dong Tam, Vietnam. Included among his many awards were the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster. He was once featured in Stars and Stripes for an innovative act of bravery that resulted in the rescue of fellow soldiers. After the military, Dutch started a repair business for exotic cars where he was happiest breathing life into a Jaguar or an Alpha Romeo. Dutch loved well engineered cars, happy tail-wagging dogs, his country, his Church, and most of all, his loving wife, Barbara. Dutch also loved astronomy and built many sophisticated telescopes and even had an observatory constructed in his back yard. In addition to Barbara, he leaves behind his brother Jack Schmidt, sister-in-law Rose; sister Gayle Butler and brother-in-law Henry. His children are Lynda Gayle; Gus and Carrie Schmidt; Bob and Darci Schmidt; Steven and Debbie Schmidt; and sweet Mickey, his youngest son. In addition he leaves behind grandchildren Brian, Zachary, Haley, Taylor, Susan and Helen, and two great grandchildren Mia and Hans. Services will be held on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM with a reception to follow at 11:00 AM at St. Marks United Methodist Church, 5555 Love Road. Inurnment will follow after reception at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the SPCA, or to El Paso Rescue Mission (915) 532-2575. Services entrusted to Martin Funeral Home West, 128 N. Resler Dr., El Paso, Texas 79912. www.MartinFuneralHomeWest.com El Paso's Star on the mountains will shine with special brightness on Friday, September 27, 2013. Many people have contributed to light the star in tribute to the late Colonel Schmidt. Next time you are star gazing, look to the western sky and if you squint just right, you should be able to see a star formation that resembles a tough-as-nails soldier sneaking treats to his dog? and just know that Dutch is patrolling the skies once again.
Published in El Paso Times from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2, 2013