PEORIA - John Frederick "Dob" Schmidt, 87, a lifelong resident of Peoria, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, at Clary Funeral Home, 3004 W. Lake Ave., Peoria, with Deacon John Murphy officiating. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, two hours prior to services at the funeral home. Following services, cremation rites will be accorded and there will be a private interment for the family at St. Mary Cemetery in West Peoria.
John was born on March 27, 1926, in Peoria, the son of John and Katherine (Barden) Schmidt. Early in his childhood, John was nicknamed "Dobbie" by his father, who said he was always "dobbing in the coal bucket" to get the coal that was used to heat the family home. "Dob" or "Dobbie" became his name, and it was by this name that he was addressed by almost everyone throughout his life.
Dob attended school at Roosevelt and then St. Patrick. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 24, 1944, at Fort Sheridan and served in Okinawa for more than a year with Battery A of the 749th Field Artillery Battalion, operating the 8-inch howitzer. The young corporal was proud to have served with Red Skelton, and the story of how the star shot a snake and saved his life was passed down to his children. Dob's military decorations include the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with one Bronze Star, the Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal, with two Overseas Service Bars. He was honorably discharged on April 12, 1946, from Jefferson Barracks, Mo.
Dob married Ruby Young in Peoria in October of 1950, and they were blessed with two daughters, Susan and Peggy. Dob and Ruby divorced, and he later married Juanita Fern Coleman on June 8, 1968, in Peoria. She died on Aug. 5, 2005.
Dob enjoyed his life as a truck driver and spent many years driving for Ruan, Melvin and Burlington.
He loved his daughters immensely and took every opportunity to visit with them both and their families, whether in Illinois or on numerous trips to Ireland, where Susie made her home.
Dob was a skilled craftsman and loved woodworking and carpentry. He shared his many puzzles, trinkets and gifts with all his friends and family. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren meant the world to him, and he was a huge part of their daily lives. Grandpa Dob attended their baseball games, plays and any of their sports activities. Although Dob was a friend to all, his best friend was his brother, Don, with whom he shared a special bond. He was also very close with his sister, Eleanor, and his nephews, Virgil and Phillip. Family tree was an important part of his life, and he and his niece, Debbie, spent many years "prowling the cemeteries," as Dob referred to it. "Lawrence Welk" and "The Golden Girls" were among his favorite television shows, and he always made sure to watch them. He was fascinated by war movies, specifically World War II, regarding the Battle of the Bulge, which claimed the life of his brother, Ervin.
Dob is survived by his beloved daughters, Susie Kennedy of Ireland and Peggy Lester of Henry; his grandchildren, Aoife Kennedy of Ireland, Merideth (Bob) Krafft of Henry, Johnathon Walker and his fiancee, Jessica Machroli of Henry and Mellissa Morgan Lester of Henry; great-grandchildren, Robbie, Mason and Skyler Krafft and Nathan Machroli, all of Henry, as well as Cian and Joni Stanley, both of Dublin; brother, Donald Schmidt of Bellevue; and nephews, Virgil (Pam) Urban of Creve Coeur, Phillip (Kathy) Urban of Peoria and Donald (Michelle) Schmidt of Bellevue; and nieces, Diane (Skip) Pierson of Bartonville, Debbie (Tim) Lequia of Mackinaw and Darlena (Lonnie) Pitsonbarger of Manteno.
Dob truly cherished his entire extended family and countless neighbors and close friends, the Coyle and Rafferty families and Bill Roberts, whom he visited frequently and cared for deeply. Dob's laughter, antics, jokes and stories will be forever missed by all who were blessed to have known him. He'll be sadly missed by friends in Peoria, Henry and Ireland.
In addition to his parents, Dob was preceded in death by his wife, Nita; eight siblings, Baby Mary Agnes in 1905, Harold in 1923, Ervin in 1945, Baby Elizabeth in 1924, Bernard in 1929, Cathryn in 1998, Bernice Perkins in 2000 and Elenor Urban in 2002; a special nephew, Frederick "Buster" Urban in 1980; his son-in-law, Larry E. Lester in 1996, his niece, Dorothy in 2013; and his lifelong friend, Mildred "Mil" Young in 2009.
Contributions may be made in John's memory to the Children's Hospital of Illinois at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
John's memorial website and online condolences may be accessed at www.ClaryFunerals.com.