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Harold Schmidt

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Harold Schmidt Obituary
On May 6, 2013 the Texas Hill Country lost one of its greatest stewards, Harold B. Schmidt. A life-long Kimble County rancher, he was known for his unconventional & innovative ranching & conservation practices. Born October 26, 1930 in Fredericksburg to David and Corinthia Schmidt, Harold rode to White Bluff School on horseback with his brother, Charles.

He graduated from Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio at the age of 16, earned a degree from Texas A&M in 1950 at the age of 19, joined the U.S. Air Force and earned his wings at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo in 1951. Harold was one of the youngest combat jet fighter pilots in the Air Force, flying 100 missions in his F-86 during the Korean Conflict.
He earned the following decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal w 3 bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Legion of Merit, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal. First Lt. Schmidt was honorable discharged June 1955.

Harold began his ranching career during the most difficult time, the drought of the '50's. He taught seven years at Harper High School.
Mentored by the late Sam Coleman, Dr. Henry Wright from Texas Tech and Dr. Bobby Ragsdale from Texas A&M, Harold began instituting high intensity, low frequency grazing techniques and in 1973 held the first prescribed burn in the Texas Hill Country.

Harold served as President of the Texas section of the Society for Range Management in 1988. His life-long dedication to conservation and range management culminated in Harold and his wife Joe receiving the following awards in 2001, Lone Star Land Steward for Texas presented by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Excellence in Rangeland Management Award, given by the Society for Range Management, the Statewide Land Steward Award, presented by the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

Harold is preceded in death by a grandson, LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt. He is survived by his children: Marilyn Wilson & husband Bob of Houston; David Schmidt & wife Teresa of San Antonio; Carolyn Esposito of Austin; Chrissy Heimann of Fredericksburg; his wife of 29 years, Joe Matthies Schmidt; brother Charles Schmidt and wife Peggy, sister Davene Jonas and husband Bill of Harper and foster son, Randy Kalka.

The family wishes to thank Myrna Neri for her compassionate care for the last two years.

Memorial services for Harold Schmidt will be 10 a.m., Wednesday, May 8th, in Memorial Presbyterian Church, with Rev. George Stewart officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt Professorship in History Scholarship @ TCU (www.heart ofpurple.com), Hill Country Memorial Hospice, or the .
Online condolences may be left at www.fredericksburg-funerals.com
Arrangements under the direction of Fredericksburg Funeral Home.
Published in Express-News on May 8, 2013
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