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Fred Schmer (1939 - 2013)

Obituary
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Fred Schmer

Fred Schmer

Estelline, South Dakota

Fred Schmer, Freddie to his family, husband of Mary Buckmiller passed away quietly February 9, 2013 at his home after a lengthy illness.

A Remembrance Reception and Celebration of Fred's life will be held for all family, friends, neighbors, and others who were touched in some way by Fred from 4-7PM on Friday, February 15th at the Ring Neck Hunting Lodge six and one half miles west of Estelline. A private family funeral will be held at Rude's Funeral Home in Brookings. Interment will be in St. Francis Cemetery in Estelline.

Frederick Arlen Schmer was born on September 17, 1939 to Fred and Lydia (Peppler) Schmer at Loveland, Colorado. He was baptized and confirmed into the Congregational Church. As a young boy he enjoyed participating in 4-H, riding horses, playing with his friend Robert Frank and eating his mother's wonderful "Germans from Russia" cooking. As he grew older he worked hard after school, weekends and summers helping his dad on the farm raising fat cattle, barley, and sugar beets and maintaining the flood irrigation system.

He graduated from Loveland High School in 1957. He graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Agricultural Engineering in June of 1961. He married Linda Collins in August of 1961 in Loveland. They moved to Brookings, South Dakota where Fred earned a Master's Degree at South Dakota State University. He was then employed by the Cooperative Extension Service as an Area Extension Irrigation Engineer working primarily in the Vermillion area.

After several years they moved to Bryan, Texas where Fred received a PhD from Texas A&M University in Agricultural Engineering in 1968. While at A&M he worked at the Water Resources Institute as a research engineer in Hydrology with Dr. Earnest Smerdon.

After receiving this degree he moved to Brookings again where he helped launch the Remote Sensing Institute on the campus of SDSU as Assistant Director and Comptroller in 1969. He and Linda divorced soon after.

While there he worked with the new science of Remote Sensing to solve agricultural and environmental problems from space using the Landstat 1 satellite and high altitude aircraft data. Later he developed the technique of using infrared film data to help national and local energy companies in a multitude of communities such as Seattle and Kansas City to local cities such as Pierre and Watertown. With the data collected by his team energy companies helped their customers save energy dollars by determining if there was significant roof top heat loss in their homes or businesses.

In 1973 he met Mary Buckmiller; they married in 1983. It was during this time he and Mary decided to make their dream come true so in 1976, both working full time, they purchased a farm near Estelline, SD.

But in 1983 the pull of the farm was too strong for Fred and he soon retired from the university to pursue farming full time. Mary joined his full time in 1989. He loved the day to day joys and problems of raising cattle and growing crops especially barley. He and Mary farmed side by side until ill health forced him to retire in 2009.

Like most farmers his passion was working from sunrise to sunset with his cattle and crops but he did love to fish and spent a great deal of time at the cabin on Lake Poinsett. His other passion was classic cars and loved talking about his El Camino and his '34 Ford.

Fred was active in the Brookings Elks Lodge 1490 and became a lifetime member. He served on the Board of Trustees for ten years.

Fred is survived by his wife of thirty years, Mary Buckmiller; his mother Lydia Lesser of Loveland, CO; a sister Nancy Graham and her two daughters Tane' and Tara and their families of Loveland; mother-in-law Lorraine Buckmiller of Sioux Falls; three brothers-in-law, Allan of Canistota, Bill of Mitchell, and Ryan Buckmiller of Hartford and their wives and families; a sister-in-law Lourene Moore and her husband and family of Mitchell; and many long time friends from Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota. Their friendship with Fred will long be remembered by his family.

He was preceded in death by his father.

Geise Funeral Home of Estelline is in charge of arrangements.

Published in The Argus Leader on Feb. 12, 2013
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