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Lieselotte Pruess Schmidt


1926 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Lieselotte Pruess Schmidt Obituary
1926 ~ 2017
Liselotte was born on December 30, 1926 to Richard and Rosalie Mertens Pruess in Hamburg, Germany. She stepped through the veil on March 9th, in the presence of her husband, Werner Richard Schmidt, her daughter, Sonya Bowman and her son, Jon Schmidt and his wife Michelle. She was preceded in death by her parents, three siblings, Richard, Siegfried and Lygia Pruess. She was also preceded in death by two of her children, Vernon Schmidt and Rose Anne Pingree, as well as a granddaughter, Anna Schmidt just five months ago. She is survived by her husband and her children, Sonya Bowman, Ralf-David Schmidt and Jon Schmidt. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law, Michelle Schmidt and her son-in-law, William Hayes Pingree. Her surviving grandchildren are Jennifer Pingree, Mark Pingree, Thomas Schmidt, Kathryn Rose Baird, Jonathan Schmidt, Max Bowman, Jake Bowman, Alec Bowman, Jason Sommer, Spencer Schmidt, Jonny Schmidt, Chris Schmidt and Sarah Schmidt. She is also survived by two sisters, Hilde Mueller and Helga Pratt.
Lottie, as she was affectionately known to all, was a modern-day pioneer. She bravely faced the trials of disease and death, as these all too frequent and unwelcome visitors stalked her family her entire life. Lottie was born at a time of recovery in Germany. These days would soon to be dashed in 1928 by the great depression. Aid for a recovering Weimar Republic was halted and the country descended into financial extremis. The new republic was only seven years old when Lottie was born and by the time she began school, the country faced a solemn and uncertain future; the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), known more commonly as Nazi's, took power in 1933. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from her birth, she was tested and tried by the assent to power of National Socialism. Her faith was forged in the furnace of war and destruction. Her oldest brother, Richard, was killed on the Western Front in 1944, and the family's home in Rahlsteht (a suburb of Hamburg) was destroyed during the firestorm bombing of Hamburg in July of 1943. As the raid came to a close, the bombers flew over the suburb and released any ordinance they still carried. The bombs fell on the Pruess home. All the family could save was their genealogy, their certificates of completion regarding education courses, and the piano; as they watched their home burn to the ground, they gathered around the piano and sang hymns of thanksgiving that no one was killed.
Lieselotte knew many young women and young men whose faith was challenged at this time. There were three members of her branch in particular that were singled out by the Nazi's for trial. It was a harrowing time for the branch as Helmuth Huebner was beheaded for his stand against the Nazi regime. The other two, Rudolph Wobbe and Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, were supported by church members during their time of imprisonment in concentration camps. Lottie was a beacon to them and Rudi Wobbe, after the war, eventually became Lottie's brother-in-law. She was brave and courageous in the face of terror and remained faithful to her principles. She was steadfast in standing for the truth; she was an example of dedication to these principles her entire life.
At the conclusion of the war, her homeland lay in ruins; she was well acquainted with a particularly high-spirited young soldier, Werner Schmidt. Like her, he was also a member of the Mormon Church. In 1945, he was drafted into the Wehrmacht and trained to be a Tiger Tank driver. At war's end, he returned to Hamburg from a prisoner of war camp in Belgium. Werner and Lottie would marry on September 10, 1949, in Hamburg. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple. They began to date after Werner returned from the West-German Mission, headquartered in Frankfurt. It was then that the urge to immigrate to the United States took root in their lives. They boarded a ship bound for the USA and after a five-day voyage they landed in New York. They then made their way to Salt Lake City and began life as immigrants. Werner started a small sharpening business where they also sold quality German cutlery. Lottie supported him at home where she became the secretary, taking orders and delivering product to satisfied customers. While they always prized their German heritage, they grew to love the United States and became naturalized citizens. Even as they would return to Germany later in life to serve a couples-mission, their love for the USA had become immovable. Lottie was very civic minded and was not bashful in sharing her views with others.
Lottie and Werner raised five children. Lottie was gifted in reading poetry aloud. She recited Schiller, Goethe and other German literary luminaries; she also had a love for music. Werner and Lottie instilled in their children a love of classical music and all of their children learned to play musical instruments. Lottie was a determined music coach and her children and grandchildren have become accomplished members of society; Vernon and Rose Anne, both accomplished vocalists sang with the Utah Symphony Chorus and founded the Vernon-Rose Choral, Rose Anne and Jon became accomplished pianists, Rose Anne becoming a primary accompanist for the Utah Symphony Chorus and Jon is a founding member of the PianoGuys, an international performing group. Sonya became a dedicated nurse and accomplished health care provider. She is a gourmet cook, as is Ralf-David, and has been a true blessing to her mother in these declining months. Ralf-David has continued his love for music and is a world-class older brother. Lottie gave birth to champions and she was extremely proud of her children and grandchildren. She most recently served with her husband as an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple. Lottie leaves a legacy of overcoming severe trials and in so doing she leaves to her posterity a love for music and art and a love for the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has been an example to all of us in many ways. She will be fondly remembered. A viewing will be held at the Edgehill ward, 1750 South 1500 East on Tuesday, March 14th from 7 until 9 pm. The funeral will be at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15th at the same ward. Interment at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.
Published in Deseret News on Mar. 12, 2017
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