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Gary Richard Schmidt

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Gary Richard Schmidt Gary Richard Schmidt passed away peacefully on February 12, 2012 after courageously battling aggressive colon cancer for nearly a year; his loving wife of 43 years, Leslie Lentz Schmidt, was by his side. Born in Houston on January 16, 1946, Gary was the youngest son of Dr. Larry and Mrs. Ida Schmidt. He graduated from Bellaire High School in 1964 and received his BS degree in Industrial Technology from Texas A&M in 1968. After graduation, he went to work at Tracor in Austin and met Leslie. They were married in 1969, and from that day forward they shared all of life's joys and sorrows, friends and family as a devoted and inseparable team. Gary was a technology junkie from age 10, when he became one of the youngest General Class amateur radio operators in the U.S., embarking on a hobby that would sow the seeds of friendship around the globe. As W5ZL, he and Leslie traveled and visited with other "ham" operators whom they had met over the airwaves in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and many states in the U.S. Gary was an exceptional high-speed telegrapher. During the International Geophysical Year in 1957, when he was just starting junior high school, he served as an official communications relay operator for the American expedition in Antarctica. His favorite ham activities were international competitions. In 2009 he participated in the High Speed World Championships in Bulgaria as a member of Team USA and he was selected as a judge for the World Radiosport Team Competition in Moscow in 2010. Gary's other leisure-time passions were sailboat racing with the Austin Yacht Club, golfing, and Aggie and Longhorn sports. Gary's love of high-tech formed the backbone of his professional career. After an engineering stint with Martin-Marietta in Littleton, CO, he returned to Austin and co-founded River City Productions, Inc one of the first companies in Austin to implement PC-based video production methods. RCP produced many prize-winning documentary and corporate videos. After selling RCP in 1992, Gary consulted in the area of business product development and served as Director of Product Development for SMRC. At the time of his death, he was Chief Operating Officer for Amethyst Research Corporation based in Ardmore, OK. Gary is survived by his devoted wife, Leslie, brother and sister-in-law Phil and Donna Schmidt of Austin, sister and brother-in-law Diane and Mason Lilly of Issaquah, WA, Leslie's mother Betty Lentz and sister Jacquelyn Lentz of Austin and brother Fred Lentz of Dallas, as well as numerous nieces and nephews throughout the U.S. He will be greatly missed by his global community of friends. A celebratory observance of Gary's life will be held at a future date. Details will be announced as they become available. The family wishes to thank the staff of Hospice Austin and Christopher House for their compassionate care during Gary's final days and to CaringBridge.org for providing him the means to communicate regularly on his progress. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to these organizations or to your .
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Feb. 18, 2012
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