John Jay Schmitt
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John Jay Schmitt of Tallahassee, Florida passed away on April 17, 2014, at the age of 87. He was born on May 3, 1926 in Plainfield, New Jersey. John grew up in New Jersey with his sister Kay Nash [deceased] and brother, Arthur Schmitt, Jr. [Oregon]. His parents were Arthur Schmitt, Sr. from New Jersey and Helen Martha Schmal from Austria.
John served in the Merchant Marines during WWII and was stationed on four different Liberty ships. He returned to Garwood, New Jersey where he met his wife. In 1948 they moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he started a landscaping business. In the mid-1950s, upon completion of a large landscaping project for a newly constructed hacienda in northern Mexico, John began farming. Farming became John's passion. This led to managing farms and building produce packing houses throughout Mexico, Central America, Puerto Rico and the United States. John retired in 1998 after 50 years of dedication to the importance of sustainable farming and good husbandry of natural resources.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ardelle Sabedra Schmitt and four daughters: Karla Schmitt (Alan Strowd), Megan Schmitt Cleaver (Randolph), Mercedes Schmitt Carey (Robert), and Lisa C. S. Saavedra (Tim Rose); by seven grandchildren: Aimee Craig Carlson (Chip), Michelle E. Cleaver, Kyrn M. Craig (Emily), Rita J. Hughes (Rob), Samuel John S. Carey, Ricky M. Gale, and Helen Martha S. Carey, and four great grandchildren: Raelena M., Rebekah R., Ryliegh J., and Romann G. Hughes.
John was a man of immense knowledge, not only could he repair tractors and farm equipment, but he was a master carpenter, a gourmet cook, and an accomplished baker. He could design and construct houses, irrigation systems and stained glass windows. His artistic ability was bountiful, his keen intelligence could solve any problem he faced, and his energy was irresistible.
He was a truly unique individual with the crisp analytical mind of an engineer, but with a deep and enduring connection to people. He taught all of us the true meaning of love and showed us the importance of family time and the sharing of a great meal made together. For most of his life he was an avid Amateur Radio Operator, with contacts worldwide.
Our earliest memories of our Daddy are of helping him in the kitchen and going to work with him. His many stories, reminisces, the tunes he whistled, his wit and sense of humor entertained us and we always were eager for more. The lessons we learned were the love of family, to always give 100%, the right person will notice, and to always have faith.
Since his retirement, he was the sole caregiver for his disabled wife; this loving attendance allowed for a better life than she could have hoped. Even as challenging as that was at times, he still found time to mentor and tutor youngsters learning English as a second language.
John's generosity touched many. His kindness and love will remain with us always.
Private funeral arrangements by Beggs Funeral Homes, 3322 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee, FL 32311, (850) 942-2929. A special thanks to James Sircy.
The family has requested no flowers; however, donations may be made in his honor to
, Memphis, TN.
Beggs Funeral Home - Apalachee Chapel
3322 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32311
Published in Tallahassee Democrat on Apr. 27, 2014