William "Bill" Schmich

Artist William "Bill" Findlay Schmich, 57, a member of the Colorado Coalition of Artists (CoCOA) nonprofit arts cooperative and art gallery in Fort Collins, died Friday, January 4, at his home in Fort Collins, Colorado, after a bout with colon cancer. Born on May 16, 1955, in Savannah, Ga., he was the second child and first son of F. George Schmich and Mary Ellen Findlay Schmich. His middle name was Findlay, his mother's maiden name, and he took that seriously - the Southernness of his mother's heritage and his mother's artistic temperament. He began drawing in grade school. No one else in the family drew, but he was dedicated to it from an early age. Reared mostly in Georgia, he went to high school in Phoenix, then moved in his late teens to Trail, Oregon, a burp in the road, to paint. He wound up going to the University of Oregon and majoring in art and meeting his wife Eloise. He moved to London, England, for a while and with some friends tried to start a magazine. If Bill had his way, he would have been a full-time painter. He lived in San Francisco for a while after college. In his early 30s he and Eloise moved to Chicago, where he worked in an ad agency. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to Portland, Oregon, where their first son, Jasper, was born. Within a couple of years they had moved to Fort Collins, near Eloise's family, had a second son, Ivan and that's where he lived the rest of his life. He was a voracious reader and keen student of the news. Until close to the end of his life, he read a lot. He especially liked novels. People called him quiet and gentle, but he was also a very determined and focused person. He loved to cook-particularly loved to bake bread-and had dozens of cookbooks. He ordered special flours for his breads online. The kitchen was his kingdom. He continued to cook for his family sometimes even after he could no longer eat. Bill was a loyal, hard-working master of the Internet during his time as Internet Manager for Lehman Communications. He dragged the company into the 21st century by introducing video and multimedia to its four newspaper websites. Bill was the primary force behind the development of the newspaper websites at Loveland, Longmont and Canon City. Website functionality along with the marriage of news content and advertising opportunities were all in his area of responsibility. Website design was of special interest because he wanted things to work efficiently and be attractive to readers. Bill took his work so seriously and always wanted to find ways to do it better. He loved the video and storytelling aspects of it and wished he could be more creative in the job. Bill was a master video storyteller, a coding wizard and a wonderful coworker and friend who cared deeply about his colleagues. Despite the demands of his work, he always continued to paint, in a little studio in his basement, though never as much as he would have liked. After he got sick, he regularly went to an art class in that little gallery in downtown Fort Collins; he cherished the friendships he made there. When he stopped working a year ago, he looked on the bright side and said he could now call himself a full-time painter. He looked to the future until almost the very end. Bill leaves behind two sons, Jasper George Riley Schmich Kinney and Ivan Bernard Findlay Schmich Kinney; his wife, Eloise L. Kinney; and dogs Oliver and Tugg Speedman; siblings Mary, Michael (Ehda), Chris, Joe (Tina), Andrew (Karren Madson), Melanie, and Gina; siblings-in-law Majel Gardzelewski (Allen); Lisa Kinney (Rodney Lang); Bob Kinney (Claudia Huber); Todd (Cindy) Kinney; and Laramie Kinney (Matthew Harmon), his mother-in-law Dr. Phyllis Poe Kinney; and many beloved relatives and friends. Bill is preceded in death by his parents, F. George Schmich and Mary Ellen (Findlay) Schmich; his treasured aunt and uncle Mary Louise and Joe Wiley; and his brother-in-law I. Wayne Kinney III, who, like Bill, was a full-body organ donor. At the Youth Orchestra of the Rockies Sunday, 28 April 2013, 7:30 p.m. concert, maestro Thomas Blomster will be conducting a selection of the requiem he wrote for his father, Wes Blomster, in honor of Bill Schmich. Family and friends are invited to attend this concert, at the University Center for the Arts, 1400 Remington Street, Fort Collins, CO. Services will be held in the spring, in Eugene, Oregon, where Bill and Eloise met. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Bill's sons' college fund c/o Karren Madson, 1350 Lambert Circle, Lafayette, Colorado, 80026; or to Fort Collins' Youth Orchestras of the Rockies (P.O. Box 270396, Fort Collins, CO 80527).

Published in Longmont Times-Call on Jan. 31, 2013