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Schmidt, John F. (1909-1997) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Schmidt, John F. (1909-1997)

Historical Note:

Born 14 December 1909, Newton, Kansas. Parents Jacob B. Schmidt and Elizabeth Penner.

<em>Mennonite Weekly Review</em> obituary:

John F. Schmidt, 87, a historian, teacher and journalist who served at Bethel College for 34 years, died April 19 at Newton Medical Center.

Schmidt joined the Bethel staff in 1947. As the first archivist at Bethel's Mennonite Library and Archives, he set the pattern for the archives of the General Conference Mennonite Church.

When Schmidt retired in 1981, historian Robert Kreider, who worked with Schmidt at Bethel, described him as "a keeper and a transmitter of the memory of a people."

Through the years at Bethel, Schmidt was professor of speech and journalism, editor of the Bethel College Bulletin, director of information services, curator of the Kauffman Museum and assistant editor of Mennonite Life, published by the college. He wrote articles for the Mennonite Encyclopedia, Mennonite Quarterly Review and other periodicals.

Before coming to Bethel, he was a minister for 26 years in Mennonite and Congregational churches in Kansas and Colorado.

Schmidt directed Civilian Public Service camps in Marietta, Ohio, and Fort Collins, Colo., from 1941 to 1943.

His civic and community activities included serving as a city councilman and mayor of North Newton. He was a member of Bethel College Mennonite Church.

One of his interests was genealogy and helping people find information on their background and ancestors.

He was a native of Newton and a 1935 Bethel graduate.

He married Selma Penner on Sept. 5, 1936, in Hillsboro. She survives. Other survivors include a son, Howard of Newton; three daughters, Lynette House of Vineland, Ont., Angela Boho of Kildeer, Ill., and Delene Schmidt of Newton; two grandchildren; three brothers, Tobias, Aaron and Anton; and a sister, Elsie.

Sources: GRANDMA database

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