Merle Schmidt of Olathe, KS passed away on Sunday, September 5, 2021 surrounded by his family.
Merle was born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD. After graduating from Washington High School in 1949, he took a position at International Harvester Company (IH). He was drafted into the Army and sent to Korea in 1952 where he served as the company clerk for the 17th Field Artillery Battalion. Merle was deeply moved and honored to be a participant in a 2016 Heartland Honor Flight through which he was able to visit various memorials in Washington, DC alongside fellow veterans.
After completing his military service, Merle returned to his sales and marketing position at IH’s Truck Group, where he met Dolores (Dee). They fell in love and were married in 1955. They were blessed with a marriage spanning almost 66 years. Merle was a devoted family man, caring and providing well for his dear wife and their three children: Pam, Sheri and Steve.
Merle’s 37-year career at IH took the family to various cities in the Midwest before they arrived in Olathe in 1980. Always looking for a new challenge, he trained as a tax preparer – assisting family, friends and their referrals with tax returns for 41 years. After he retired from IH in 1986, he worked in the accounting department at Sprint for 10 years. He was especially proud of the 14 years he worked part-time for Steve’s I.T. services firm, Tekniq Data Corporation.
In his spare time, Merle enjoyed a variety of activities including traveling, bowling, square dancing, golf and difficult jigsaw puzzles. He followed KU basketball and enjoyed watching the Royals and Chiefs.
Merle was a tireless volunteer in a wide variety of organizations. 2021 marked his 24th year as an ambassador at Olathe Medical Center and his 16th year as a citizen volunteer at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department. He was a long-time member of First Baptist Church in Olathe, where he served as Treasurer for 25+ years. Merle was also involved with the Olathe Clockwinders Optimist Club and, until recently, periodically assisted the Johnson County Election Office with voting machine preparation and Election Day logistics.
Merle was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Dee. He is survived by his three children, son-in-law Barry and daughter-in-law Jane. Also surviving are his grandchildren, Matt & Taylor, Allie, Lilly and Will and his great-granddaughter, Jillian, whom he met for the first time just before his passing. His family will miss him every day and intends to honor him by loving deeply, serving others, and laughing often.
The funeral will be held at 10am on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at First Baptist Church of Olathe, with a reception immediately following the service. The committal service, with military honors, will be held at 3pm on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at Oak Lawn Memorial Gardens in Olathe, KS.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions in Merle’s memory be made to either First Baptist Church of Olathe, 2024 E. 151st Street, Olathe, KS 66062 or an educational institution of your choice.