Leon Joseph Schmidt, child of God, died peacefully in his home in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida on July 30, 2020 at 93 years of age. Leon was born in 1926 in Nortonville, KS to Leo Peter Schmidt and Anna Eva Weishaar Schmidt. After making a home and raising five children together in Valley Falls, KS, Leon and his beloved first wife, Mary Lou, moved to Florida in 1984. They lived happily together in Apopka, FL until her sudden passing in 1992. There in Florida, he became a founding partner of Keenan, Hopkins, Schmidt & Stowell, an Orlando-based contracting firm specializing in commercial and industrial design and building projects. Among their many clients were Disney World Magic Kingdom, Disney Tour Studio, Universal Studios, Sea World, and Epcot Center. He later married a lifelong friend, Marjorie Hildebrandt Benson. They moved to Daytona Beach Shores together and enjoyed many happy years living and serving in the community there. They were active members of the local Catholic Church of the Epiphany where Leon took a great interest in managing and stocking the church’s Food Pantry. They were familiar faces around town, frequenting the Eagles Lodge, the Elks Lodge, and a few local golf clubs. Leon and Marjorie also kept a home near many of their respective children in Lawrence, KS. Marjorie passed away peacefully there in Lawrence in 2016, and Leon returned to living mostly in Daytona Beach Shores after her passing.
Leon is preceded in death by his two wives, Mary Lou Enright Schmidt, and Marjorie Lorraine Hildebrandt Benson Schmidt, his brother William Louis (Bishop Matthias), his sister Lucy Ann Walker, and his grandson Travis Thomas Schmidt. He is survived by his brother Jerome Paul, and by his five children: Stephen Leon, Michael Thomas (Gail Vessels), Susan Ella (Larry Shepard), Mary Katherine (Bill Simpson), and James Joseph (John Burns). He is also survived by Marjorie’s children: Nancy Benson (JT Bradley) and Patti Benson, and by his many loving grand- and great-grandchildren.
The family has chosen two organizations for those wishing to honor Leon’s passing with a memorial gift. The Food Pantry of the Church of the Epiphany in Port Orange, Florida was a big part of Leon’s life and personal ministry. Gifts to benefit the pantry can be made via the church’s website: https://www.osvonlinegiving.com/1800/Home/NewQuickGive. You may reach them by phone at (386) 767-6111 if you wish. The other organization chosen for memorial gifts is Maur Hill – Mount Academy in Atchison, KS. Leon attended school there as a boy, and his tuition was paid by an anonymous donor. Though he never learned who put him through school, he always spoke of his time there as a life-altering opportunity for him. Gifts benefitting their Tuition Assistance program can be sent to: Maur Hill – Mount Academy, 1000 Green St., Atchison, KS 66002. You may reach them by phone at (913) 367-5482 if you wish.