June 10, 1956 must have been a special night in Illinois. A little baby was anxious to arrive. He wouldn't wait for his mother to reach the delivery room - the bed would have to do. He had ideas of his own...it started young. They named him John Burton Schmitt.
John became a jack-of-all-trades by being his Dad's constant shadow. This continued when he found his passion for farming with LaVerne Haug, a good friend and neighbor. John felt at home tinkering; even new things needed his personal touch. John bought and helped on several farms in Wisconsin.
As a jack-of-all-trades, there wasn't anything John couldn't fix. He trained his new Amish neighbors in all the trades, which earned him the name "Captain". They in turn tried to temper his, shall we say, colorful language. Their community supported John during his illness, singing and playing musical instruments during their frequent visits. On one special occasion, 27 Amish children crowded into his front room singing Christmas carols for John. He didn't feel well that day - in pain and on the couch, but the caroling youngsters brought a light to his eyes and a smile to his face.
John was not a "materialistic" person, but we never knew anybody who had so much "stuff." He wheeled and dealed for most of his "treasures." He hated to part from most things. He'd often proclaim, "In 20 years, I might need that."
A jack-of-all-trades wasn't his only quality, he even became a "Reverend" -- bought off the internet! However, we won't claim he was a Saint but he was an immensely loyal friend and there was no stranger he wouldn't help.
John always had his share of animals. Who could forget his pet pig Melvin and the dogs that had their own place setting at the dining room table. His last and special dog, raised from a puppy, was named "Hooch" who was his loyal companion. Hooch passed from her own cancer illness two months ago. Her ashes will be joined with John's at their final resting place.
There was no fight John would have backed away from. The only fight he lost was to cancer. It took two years, but the fight gave him precious time to spend with family and friends. His death was peaceful, surrounded by loving family members and Milford playing gentle music while he passed. John will be missed by everyone who enjoyed his uniqueness...a true diamond in the rough.
He is survived by his mother, Clara, two children, Kristin and Brandon (Aubrey), two grandsons, Bailey and William, a devoted son-in-law who became his best friend, Tim; eleven brothers and sisters, and many family and friends. He now joins his dad, Louis, and his brother, Ed, who welcome him home, and also by his Aunt Katie, who was special to John. She always told John not to worry about heaven - that if she went before him, she would drop a rope down and pull him up to heaven before anyone would notice.
So long our Reverend John. Until we meet again, grab that rope and watch your language! LOL!!
A Celebration of Life will held on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm held at Good Fellas Tavern, 109 S. State St, Argyle, WI.
Sympathies can be sent to: John Schmitt Family, 8511 E Lamont Rd, Darlington, WI 53530.