William F. Schmidt Jr., of Lower Gwynedd, passed away on Thursday, March 4, 2021. He was 96 years old. William was the beloved husband of the late Marjorie H. Schmidt (nee Hedderson) with whom he shared 60 years of marriage. Born in Philadelphia, he was a son of the late William F. Schmidt Sr. and Evelyn (nee McCollum) Schmidt.
Bill is survived by his children, Nancy Mihok (the late Fred), Jan Derby (Dwight), and David Schmidt (Janis); his 9 grandchildren; and his 23 great grandchildren. In addition to his wife and parents, he was predeceased by his siblings, Jeannette and Royden Schmidt.
Bill humbly served his country in the United States Navy during World War II as an electrician on an LST in the Pacific theater. In his later years he authored a book of his wartime experience entitled “As I Recall,” in which he detailed not the specter of war nor the detail of battles and campaigns, but the very human aspects of life aboard ship and the young men who answered the call to serve their country. Returning to civilian life, he was quick to marry Marge and find employment with the Bell Telephone Co of PA, where he would work for the next 35 years. With the responsibilities of a growing family he worked hard, advancing within the phone company through a succession of vocational and management positions. Bill also enjoyed public speaking and was a community speaker for AT&T’s introduction of Telstar, the world’s first telecommunications satellite. In retirement he worked part-time as an employee at Jenkintown Hobby Shop, and enjoyed service as a volunteer at the Franklin Institute Science Museum.
Bill was an active member at Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church in Hatboro for over 70 years and served in many leadership roles including terms as Chairman of the Official Board, Sunday School Superintendent, and service on various other committees throughout the years.
Anyone who knew Bill also knew of his love for trains; he enjoyed railroading of every scale and kind. Beginning with his first Lionel train as a child, Bill developed a lifelong interest in model railroading and built an extensive HO layout in his home. He had a special interest in steam locomotives, and volunteered as a crew member on live steam excursions with the High Iron Company in the 1960’s. He was particularly proud to have served as a conductor for the 17-day cross-country Golden Spike Centennial steam excursion in May of 1969.
With so many interests and commitments in the course of his lifetime, Bill would still be quick to acknowledge that his greatest joy throughout the years was always the enjoyment of family. He was a loving husband and father, but also delighted in his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, remembering them all in his prayers and affections.
He will be sorely missed by many!
Relatives and friends will be received by Bill's family after 10:00 a.m. in Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church, 300 S. York Road, Hatboro, until the time of his memorial service at 11:00 a.m. His interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in William’s name to either the Spring House Estates Samaritan Fund, ℅ Acts Legacy Foundation, P.O. Box 90, 375 Morris Road, West Point, PA 19468 or online, or to Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church, 300 S York Rd, Hatboro, PA 19040.
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