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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Fred by adding your memories and photos.

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Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home

Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home
101 Gerkin
Gregory, SD 57533
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Memories & Candles

“I have memories with Fred & Vlesta at a SD family reunion in 1979 or sometime around that time. ”
1 of 10 | Posted by: Ronnelle Fortin (Skyberg-Seelke) - CA

“Our prayers go out to the Schmidt family to comfort you in your loss. As far back as I can remember, Fritz was a good friend of my Dad and has been...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: Ron and Kathleen Nikodym - KS

“I am very sorry and saddened to hear of Fred's passing. What a wonderful and fun friend, husband, father, grandfather, and son he was. I remember...Read More »
3 of 10 | Posted by: Marla Raftery - Trenton, MI

“My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. I will never forget the memories we shared while growing up. Mom and Dad always talked about...Read More »
4 of 10 | Posted by: Margo Jaros - Golden, CO - Friend

“So sorry to hear about Fred. Gerald and I were great friends to Fred and Vlesta. We enjoyed "biking", going to Carlock dancing and getting together...Read More »
5 of 10 | Posted by: Doris Jaros - Arvada, CO - Friend

“Our deepest sympathy in the loss of your loved one. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. My Mom and Dad were very...Read More »
6 of 10 | Posted by: Marsha Rocke (Jaros) - Columbia, MD

“Velesta & Family,God took another cousin home.He will be greatly missed by all.Our sympathy is with you during this time of your loss. Cousins Myrna ...Read More »
7 of 10 | Posted by: Myrna & Harold Zimbelman - SD

“Fred was a very nice man who was a joy to be around. He will be missed by many ”
8 of 10 | Posted by: Mark&Nancy Benter - Burke,, SD

“Our deepest sympathy in the loss of your husband and my cousin,Our thoughs are with you. Kenneth and Barbara Woehl [Babe] ”
9 of 10 | Posted by: Kenneth Woehl - Thomson, IL

“OUR DEEPEST SYMPATHY IN THE LOSS OF YOUR DEAR HUSBAND AND FATHER. OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS FOR ALL OF YOUR FAMILY. HE WILL BE DEARLY MISSED BY SO...Read More »
10 of 10 | Posted by: Al & Jean Pesek - Thornton, CO


Fred Henry Schmidt was born south of Colome on June 17, 1924 to John and Katie (Schrader) Schmidt. He passed away on December 2, 2012 at Avera McKennan Hospital due to post surgical complications. He was 88 years old.

When Fred was two years old he lived on a farm northeast Burke and later moved south of Burke. He attended country school and helped his dad on the farm. As he became a young man he enjoyed boxing especially matches on homecoming.

In June of 1943 Fred volunteered for the Navy and pursued his boxing while in the service. He was a Fifth Fleet Champion. He was aboard a rescue ocean tug "The Stallion" for some time. Fred was serving during the bombing at Pearl Harbor. He told of being on shore within 24 hours to see the devastation that occurred with the A bomb at Hiroshima. Upon his discharge from the Navy he returned to the Burke community where he worked alongside his dad. Fred was proud of his service and said he would do it again evident by his Navy cap he wore proudly.

He met Vlesta Anderson prior to the Navy and they started writing letters to one another. They were married on September 18, 1946 at the Winner Lutheran parsonage. To this union a daughter Kathleen Kay was born. As she grew up she became Dad's hired hand. He farmed north of Burke and worked at the Standard Station in Burke for Emil Nikodym, Eddie Pravacek, and then Marlin Green. Fred eventually moved his family south of Gregory were he continued raising cattle, hogs, and many other varieties of farm critters. His other farm time was spent with four grandchildren who helped with Grandpa's chores and Grandma's cookies.

Many Saturday nights were spent dancing at the Carlock ballroom where he and Vlesta danced many polkas, waltzes, and two steps. They belonged to the Wandering Wheels Motorcycle Club, cycling in and out of state for many years on his Goldwing motorcycle.

In 1989 Fred retired from the farm and moved into Gregory. Many knew of Fred at the Buches coffee shop where the stories were told and a few funny jokes of course. Coffee hour moved to Doug's Cove Café and then eventually to Gregory's.

During his retirement Fred and Vlesta enjoyed helping with the grand, great grand, and great great grandchildren where each child had their own shelf with special little collections of toys.

In later years Fred collected guns, pocketknives, and belt buckles. He enjoyed fishing with his granddaughter and great grandson. He belonged to the National Fishing Club.

He was a member of the United Methodist Church in Gregory and a life member of the VFW Post 9950 in Burke.

Fred was preceeded in death by his parents, John and Katie; three sisters, Florence, Esther, and Vivian; and one brother, Bob.

He is survived by his wife, Vlesta; daughter Kathy (husband Melvin Matucha); brother Duane "Jack" Schmidt; four grandchildren Lorie (husband John Raschke), Glorie (husband Glenn Atteberry), Lee, and Jesse; eight great grandchildren Michael (girlfriend Sarah Nabers), Paige (fiancé Brian Cruz), Ryan, Rose (husband Nate Massa), Zachary (girlfriend Monique), Thomas, Keva, and Dustin; and four great great grandchildren Triston, Trenton, Treydon, and Ofelia.

* * * * * * * * * *

Funeral services for Fred Schmidt were held Friday, December 7, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Gregory, SD with Pastor Royal Archer officiating. A prayer service was held Thursday night.

Music was provided by soloists Lorie Raschke, Rose Massa, and Geoff Smith accompanied by Barb Durfee, pianist.

Sylvia Warnkvist was in charge of registration and Val Lanz was flower attendant.

Casket bearers were Lee Matucha, Jesse Matucha, Michael Stevicks, Ryan Raschke, Zachary Albers, and Thomas Albers.

Interment was in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Gregory with military honors by the Burke Veterans of Foreign Wars.