'A very committed person'

Man formerly from area killed while volunteering in Hurricane Rita region

Man formerly from area killed while volunteering in Hurricane Rita region

November 22, 2005|by TARA REILLY


Raymond Schmidt grew from a child who attended Lincolnshire Elementary School and played baseball for a Little League team in Halfway to a man who loved his church, family and serving those in need, his father said Monday.

On Nov. 14, the former Washington County resident died while volunteering in an area hit by Hurricane Rita.

Schmidt, 49, was killed in Port Arthur, Texas, when a porch collapsed on him, his father, the Rev. Kenneth Schmidt of Williamsport, said Monday.

"He was a very committed person," Kenneth Schmidt said. "He was committed to his church and to his family. He was the kind of individual who gave 100 percent-plus in terms of what he was doing."


Raymond Schmidt was living in Midlothian, Va., and volunteering with Samaritan's Purse International Relief, a Christian organization headed by Franklin Graham, when the accident happened, Kenneth Schmidt said.

"They were working on a porch that had partially collapsed during the hurricane, and he was under the porch when it collapsed on top of him," Schmidt's father said.

Raymond Schmidt was born in Fort Wachuka, Ariz., but the family moved to Washington County in the spring of 1963 when Kenneth Schmidt became pastor of Virginia Avenue Baptist Church in Halfway, Kenneth Schmidt said.

The family lived in the area for about 6 1/2 years.

Raymond Schmidt graduated from The College of William & Mary and later worked as an accountant. He eventually started doing contracting jobs and then took on the role full time.

He worked as a general contractor for his business, Arizona Ltd., his father said.

Kenneth Schmidt described his son as an honest man. He said one of his son's business acquaintances commented at the memorial service that Raymond would rather take a business loss than compromise that honesty.

"He was a man of strong Christian faith and moral commitment," his father said.

Raymond Schmidt is survived by a wife, Josephine; children, Lauren, who works for Ralph Lauren in New York, Paul, a student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., and Becky, a senior in high school; and brothers Paul and Richard.

Richard had been working with his brother at the time of the accident, their father said.

Their mother, Louise McCann Schmidt, died in October 1998. Kenneth Schmidt returned to Washington County in 2002.

Kenneth Schmidt said his son loved to play racquetball, golf, tennis and coach baseball.

He recited words in his son's obituary when asked to describe Raymond's life.

"Our father was a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. We cannot imagine a man with a more beautiful love for his wife and family," he said.

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