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Kenneth Schmitz

Oct. 28, 1923-Aug. 29, 2009

Kenneth C. Schmitz, 85, of Park Rapids, passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 29, 2009 at Neilson Place in Bemidji, surrounded by his loved ones.

Kenneth was born to Leo and Caroline (Taskey) Schmitz on Oct. 28, 1923 at their home in Arago Township, Becker County. He grew up and attended country school in Two Inlets through the eighth grade. Following his schooling, Kenneth was drafted into the United States Marine Corps on Feb. 14, 1944. He completed his basic training at the marine base in San Diego, Calif. He then returned home to Park Rapids the first week in May.

Kenneth married RoseMary Eischens on May 3, 1944 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Two Inlets. He then returned to duty at the Marine Corps base in El Centro, Calif., where he trained to be an airplane mechanic.

Kenneth also traveled overseas on the U.S.S. Kittson during his service. He arrived on the Marshall Islands in January 1945, and served there until May. He then traveled to Saigon and Okinawa, where he served from May until September of 1945. From there he traveled to Kyusher, Japan, where he served from September until November of 1945. He then went on to Yokasuka, Japan, where he served from November 1945 until February 1946.

Kenneth was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps on April 25, 1946. Following his honorable discharge, Kenneth and RoseMary made their home in Park Rapids, where Kenneth gained employment with Knapp-Grover Plumbing and Heating; he continued working there for 37 years.

Kenneth and RoseMary were blessed with nine children: Thomas, James, Paul, Renee, Judy, Carol, Kathy, David and Mary.

Kenneth was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing and also doing woodwork. He was a big fan of the Minnesota Twins and spent many afternoons watching them from his living room armchair. He was a lifetime member of the Otto Hendrickson American Legion Post in Park Rapids, a 50 year member of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, and a member of the St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Park Rapids.

Surviving Kenneth are his nine children, Thomas (Jane) Schmitz of Detroit Lakes, James (Paulette) Schmitz of Detroit Lakes, Paul (Barb) Schmitz of Clearbrook, Minn., Renee (Roger) Niemela of Park Rapids, Judy (Tim) Ryan of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Carol (Stan) Lehrke of Vadnais Heights, Minn., Kathy (Mark) Wilkins of Park Rapids, David (Robin) of St. Michael, Minn., and Mary (Murray) Olson of Inver Grove Heights; 22 grandchildren; 22 great grandchildren; and 10 siblings.

Preceding him in death were his wife, RoseMary; his parents; two infant daughters; two infant grandchildren; and one brother.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1 at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids. A rosary led by the Knights of Columbus will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the funeral home. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to services at the church on Wednesday.

A funeral mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009 at the St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Park Rapids, with the Rev. Thomas Friedl officiating. Casketbearers will be Kenneth's grandchildren.

Interment will be made in the St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Cemetery. Military honors will be conducted by the Star of the North Marine Corps League. A luncheon will be hosted at the church following the service, for all to attend.

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