Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Albert Schmidt’s legacy stretches far and wide
By Shirley Jennings
Mar. 9, 2023 10:21 am
Editor’s note: This is the second part of the story that ran in the March 2 edition of the Beacon-News
Albert amassed a large collection of various kinds of glassware.
Judith Cline, a former Winfield resident, remembered that Albert had a great collection of glassware, this included cracker jars which he liked to share. He enjoyed telling a story about where he got each one.
He once quipped that his insurance company would not be happy to know he was taking some of his collections out to show to various groups. He brought items wrapped in bubble wrap and handled them with great care. Most people preferred to look, but not touch!
The war was in Albert’s past, but he had a reminder of his service hanging on his living room wall.
His comrades respected him so much they had presented him with a Japanese Officers sword that they had captured.
Iowa Wesleyan College hosted some Japanese exchange students and Albert met several of them while they were in Winfield.
He invited them to his home and explained how he had received the sword. The name of the officer was inscribed and visible so Albert asked the students if they would try to locate the family.
They agreed and much to Albert’s delight the family was found, Albert packed up the sword and returned it to its family. In May 2000, Albert got a tape from a Japanese News broadcast from the family thanking Albert for the return of the sword.
Cathy Lauderdale, who owned the Beacon at the time, said “You could just tell by his expression how moved and appreciative he was to have the family heirloom back to its proper owners.”
Judith Cline remembered him as kind and generous with his humor and acceptance of other.
These traits endeared him to people who were fortunate enough to have known him. Albert also had a serious side and when he set his mind to accomplish something, he usually accomplished it.
Albert had a gift of persuasion, and others could seldom win an argument with Albert.
He had an uncanny way of making people see things from his point of view. He was always willing to share his ideas and advice and people respected them.
Albert was instrumental in securing Sunrise Terrace Care Center for Winfield. He was treasurer of the founding committee to build the care center.
When it came to raising money, no one was better at it than Albert. He was able to persuade people to open their pocketbooks to help support a worthy cause.
Albert enjoyed attending dance recitals with the Carty’s when they went to watch their granddaughter perform in the Iowa Wesleyan Chapel.
While he enjoyed their performances, he did not enjoy the atmosphere in which they were held, and Albert, being Albert, did something about it. He donated money to IWC to completely renovate the chapel.
Today students and visitors can see the plaques placed in IWC recognizing the contributions Albert made to the college, which has been renamed Iowa Wesleyan University.
As Albert approached his 90s, age and health issues began to catch up with Albert.
John and Doris became eyes and ears for him and chauffeured Albert to and from Iowa City for doctors appointments.
Finally, complications from a hip issue made it necessary for Albert to enter Sunrise Terrace, the place he had helped establish so many years before.
Not one to dwell on self-pity, Albert took his outgoing and caring personality with him. Those qualities along with his unique sense of humor and concern for others soon made Albert a favorite of both staff and visitors.
“Albert was always so sweet. He always enjoyed seeing my daughter when I brought her into the nursing home as a baby,” said Emily Burguss.
He always greeted people with his warm smile, and he never tired of sharing stories of yesteryear.
A Sunrise employee recalled how Albert liked to advise people on the stock market.
“He checked it every day.”
He also liked to reminisce about the days he worked in his father’s meat market, describing him as a “sweet, generous man.”
Albert passed away in August of 2009 at the age of 92, leaving behind a trail of footprints in the hearts of the people who knew and loved him.
Before Albert passed away, he had consulted John about whom he wanted to receive his estate.
His first thought was the University of Iowa. However, after visiting with two representatives from the university he told John he, “was not going to give them a damn penny.”
Apparently, they did not see eye-to-eye with Albert as to how he wanted the money spent.
After further discussion with John, it with John he decided to give a generous donation of $1 million to IWC.
The money was used to establish a course of instruction entitled “Aspects of Investing” which had led to Albert’s financial success.
Ironically, the first person to be named as the inaugural holder of the Schmidt Chair was Mr. Herbert Schmidt, no relation to Albert.
To include all of the people and places Albert touched throughout his life would take a book.
His kindness, generosity, love for life and the people in it would be hard to duplicate.
As a friend of Albert’s and writer of a memoir about Albert, Bob Lindell (deceased) said it best. “He was well-respected as ‘giver’ of his time, talents and money. A Millionaire? Maybe on paper, but he would rather be a valued friend than labeled a ‘millionaire.’”
Thanks to all of the people who provided information for this article. Deloris Carty provided a wealth of information about Albert and their friendship.