Kenneth Schmitz

Kenneth Schmitz



Kenneth F. Schmitz, 83, of Arkadelphia, Arkansas and formerly of Ossian, Iowa died Thursday, January 23, 2020 at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at  11 a.m. Thursday, January 30, 2020 at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, Ossian, Iowa with Rev. Robert Gross officiating.

Visitation will be held from  3 to 7 p.m.. on Wednesday and for one hour before the service on Thursday at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Ossian.

K. C. Rosary: 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday by the Ossian Knights of Columbus Council #2073.

Scripture Servicewill be at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Interment will be at the  St. Francis de Sales Catholic Cemetery, Ossian, Iowa.

A Memorial Fund has been established.

A Memorial Service will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Arkadelphia, Arkansas at a later date.

Online obituary at

Kenneth Frank Joseph Schmitz was born on Saturday, November 21, 1936 in Decorah, Winneshiek County, IA the son of Philip Allen & Florence Antionette (Miller) Schmitz.  He was baptized and confirmed at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.  Ken attended St. Francis de Sales High School where he sang in the choir, loved art, was on the Spotlight Newspaper staff his junior and senior year and was in the play, Ghost Parade.  While in high school he won the “I Speak for Democracy” contest for northeast Iowa.  He graduated in the class of 1954.  He continued his education at the Minneapolis School of Business for one year, the University of Minnesota in interior design and calligraphy and at Upper Iowa College in Fayette where he played the part of Schultz in the play, Stallage 13

Ken caught the attention of Jane Donlon, in the Great Northern Railroad Depot in Minneapolis, MN by helping her with her luggage.  They began a conversation in a Vista Dome Railcar on the trip from Minneapolis to Prairie due Chien, WI. Following their courtship, Ken was united in marriage to Helen Jane Donlon on January 12, 1957 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader, IA with celebrant Msgr. Cletus Hawes.  They made their home in Ossian where Ken had joined his father, Philip, in the family business at Schmitz Furniture, Floorcovering and Funeral Home in 1956.  

Ken moved his family to Waukon where he managed Schmitz Furniture Store from 1964 to 1967.  The family moved to Clinton, IA for 7 years where Ken worked at Hearth & Home Furniture Store, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Armstrong Carpet-Timmerman Distributing of Davenport/Des Moines and Ozark Casket Company of Springfield, Missouri.  

By this time, Ken and Jane were blessed with eight children:  Maureen, Michael, Philip, Paul, Kevin, Kent, Lisa and Linda.  The decision was made in the fall of 1973 to return the family to Ossian where Ken would again work with his father in the family business.  Philip Schmitz died suddenly shortly thereafter, and the family moved to Ossian in January of 1974.  Ken and Jane along with Ken’s mother, Florence Schmitz, and their children, operated the family business in Ossian until 1989.  

Ken was very active in many community events with the Ossian Crown Club, including being chairman of Ossian’s 125th Centennial Celebration and many Crazy Day events and parades.  Ken and Jane then moved to Arkadelphia, Arkansas where Ken worked for Hardman Lumber from July 1, 1989 until he retired on December 31, 2016.  Ken was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Knight of Columbus 3rd Degree Honorary Life Member of the Arkadelphia Council # 6942 and the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Honorary Life Member of the Hot Springs Assembly #1892.

Ken had many interests in life.  His foremost passions were his Catholic faith, his family, mealtime gatherings, and television.  Ken adopted his father’s enjoyment of genealogy, stamp and coin collecting and passed that on to several of his children.  The Schmitz family camping vacations were filled with many favorite and not so favorite memories!  A very distant third, behind faith and family, was the television.  He loved movies, westerns, and he really like the Hallmark Chanel.  

Dad was very social, and he loved people.  He was never a stranger in a room.  Ken was always the last to leave church or any social event.  After his retirement at age 80, dad would invent errands to run so that he could be out with people.  In his work, Ken was very precise and mastered the knowledge of the various jobs that he performed.  You never wanted to ask a question about paint or floorcovering unless you had time for a lengthy answer.  He knew his stuff.  

He was intrigued by the lives of others.  The obituaries he wrote while working in the funeral profession were extensive.  They were the lead story on the front page of the Ossian Bee for years.  While working with bereaved families, he showed great empathy and gentle guidance.  Listening to his oral histories of people and events in his childhood wasn’t so great, but as time passed, you couldn’t get enough of his tales.  He was a wonderful storyteller and Ken enjoyed making others laugh.  Dad was always a kind man and that is a huge part of his legacy.  He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and friend and we miss him dearly.

Left to honor his memory are his wife of 63 years: Jane Schmitz of Arkadelphia, AR;

8 Children:  Maureen Nesvik of Arkadelphia, AR, Michael Schmitz of Arkadelphia, AR, Phil (Pam) Schmitz of Sioux Falls, SD, Paul Schmitz of Oelwein, IA, Kevin Schmitz of Davenport, IA, Kent (Diane) Schmitz of St. Joseph, MN, Lisa (Matt) Beecher of Davenport, IA and Linda (Michael) Raines of Arkadelphia, AR;  12 Grandchildren: Steven (Amanda) Nesvik of Calmar, IA, Jen Campbell of Clearwater, FL, Zachary Schmitz of Minneapolis, MN, Abigail (Joe) Bouska of Oelwein, IA, Elizabeth (Levi) Bostian of Cedar Rapids, IA, Margaret Schmitz (fiancé: Jake Engel) of Oak Park, IL, Mikayla Schmitz of St. Joseph, MN, Kandra Schmitz of St. Joseph, MN, Katie Schmitz of St. Joseph, MN, Emily Beecher of Cedar Falls, IA, Aleah Beecher of Ames, IA, Ben Beecher of Davenport, IA; 3 Great Grandchildren: Jaylee & Brinlee Nesvik of Calmar, IA and Cory David Bouska of Oelwein, IA;  Sister: Mary Lou Uhlenhake of Ossian, IA;  Sister-In-Law: Sharon Schmitz of Clinton, IA, many Nieces & Nephews & Cousins and the Donlon Family.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents, several grandchildren, brother: Karl Schmitz, Sr., Sister: Karen Hemesath and 2 brothers-in-law:  Ivan Uhlenhake and Jack Hemesath.




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