Donald R. Schmidt

WYOCENA – Donald R. Schmidt was joined to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health via body donation program. He died on May 20, 2018.

Don was born June 25, 1926, the oldest of three sons of Adolph and Julia (Huber) Schmidt on the farm near Arlington, Wisconsin. He attended Arlington Grade School and Poynette High School, graduating in class 1944. He was senior class president. He was also FFA president. He played on the 1943 undefeated 6-man football team and was elected honorary captain at season’s end.

Don served his country in the US Army infantry from 1944-46 with the 96th and 86th division in the Philippines. He later worked at home and for a neighboring farmer until attending the UW College of Agriculture in Madison from which he received a Bachelor in Science in 1952 and Master of Science a year later. He worked seven years at the then UW Branch Experiment Station at Ashland as a field research agronomist.

In 1960, Don embarked on a career in international agriculture. His first assignment was with International Voluntary Services (IVS) in South Vietnam. It was there that he met his future wife, the former Narcisa Pulanco. She was a Seventh Day Adventist missionary nurse from the Philippines who cared for him while he recovered from hepatitis. They were married 15 years later at Katmandu, Nepal. While in Vietnam, Don described his work with IVS in a letter to friends back home. One of the latter showed a copy to Representative Henry S. Ruess. It was at that time congressional legislation was being formulated for the proposed Peace Corps. Rep.  Ruess in turn presented the letter on the house floor under the title “What Peace Corps Man Could Do Overseas” and was printed in the congressional record of March 3, 1961.

Don was an admirer of the life and work of Dr. Albert Schweitzer and had the privilege of being a working visitor at Schweitzer’s jungle hospital at Lamberene, Gabon. Don helped in the doctor’s vegetable garden.
He later worked in several countries in Asia and Africa. In between Nigeria and Ethiopia, he earned a Ph.D. in Agronomy from Cornel University in Ithaca, New York. His field research and teaching was dedicated to helping small holder subsistence farmers produce nutritious food for humans and nutritious feed for animals.

After the age of 60, he could no longer connect with a further international assignment and became a small holder farmer himself on a few sandy, stony acres in Dekorra Township. He mostly experimented with various fruits and vegetables which he shared with friends. Don was privileged to be a volunteer with the Portage Food Pantry and a Salvation Army bell ringer when able. He was a member of Portage American Legion.
Don was a long time member if the Evangelical – EUB - United Methodist Church at Arlington and Ashland. A few years ago he became a baptized member of the Portage Seventh Day Adventist Church in which he served as a deacon. Don recognized that he was a sinner who is loved by his God and assured by his faith that he is saved by the grace of God through the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. He shall join fellow believers to welcome Jesus on his glorious return.

He is survived by his loving wife Narcisa; his brother Conway, of Arlington, and his wife Mary, now in Tivoli Nursing Home; his nieces and nephews, Reynaldo, of the Philippines, Larry of Saudi Arabia, Margarita Huff of Arizona, Faye Elaine Baker of Onalaska, and Jay Scott Schmidt of Illinois, several cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Harland, and sister-in-law Erlinda Estabillo.

Instead of flowers please consider donations to the Portage Food Pantry at 405 East Howard Street, Portage, Wisconsin or Adventist Development and Relief Agency at 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, Maryland 20904 or any charity of your choice.

Memorial services will be held at Seventh Day Adventist Church in Portage on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at 9:30 a.m., with Rev. Justin Spady officiating. Burial will take place at a later date at Arlington EUB Cemetery.

The Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.  



For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)