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Leo Henry Schmitz, Jr.

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Leo Henry Schmitz Jr.

Leo H. Schmitz, Jr. passed away peacefully on November 6, 2022 at the age of 94.  Leo was born in St. Joseph, MO on February 23, 1928 to Leo and Emma (Kline) Schmitz.  He was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect causing him to be a “blue baby” which severely limited his physical abilities as a child, teenager and into adulthood until he had open heart surgery in 1981 at St. Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza in Kansas City, MO. 

Leo attended Immaculate Conception grade school and graduated from Christian Brothers High School in 1946 and St. Joseph Junior College in 1948.  He was employed with Hund and Eger Bottling Company in St. Joseph where he worked as a bookkeeper and warehouse manager in the beer department of the company for a year and a half.  Following his time there, he began attending the University of Missouri-Columbia from which he received a B.S. in Education and M.S. in Mathematics Education.  He held lifetime teaching certificates for Junior High Mathematics and Science, and for Secondary Mathematics.  He also attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from which he received his Master of Arts degree in Mathematics.  He held lifetime teaching certificates for Junior High Mathematics and Science, and for Secondary Mathematics.  Leo was a well-known math teacher in the St. Joseph area having taught at St. Joseph Junior College, Missouri Western State College, Mid-Buchanan, Everett School, Bliss Junior High School, and Central High School.  He began his teaching career in 1951 and retired in 1995 Professor Emeritus.  He continued to teach part-time at MWSC until the spring of 2000.  Leo served on several committees for the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.  He helped evaluate the mathematics program for several high schools in the area.  Leo held lifetime memberships in the Missouri State Teachers Association and the National Education Association.  He was a member of the alumni associations of the St. Joseph Junior College, Universities of Missouri and Illinois.  He always enjoyed meeting former students and was interested in what they had been doing since their school days. 

Leo married Mary Ann Wertin of Easton, MO on December 27, 1972 at Immaculate Conception Church in St. Joseph.  Leo and his wife lived their entire married life on a small farm near Helena, MO where they were members of Seven Dolors Catholic Church.  There he served on the church council and was a server at Mass, a Eucharistic Minister and a Lector and was active in church functions including the annual Hurlingen Picnic.  Leo and Mary Ann had two daughters:  Mary Elizabeth Porter (Jeff) of Grain Valley, MO and Anne Marie Schmitz (deceased).  Leo has three grandchildren who have provided much joy over the past 5 years – JoAnna Marie, Hunter Michael and Kalin Leo. 

Leo was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 571.  He served on the board of directors for the Twin Spires Museum, formerly the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, before it was managed by the St. Joseph Museum and later sold.  Leo enjoyed many hobbies:  playing the piano, listening to music of the 40s and 50s and country-western, taking home movies, astronomy, amateur radio, hunting, fishing, traveling across the United States and Canada and spending time at Big Lake with his family and friends.  He created an extensive and well-documented home movie collection and music record collection.  He also held a general class ham radio license.

Leo believed his marriage to Mary Ann and the births of his two daughters were his blessing from God and were the highlight of his life.  Leo was especially proud of his two daughters and his son-in-law, Jeff Porter, who all successfully progressed spiritually, academically, and professionally.  Leo credited his wife of almost 50 years, Mary Ann, for all she did to complete a loving and successful marriage and tended to him in sickness or when being disabled at times.  He also credited his sisters and brother-in-law, Bill Thedinga, for helping him overcome many sick times through the years.  He believed he would not have been as successful without the assistance of his supportive and loving family.

Leo was precededed in death by his parents, his daughter Anne Marie and sisters, Virginia Thedinga, Josephine Worth and Mary Przybylski.  He is survived by his wife Mary Ann, his daughter Mary Elizabeth Porter (Jeff), three grandchildren, JoAnna, Hunter and Kalin and several nieces, nephews and cousins.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Anne Marie Schmitz Memorial Scholarship Fund at Missouri Western State College or Seven Dolors Catholic Church.

Rosary 5:30 PM Friday, November 11th at Heaton-Bowman-Smith & Sidenfaden Chapel with a visitation 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 AM Saturday, November 12th at Seven Dolors  Church in Easton, MO. Interment Mount Olivet Cemetery.

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