John “George” Schmidt, age 78, of Bensenville, Ill., passed on July 3 from complications of ALS.
George was born on November 23, 1938, in Winona, Minn., to John George Schmidt and Ruth Effie Schmidt née Harris.
George grew up in Winona, attending public schools and McKinley United Methodist Church. His lifelong love of trains, particularly the Milwaukee Road, began early by watching trains from his Wilsie Street home. He graduated from Winona Senior High in 1957 and graduated in 1961 from Winona State College with a degree in business administration. He served two years in the U.S. Army stationed in Okinawa.
His dream of working with trains was realized in his career organizing freight trains as a senior research analyst for the Milwaukee Road in Chicago, Ill. George retired in 1993 and started a business called “Rib Side Cars,” manufacturing HO rolling stock, primarily freight cars, box cars, and hopper cars, in a variety of sizes. He sold them to hobby stores, model train shows in the Midwest and online.
George is survived by his cat, Casey; brother, Jim, of Woodstock, Va.; sister-in-law, Jean, of Woodstock, Va.; his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Schmidt, of St. Cloud, Minn.; cousins and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother, Russell, of St. Cloud, Minn.
Family and friends are invited to come on August 3 to Holzinger Lodge, 925 West Lake Boulevard, from 9-11 a.m. for visitation. Immediately following the visitation, Pastor Jef Olson will officiate a graveside service at Woodlawn Cemetery at 11 a.m.