James R. Schmidt


James Reinhold Schmidt was born March 13, 1932, in Tripp (SD), the seventh of eight children of Bertha and Pete Schmidt. He attended South Dakota State University, for Pharmacy and became a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

He married Claire Lorraine (Lorry) Simpson, while posted in Crailsheim, Germany, in 1956. They spent a year in Europe, creating the memories and friendships that would feed stories for years to come.

Upon returning, Jim and Lorry settled in South Dakota where they raised four children. They lived in Huron, Plankinton, and eventually Scotland, where they owned the Schmidt Drug Store from 1969 until retiring in 2002.

Jim always had time to listen and offer advice. He had a gift for caring and mentorship that infused his life and impacted everyone he met.

He received the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award from the American Pharmacists Association for “outstanding records of civic leadership in their communities.” A member of the Scotland Rotary club, the Chamber of Commerce, and Ducks Unlimited, he was a long-time member of both the Plankinton and Scotland School Boards and a constant volunteer at community events and the annual Rotary “Cow Patty” Bingo.

Travel, reading, duck and pheasant hunting, and following all SHS and SDSU Jackrabbit sports teams kept him busy and active. He could be halfway around the world and still run into someone he knew – but nothing could beat a family gathering.

Jim passed away peacefully after a very short illness on July 9, 2020, at the age of 88, surrounded by his wife and children. Although he will always be with us, he will be greatly missed.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents and seven siblings, as well as one son James (Jim) Peter Schmidt. He is survived by his wife, Lorry; daughters Robin (Tim) Shank and Heather (Julian) Peters of Redondo Beach (CA); and son Robert (Christopher) Foster-Schmidt of Minneapolis (MN). He was the proud grandfather of Jeremy Shank, and Ian and Megan Peters. His extended family includes multi-generational nieces and nephews, and many friends who he loved as family.

No funeral service is planned. A Celebration of Life will be arranged for some time in the future when safe travel is more widely available.

Donations can be made to the Spirit of ’76 Award Scholarship Fund at the Farmers & Merchants State Bank (PO Box 367 –Scotland, SD 57059) or sent directly to Lorry (PO Box 430 – Scotland, SD 57059). This is an annual scholarship given in honor of Jim and Lorry’s son Jim, a member of the Scotland High School class of 1976. The scholarship is awarded yearly to two seniors who embody a spirit of compassion, community, and friendship.

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