Harold B. Schmidt



(The following information was submitted as a paid obituary.)



October 26, 1930 ~ May 6, 2013

On May 6, 2013 the Texas Hill Country lost one of its greatest stewards, Harold B. Schmidt.

A life-long Kimble County rancher, he was known for his unconventional and innovative ranching and conservation practices.

Born Oct. 26, 1930 in Fredericksburg to David and Corinthia Schmidt, Harold rode to White Bluff School on horseback with his brother, Charles.

He graduated from Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio at the age of 16, earned a degree from Texas A&M in 1950 at the age of 19, joined the U.S. Air Force and earned his wings at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo in 1951.

Harold was one of the youngest combat jet fighter pilots in the Air Force, flying 100 missions in his F-86 during the Korean Conflict.

He earned the following decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Legion of Merit, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal. First Lt. Schmidt was honorable discharged June 1955.

Harold began his ranching career during the most difficult time, the drought of the 1950’s. He taught seven years at Harper High School.

Mentored by the late Sam Coleman, Dr. Henry Wright from Texas Tech and Dr. Bobby Ragsdale from Texas A&M, Harold began instituting high intensity, low frequency grazing techniques and in 1973 held the first prescribed burn in the Texas Hill Country.

Harold served as president of the Texas Section of the Society for Range Management in 1988. His life-long dedication to conservation and range management culminated in Harold and his wife, Joe, receiving the following awards in 2001: Lone Star Land Steward for Texas presented by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Excellence in Rangeland Management Award, given by the Society for Range Management, the Statewide Land Steward Award, presented by the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

Harold was preceded in death by a grandson, LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt.

He is survived by his children: Marilyn Wilson and husband, Bob, of Houston; David Schmidt and wife, Teresa, of San Antonio; Carolyn Esposito of Austin; Chrissy Heimann of Fredericksburg; his wife of 29 years, Joe Matthies Schmidt; brother, Charles Schmidt and wife, Peggy; sister, Davene Jonas and husband, Bill, of Harper and  foster son, Randy Kalka.

The family wishes to thank Myrna Neri for her compassionate care for the last two years.

Memorial services were held Wednesday, May 8, at 10 a.m., at Memorial Presbyterian Church, with Rev. George Stewart officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt Professorship in History Scholarship at Texas Christian University (www.heartofpurple.com), Hill Country Memorial Hospice, or the charity of one’s choice.  

Online condolences may be left at www.fredericksburg-funerals.com.

Arrangements were under the direction of Fredericksburg Funeral Home.

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