April 18, 1924 - February 28, 2019
Elkhorn, WI -- Loretta J. Schmitt, 94 of Elkhorn, WI passed away Thursday, February 28, 2019. She was born April 18, 1924 to the late George and Cornelia Schiesher in Hampshire, IL, the third of ten children. Loretta grew up in Hampshire and attended the University of Illinois until marrying Henry F. Schmitt on February 15, 1944. In 1950, the couple purchased a farm in Elkhorn, where they raised their five children. She was dedicated to her faith and her family. A woman of style, grace, and compassion, Loretta devoted her time and energy to her husband, family and community. Henry was the love of her life, and together they traveled to all 50 states, St. Edwards Island, and Nova Scotia. Their Saturday night date was a ritual until their advanced years, and usually included dancing. She was a passionate gardener well into her 80's, and loved flowers, butterflies, hummingbirds, and thunder and lightning storms. Loretta carried on many holiday traditions learned from her mother. She was a legend in the family for her Christmas cookies and Jesus' birthday cake. She made every grandchild feel special. She was involved in St. Patrick Catholic Church women's group, CFM (Catholic Family Movement), UW Extension Homemakers, and the Blood Bank. She was a 4-H cooking project leader for 20 years, and a fundraiser for cancer research. She was on the Pregnancy Hotline Board of Directors, and one of the founding members of the Tax Payers Alliance, in addition to being on their Board of Directors. As a Grange member, she was a local (Tibbets) officer, state officer, chairman of the state Community Services committee, and worked for the national Grange as membership deputy in Wisconsin. For state Grange, she held several offices. As part of the Community Services for the Tibbets Grange, she was involved in the Toys for the Needy Program which cleaned, painted, and repaired toys to be turned over to the Human Services Department for distribution to families in need. After Tibbets Grange discontinued the project, Loretta and her family continued refurbishing toys for many years. One year they turned in over 300 toys.
Loretta will be remembered with love and admiration by her children: John Schmitt of Elkhorn, David (Lue) Schmitt of Elkhorn, Irene (Dan) Krummen of Lodi, and Linda Mae Schmitt of West Milwaukee; 12 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandson the way; three sisters: Vera Binz of Hampshire, IL, Ruth (Don) Bahr of Mineral Point, WI, and Carol Holtz of West Chicago, IL; one brother, Wendell (Marge) of Rochester MN; and a host of family and friends, especially Joyce Tueting, who was her friend and caregiver for several years. Loretta was preceded in death by her husband seven years earlier on the exact date (February 28, 2012); her daughter, Jean Schmitt, in 2010; two grandchildren; her parents; and five sisters.
A special thanks to the staff and residents of RidgeStone Terrace Assisted Living in Elkhorn for welcoming her and filling the last year and a half of her life with friends and companionship, and to staff at Aurora Summit Hospital, Lakeland Healthcare Center and Aurora At Home Hospice for compassion and care given to her during her final days. This poem was found in a file Loretta left. We can almost hear her saying it, "You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what I'd want you to do, smile, open your eyes, love, and go on." Thank you, Mom, for teaching us the importance of kindness, respect, love, generosity, and family. We will miss your wisdom and your laughter. We smile when we think of you dancing with Daddy and embracing Jean.
Visitation will be Thursday, March 7, 2019 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with rosary at 6:45 p.m. and Friday, March 8, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Haase-Lockwood & Associates Funeral Home, 730 N. Wisconsin Street in Elkhorn. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 107 W. Walworth Street in Elkhorn, with Father Oriol Regales officiating. Burial will at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Elkhorn. Memorials may be directed to St. Patrick Catholic Church of Elkhorn or the Pregnancy Hotline of Walworth County.