Glenn Schmidt as a young boy.

Glenn Schmidt was born in Wilmington, Delaware, in September 1941. He is the oldest among his four siblings. His family has some Pennsylvania Dutch roots and a long history of farming. When Schmidt was nine years old, his father moved the family to Philadelphia, PA, which he wasn’t initially happy about. At a young age, Schmidt developed a strong work ethic from his family and started delivering newspapers at thirteen. He also became an apprentice in a printing shop, where he learned to be self-sufficient and was always willing to do what was needed of him. However, being the oldest child, Schmidt had to figure out a lot of things on his own.

As a child, he loved visiting his grandparents’ farm in Gilbertsville, PA, helping with the crops and other chores. He was a typical boy who liked to explore and often found himself in trouble. Schmidt confessed, “I tried to keep out of trouble, but I was quite a handful!” One summer, he snuck a pack of cigarettes up to the second floor and smoked them when everyone went to bed. His grandparents called his parents to come and pick him up, and he was punished for his actions. Even though he found himself in trouble at times, he declared, “I had a lot of fun, I had a good time, and I had a good childhood.”

Glenn Schmidt in Boy Scouts uniform.

In high school, Schmidt gained valuable experience working at a jewelry store, developing skills in polishing and setting jewelry. Despite being accepted onto the basketball team, he made the tough decision to prioritize his job and ultimately gave up playing. He continued to demonstrate his strong work ethic by taking on a second job at a printer until graduating high school in 1959.

In 1963, Schmidt was working with his best friend when the draft for Vietnam started. Faced with the inevitability of being drafted, Schmidt asked his friend what one thing he wanted to do before being drafted. His friend expressed an interest in exploring different areas of the United States. They decided to pay their bills in full, meet up a week later at their favorite bar, and travel down to Florida. They requested a month off work, but their boss denied it. So, the duo decided to quit their jobs and embark on an incredible adventure together. Twenty-two hours later, they arrived in St. Augustine, FL, before heading to the Keys. They visited a friend in Biloxi and explored New Orleans and the French Quarter. In Texas, they discovered a town with wooden sidewalks and met a kind-hearted rancher who warmly welcomed them by generously allowing them to stay in their home. They rode horses on his 6,000-acre ranch until they were too sore to sit in the saddle.

Glenn Schmidt in his early 20’s.

Their trip continued to the Grand Canyon, where they faced some challenges with their car due to the changing altitudes. They even attempted to take a donkey ride to the bottom of the canyon. However, after going only about 25 feet, Schmidt became hesitant and thought to himself, “Am I really gonna trust my life with this donkey?” Schmidt continued saying, “I’ve always been a chicken anyway. I’m not ready to take any chances with my life, and maybe that’s why I’m 82.” After hiking back up to the top of the Grand Canyon, the two travelers eventually arrived in New Mexico. Schmidt was amazed by the beauty of Albuquerque, remarking, “The sun came up on one side of the mountain and set on the other; it was beautiful!”

Their 30-day unforgettable road trip took them down to Mexico and through Southern California, followed by a visit to Yellowstone’s Old Faithful, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Tetons, and more before heading back home. Schmidt stated, “We were nomads; wherever we ended up is where we ended up.”

Glenn Schmidt in uniform.

After his trip, Schmidt was drafted by the United States Army and sent to Fort Gordon, Georgia, for boot camp in 1964. Schmidt’s recollection of starting boot camp was vivid and emotional. He described how it felt to be thrown into a big room and instructed to find a bunk amidst the chaos of 30-40 guys running around. Once he finally settled down, he was pleased to find out that his bunkmate, Ed, was from near his hometown. After completing basic training, as they were about to get some much-needed leave, Schmidt asked Ed if he had a sister his age. Schmidt’s voice broke, and tears welled in his eyes as he said, “That was my wife for the next 57 years.”

Glenn with his wife and son in Watkins Glen, NY.

Next, Schmidt was assigned his Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) as a communications operator. He was sent to Fort Jackson to receive training for his MOS on a teletype machine for his deployment to Vietnam. “They taught me how to be a teletype operator. You push the buttons, and the yellow tape comes out of the side, and that’s what I was.”

Upon receiving his orders, he was shipped to Germany. Although he was trained to operate the teletype machine, he was never sent to a location where it was needed and was assigned to an aviation unit instead. Schmidt admitted he was deathly afraid of heights, and ending up in an aviation unit was not what he had in mind, recalling, “I had to go up in bubble-front helicopters; I had to go up in L19 and L20 airplanes that didn’t have canopies on them. They did me dirty, but I still had a ball.” Due to his last name being Schmidt, the locals frequently invited him to have dinner with them. Schmidt stated, “I had a ball over there. I liked it, and I didn’t see anything bad about it. My time in the service- I enjoyed.”

During his time in Germany, Schmidt wrote beautiful love letters to his girlfriend, Maryanne, back home. She fell in love with him through the letters he wrote while serving. Schmidt admitted that he still has the love letters, saying, “I can’t take them out to read them because it tears me up.” In June 1965, he flew home to marry her, and they drove to Maine for their honeymoon because his wife loved lobster. After the honeymoon, he headed back to Germany and spent a total of 18 months in Bavaria.

The Schmidts enjoying time at Oak Island.

After being honorably discharged, Schmidt returned to the row house in Philadelphia, where his wife had prepared for their young family. In 1967, they welcomed their daughter Leeanne, followed by a son, Eric, in 1970. Family life consisted of trips to Disney World and vacationing with three other couples whose wives had been friends with his wife since high school. This close-knit group did everything together, including becoming godparents to each other’s children.

Glenn and Maryanne Schmidt

In 1978, the Schmidts built a house in Medford, NJ, in a new development in a beautiful lake community. Maryanne’s attention to detail was second to none, and she ensured the builders did everything exactly as she had envisioned. The house was situated next to the woods and a creek, giving them a very picturesque location for hosting family parties, something they loved to do. The Schmidts were known to throw big open house parties, and their guests were always made to feel welcome. The couple’s generosity knew no bounds, especially during the holidays, when they ensured no one was alone. Maryanne often cooked Thanksgiving dinner for over 30 people, creating a warm and welcoming environment for everyone.

Schmidt, with daughter Leeanne, cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles.

Schmidt was a hardworking man who worked as a printer and ran an 8-color printing press. Despite his love for entertaining, he never let it interfere with his work. He had a strong work ethic and often worked 80 hours a week. Schmidt always met his employer’s demands and once even set a record of working for 127 hours in one week for the company. He was always willing to take up a second or third job to ensure he provided his family with a beautiful life. Schmidt reminisced, “It gave me a beautiful living and gave my family a beautiful life.” Schmidt continued, “My life, I had a ball in my life. I can’t even begin to tell ya. I can’t even begin to describe the joy of growing up.”

In 2005, Schmidt decided to retire after a successful career and move with Maryanne to Oak Island, a place inspired by their vacations, to Holden Beach, which they had always enjoyed visiting. Although Maryanne had some reservations about the move, the couple embraced it together and enjoyed retirement in Oak Island, North Carolina. Despite living in a new state, it didn’t stop them from cheering for their favorite football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. Over the years, they have been fortunate to have three grandchildren, and in September of last year, welcomed their first great-grandchild.

Celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

In November 2021, Schmidt faced the devastating loss of his wife, Maryanne, who had been his partner for 56 years until her passing at the age of 80. Schmidt struggled to express himself with tears in his eyes, “It’s a hard part of my life to talk about. We have two beautiful children, and their mother taught them all the right things.” Schmidt attributes his understanding of love to Maryanne, who taught him how to express affection through hugs and other gestures. She was a peacemaker, bringing everyone together in their family and an embodiment of compassion. “Mom was the rock; she did everything,” he affectionately recalled.

Glenn and Maryanne Schmidt at their daughters wedding.

Schmidt made a humorous remark about how he learned how to drink during his time in the military. However, Schmidt is known for his extensive service and generosity towards not only his country but also his family and friends. He is always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need and keeps an open-door policy. His kindness and loyalty are greatly appreciated by those who know him, and he is considered a true friend to all. Interestingly, his military service played a significant role in his life as it was how he met the love of his life, his wife, Maryanne.

Veterans Care Coordination is proud to recognize Glenn Schmidt for his service to our country. We are privileged to have the opportunity to share the stories of our nation’s heroes. Thank you for your service, Glenn, and welcome home.