Elwood F. Schmidt
Born: June 27, 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: September 15, 2019 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, USA
Elwood F. Schmidt 1295 - 2019
Elwood F. Schmidt was born at home in N. Philadelphia on June 27, 1925 and he passed away at home in Bryn Mawr, PA on Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 94 years of age with his family present. He graduated from Northeast High School and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 as an artillery instructor.
He completed college courses in the army where he excelled in math and studied electrical engineering. His first job upon his return to Philadelphia was in a Germantown wood shop. That experience shifted his direction from the electrical to the natural where working with his hands and with wood seemed a better fit. Eventually he combined his math gifts with working with wood when a boss discovered he could do the calculus and drawings required to create timber trusses and arches. Elwood retired as a self-employed
carpenter when he was 65, but continued to create and build well into his 80s.
Elwood’s love of and deep knowledge of wildlife both plant and animal was well known. If he did not know the answer to a question he would consult his extensive library. He shared this love and bounty of skills and knowledge with the source of his original exposure, the Boy Scouts of America. He involved both of his sons in scouting and served as a pack and troop leader.
Elwood married Florence Greer on November 24, 1954 when he was 29 years old. They raised one daughter, Karen Schmidt Lander, and two sons, Eric Taylor-Schmidt and Mark Schmidt. Florence, Joelle Taggart, and Elwood founded the Wetherill School in 1976. He continued to assist in the running of the Wetherill School after Florence’s death in 1980 as the treasurer, administrator, and all round handy man. He lived to see this Montessori preschool continuing its mission of teaching the whole child thriving in its original home, Gladwyne Presbyterian Church (GPC).
The GPC community embraced both Elwood and his children after Florence’s death. Over the next 10 years he immersed himself in the community and was especially affected by his experiences on the clergy-led mission trips to Mexico. He used his building skills, and soaked in the stories of the families fleeing the brutal violence of their home countries. These years led to enormous emotional and spiritual growth in Elwood, and it was on one of those trips (March 1990) that he met Jean Meston. When he learned that she had worked on a framing-crew building houses one summer, he invited her to join his team putting a new tarpaper roof on a squatter’s shack. She said “Yes” to that invitation and “Yes” to his proposal of marriage. The wedding was in GPC on November 17, 1990 and 29 years of new adventures followed.
Mr. Elwood modeled the qualities that lead to integrity and wisdom. He practiced mindfulness before it was a thing. He was that rare man did not possess an ounce of competitiveness. He’d lend a hand whether driving horses to Canada or helping someone building a new house. He could support and celebrate others’ endeavors wholeheartedly. He was an excellent cook, and will be remembered for many a feast. He did not wish that anyone be different from who they were (including himself), yet he could be influenced. He definitely had that St. Francis of Assisi thing going on. His sitting-still attracted birds, cats, dogs and friends.
Donate in Elwood Schmidt’s Honor
The Arbor Day Foundation
100 Arbor Avenue
Nebraska City, NE 68410
Defenders of Wildlife
1130 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
National Audubon Society
225 Varick Street
NY, NY 10014
Saturday, October 19, 2019, 11:00 a.m.
Gladwyne Presbyterian Church, 1321 Beaumont Drive,
Gladwyne, PA 19036