GIVING TIME – Debe Brincefield of the Sitka Salvation Army helps distribute food at the Salvation Army on Sawmill Creek Road this afternoon. More than 50 Sitkans were lined up at noon to receive Thanksgiving baskets that included frozen turkeys and fresh vegetables. Food drives were held recently at all Sitka grocery stores to help stock the pantry. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Victor Schmidt

   Graveside memorial ceremonies for Victor Arlow Schmidt will be held 2 p.m. .Friday, April 3, 2012, at Sitka National Cemetery.
   Mr. Schmidt died April 9 at SEARHC-Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital after struggling three decades with coronary artery disease. He was 77.
   Victor was born Jan. 29, 1935, in Sisseton, S.D., the son of Victor Benjamin and Agnes Eleanor (Iverson) Schmidt. He attended Sisseton High School and South Dakota State University (then, South Dakota State College) in Brookings. In 1956, during a four-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy, he married the love of his life, D. Faye Kampen of Watertown, S.D.
   In 1967, after three years teaching school in South Dakota, he, his wife and four young children, came to Sitka in a pickup camper hauling, besides travelers, a few pieces of furniture, appliances and other clothing and household goods, to take a job at the Alaska Pulp Co. mill, which was then less than 10 years old.
Following approximately 10 months at the mill’s powerhouse Victor applied for a vacancy in the biology and sciences department at Mt. Edgecumbe High School, where he worked until developing heart disease in 1982. His billet, which was by then the school’s administrative officer and budget director, was the last to close down, in 1984, after the Bureau of Indian Affairs terminated funding for the school in 1983.
   Victor was an accomplished writer with two volumes of published poetry along with a collection of unpublished work left in his files, including works of fiction. But his love was poetry, and he reveled in rhyme and the old poetic forms. He did not consider himself a trailblazer in the written word but saw the poetry in nature, human affairs and loves of living, as well as in his faith in the creator.
   He often read at public readings where he competed for place, and cocked his ear to the sounds which today might be called post-modern poetry in the fancy of the savant.
   Prior to his struggles with heart disease Mr. Schmidt was treasurer of the Sitka Lions Club and, briefly, the Sitka Community Hospital Auxiliary, and donated time at the Sheldon Jackson College Museum gift shop. He also hired on as teller at a local bank and credit union for a brief time before more surgery became necessary.
   He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Faye, at home; children Vicki Marrs of Juneau, Leslie and Robert Reno of Irvine, Calif., Damon of Woodland, Calif., and Daron of Sitka; one brother, Aubrey, of Tucson, Ariz., and two sisters, Teresa Brooks of Kent, Wash., and Tamra Long of Asheboro, N.C.
    Five grandchildren survive: grandson Jayson Marrs, and granddaughters, Jamie and Nathaniel Pettis, Amanda Hammack and Ashley and Renee Reno; and great-grandchildren: Oliver, Derek, Bentley and Delilah. Numerous cousins, nieces and nephews also survive.
    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Swan Lake Senior Center, Brave Heart Volunteers or the city’s Emergency Medical Team at the Sitka Fire Hall.

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