In Memory

Lee Schmidt

Lee Warren Schmidt, 64, died July 4, 2014, at The Legacy on 10th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas.


He was born February 19, 1950 in Newton, Kansas, to Walter D. and Irene Annie Schmidt.  He graduated from Hutchinson Community College and later took classes at Wichita State University, Kansas State University and Dallas Bible College.  He served in the United States Navy from March 21, 1971 to January 1, 1973 and received a National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.  He held various jobs including a drafting job in Wichita, which he had a passion for.  On August 2, 1997 he married Katherine O’Brien in Newton, Kansas and enjoyed doing volunteer work at The Source of Light, Newton.  They were divorced in 2007.


He lived at various VA nursing homes in Leavenworth and Topeka since 2004.  He enjoyed fishing when he was younger and reading his Bible throughout his life.


Lee was preceded in death by his father; mother; sister, Betty Ann Hills; and nephew, John Edward Barben.


Survivors include his sister, Norma Barben of Wichita, sister, Karen Parks of Garden City; two nieces; two nephews; three great-nieces; and five great-nephews.


There will be no visitation.  Dove Cremation & Funeral Service of Topeka is handling the arrangements.  Cremation has taken place and a private family graveside service will be held at Leavenworth National Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to The American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 13067, Alexandria, VA 22312. To leave a special message for the family, please visit

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07/07/14 04:53 PM #1    

Mikall Ryan

Lee was my best friend in high school. We took a trip to Yellowstone, Wy one time and had a good time. We stayed friend's for a long time. My condolences to his three sisters. Lee, was a dedicated Christian all the time I knew him. Look forward to seeing him in heaven.

07/08/14 11:25 AM #2    

Brenda Drake (Anderson)

I didn't really know Lee, but I am sorry for his family to have this sorrow.  Glad to hear he was a dedicated Christian.


Brenda Drake Anderson

07/09/14 08:27 AM #3    

Connie Hale (Rhodes)

Mike, it’s hard to lose a good friend. I still miss Mary Jane and there will always be an empty place in my heart.  Lee is truly blessed with his faith walk here on earth. My prayers and thoughts go to his family and friends.

I feel at loss right now and it’s sad that I did not take the time to know “all” of my classmates better other than being acquaintances with a passing smile, so many missed opportunities that could have enriched my life. After reading Ryan’s comments, I was amazed that I could have missed such a neat person walking down the halls of NHS.

So, as I searched my feelings, I went back into our Memory section reading through each and every classmate that has passed and all the comments submitted. With tears in my eyes and appreciation to have known so many… there are a few classmates that do not have any comments of remembrance. I would like to ask that you take the time to review our Memories and write a little sentence or two… We have all been truly blessed to have each other in support and friendship throughout all these years… and to just know “you” is the best blessing of all. Life is Good, God is good. I am blessed.



07/09/14 10:21 AM #4    

Arlys Kessler (Nilles)

Lee was in my 6th grade class at Cooper Elementary in 1961-62. Miss Farthing was our teacher; maybe some of you remember her. Lee was very quiet & always nice to everyone. We gave everyone in our class a Valentine card in grade school. In my valentine Lee had enclosed a keychain made from one of those miniature license plates. He had replaced the license plate with cardboard & wrote LOVE on it. He had glued a heart-shaped purple stone for the O.  For the rest of the school year I considered Lee my "boyfriend" even though we only exchanged shy smiles & rarely spoke - remember this was 6th grade :-) Then our family moved to SE 6th St so I wouldn't have my mom for a teacher at Santa Fe. I went to Chisholm & didn't see Lee for 3 years.  Whenever I saw Lee in high school I thought about that keychain but we never talked then either. He was still quiet & nice to everyone. 

07/09/14 04:03 PM #5    

Maureen Koehn (Fast)

I agree with you,  Arlyss.  Lee was quiet and nice to everyone.  I went to Sunday school with him and he always had a quiet smile and gentleness about him.  


07/09/14 10:45 PM #6    

Veronica Camargo

I met Lee at Santa Fe Middle School. My cousin, Patrick, had come to live in Newton for a year and attended school with us at Santa Fe. His very first friend was Lee. In fact, he turned out to be his very best friend. My cousin told me that he could count on Lee for anything. Several times they came over to our house. Lee was always kind of quiet but opened up while being with my family. My mom always said he was so polite. When my cousin moved back to California, he and Lee remained friends and always kept in touch. Lee was a very special guy!

07/11/14 02:58 PM #7    

Tom Collier



Boy - could we make each other laugh . . . to the point of tears. We were SO completely different, such total opposites, totally friends . . . and I loved you like a brother. I know that my life was enriched through our lifelong friendship. I can only hope that you felt the same.


How do I say farewell to my friend? I fear there may not be words . . .


The things others have noted here about Lee - his deep faith in GOD, his quiet and gentle demeanor, willing smile, kindness - are ALL true. But there was more . . . so much pain that he hid inside . . . .


Lee had the most tormented soul of anyone I have ever known. His life was tortured by demons that he could neither justify in his mind nor rectify with his faith. And my deepest regret is the fact that I could never help my friend climb out of his darkness . . . .


I saw Lee before Thanksgiving last year in his room at the home in Topeka. I found him sitting in his wheelchair wearing a goofy, oddly bent, straw cowboy hat and a blue sweatsuit. He told the nurse, “Tom’s a great fisherman!” and I told her, “Lee’s a great liar!” - he chuckled - but the old Lee did not quite come back. His smile was there, but his laugh was weak and the sparkle in his eyes had dimmed. We listened to Jazz and talked of fishing, old-times and some of the funny stupid things we’d done, life, his diabetes and exercising his legs so that he could be up and walking again . . . on and on. While we talked, he spoke to me in whispers, as if he were afraid that others were listening - his eyes darting around the room in search of the ghosts that still haunted him.


Boy - could we make each other laugh . . . to the point of tears.

When I left him that day, the tears didn’t come from laughter.


How do you pick lifelong friends?

I honestly don’t know.

I think sometimes - friendship just finds you . . . and I am glad for that. 


My dearest friend - I wish you peace.


Tom C.

07/12/14 05:42 PM #8    

Arlys Kessler (Nilles)

I think his family would be pleased to read our memories & thoughts of Lee. If you are so inclined, I suggest each one of us copy & paste on the guest book at Dove Cremation & Funeral Services. 


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