Donald J. Schmidt, 76

Insulation worker, volunteer with Special Olympics

April 04, 2007

Donald J. Schmidt, a retired insulation worker who volunteered with the physically and mentally disabled, died of a massive heart attack March 28 at his Perry Hall home. He was 76.

Mr. Schmidt was born in Baltimore and raised on West Fayette Street. He was a vocational school graduate and was 16 when he began working for the old Monroe Upholstering Co. Inc. in Southwest Baltimore.

He was an Army paratrooper and served with the 82nd Airborne Division from 1951 to 1953.

Mr. Schmidt was a member of Heat & Frost Insulators & Asbestos Workers Local 11. He worked as an insulation installer for 39 years, until retiring in 1992.

He became a volunteer with Special Olympics because of a son, Bernard H. Schmidt, who is mentally disabled. He also volunteered at Camp Glow, a Sparks camp for mentally and physically challenged adults, and the March of Dimes.

"He loved being there for the special ones," said his wife of 52 years, the former Patricia Bathgate.

Mr. Schmidt was an active member of the St. Agnes Council 4049 and the Bishop Sebastian Council 5058 of the Knights of Columbus.

A winemaker, Mr. Schmidt grew and harvested the grapes at his Perry Hall home that he used to make red wine.

He enjoyed wearing his trademark Panama straw hat during annual vacations to Ocean City. He also enjoyed gardening and collecting shot glasses from his travels.

Mr. Schmidt was a communicant of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Fullerton, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered Monday.

Also surviving are two other sons, Steven M. Schmidt of Fallston and David T. Schmidt of White Hall; three daughters, Theresa M. Borchwich of Shrewsbury, Pa., Joanne M. Topolski of Joppatowne and Mary Patricia McMullen of Perry Hall; two brothers, Edgar B. Schmidt of Taneytown and John M. Schmidt of Pasadena; 10 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

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