Werner H. Schmidt
Jun 9th, 2020
Werner H. Schmidt 105 of Yarmouth Port died peacefully at his home Tuesday June 9, 2020, of natural causes.
He was the husband of the late Martha Woitcheck Schmidt, who died in 2002. They had been married for 60 years.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Werner was the son of the late Karl and Maria Margott Schmidt. His family moved to the United States when he was a teenager, living in Cincinnati, OH before settling in the Boston area. He graduated from Tufts University in 1936 with a degree in chemical engineering and immediately began a successful 42 year career with Lever Brothers in the New York area, where he met his wife Martha. He retired in 1978, as Director of Development for the firm’s food division. He has been a resident of Yarmouth Port since 1978.
Werner always enjoyed and excelled at all things mechanical and technical. He had a wide array of hobbies including photography, amateur radio, electronics, and automotive – but his real passion was astronomy and optics. As a young man, he ground his own precision mirror for a reflector telescope which was one of his proud achievements. That interest led him to become involved with the Cape Cod Astronomy Society within a few years of moving to the Cape, with his interest soon evolving to seeing a first-class observatory being constructed on Cape Cod. That led him to helping create the Cape Cod Astronomical Foundation (CCAF) in 1994 and becoming its Chairman in 1999.
Werner spent countless hours researching the most appropriate design, location and funding for an observatory, considering many options like state and municipal parks and school campuses. He often reflected positively on the supportive actions by the Dennis-Yarmouth High School administration leadership in working with the Foundation to develop the observatory’s ultimate location on the high school campus on Station Avenue. He spent hours working on funding and was personally responsible for raising a significant portion of the observatory’s $125,000+ initial cost. The Foundation recognized his efforts by naming the observatory the Werner Schmidt Observatory. Two of the proudest moments in his elder years were recognition events in his honor for his 100th and 104th birthdays at the Observatory, with articles and photos in the Cape Cod Times which he proudly read, re-read, and posted on his refrigerator.
Werner had a unique meld of technical curiosity, competence, and perseverance with a personal style which exhibited shyness but warmth, practicality but vision, and affability but sometimes uneasy frankness. His family and friends will remember him as a one-of-a-kind person – technically excellent, a lover of animals, especially dogs, sometimes quick to criticize but usually quicker to praise, and sometimes blunt and outspoken, but always honest and full of integrity. He will be sorely missed by all.
Werner is survived by his son, Paul Schmidt and his wife, Mary, of Bloomfield Hills, MI; three grandsons, Daniel Schmidt and his wife, Julia, Timothy Schmidt of Chicago, IL, and Patrick Schmidt and his wife, Ashley of Seattle, WA; and three great grandchildren, Hanley John, Jack Werner, and Grace Bella. In addition to his wife and parents, Werner was predeceased by a daughter, Marsha in 2014.
A memorial celebration of Werner’s wonderful life will be celebrated later this year on Cape Cod.
As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to the Cape Cod Astronomical Foundation, 907 E. Willow Bend Place, Oro Valley, AZ 85755, attn: Gus Romano -Treasurer.