It was an unseasonably warm Friday the 13th, in January 1911, when Bruno Carl Schmidt was born in the Williams Creek School teacherage in Albert, Texas. He was welcomed by older brother Wallace and his parents, Charles and Luella Holze Schmidt. His father was the schoolmaster and his mother was the church organist. Five months later his brother Wallace died tragically, and the family later moved to Morris Ranch, where his sister Esther was born. In 1913, they moved to Brenham, where his father joined the faculty of Blinn College. In 1917 brother Carl was born but died as a baby, and in 1918 Bruno’s mother Luella died during the height of the influenza epidemic. In 1921 his father married Clara Kassell, and in 1930, another sister, Dorothea, was born.
After high school graduation at age 19, Bruno taught public school and served as principal at Long Point, for two years. He then attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, graduating cum laude in 1933. He attended SMU School of Theology, graduating a year early in 1935, and was appointed to the Jarrell pastorate as an ordained Methodist minister. In August of 1935, he married Frances Mae Schuessler of Castell. In 1937 he was appointed to Copperas Cove, where daughter Ruth was born; in 1939-41 he served at Fashing, during which time son John was born. He was appointed to Charlotte in 1941. In 1944 he joined the faculty and served as chaplain of Southwestern University until 1946. From there he took his family to New York State, where he served a 5-church circuit at Stone Ridge and attended graduate school at Drew University in New Jersey. Due to ill health, after 5 years in New York the family moved back to Texas where he served Melvin-West Sweden (1951-53), Eagle Pass (1953-58), Christ Church in Kingsville (1958-60), and Three Rivers (1960-1964). In 1964 he moved to Austin to become associate pastor at First United Methodist Church. Upon retiring from the
Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1979, he continued in his duties at FUMC as pastor emeritus. In April 1998, he was one of the honorees when the Schmidt Jones Family Life Center was dedicated. At the time of his death, he was the oldest pastor in the conference. His wife, Frances, taught in the Austin Independent School District until her health declined in 1974; she died in September, 1975.
Bruno not only shouldered the duties of pastoring a church, but also worked actively in the civic affairs of each community in which he lived. In Austin he was active in the Travis County Historical Commission and Texas Historical Commission, serving 3 years as chairman of the former, compiling the "Early Austin Churches" publication, and helping generate several historical markers across the state of Texas. He was a member of the Texas Methodist Historical Association and served as its newsletter editor for 17 years. He was a member and chaplain for the Austin Downtown Optimist Club, a 60-year member of the Masonic Lodge, and a member of the Ben Hur Shriners and Ben Hur Chanters. He was artistic, a painter and carver, and a master calligrapher; he played organ and classical guitar, and had a beautiful baritone solo voice. Every fall he loved to go deer hunting and was a good shot, landing his last two bucks when he was 97 years old.
Bruno was a very hard worker and always strived to represent the church with his life of service and encouragement. We all wish him now the peace and comfort that he always endeavored to bring to others. He once offered the following words of encouragement to young people: "Don’t get discouraged, don’t quit. One owes it to the Lord to stick with Him."
He was preceded in death by his parents, stepmother, siblings, wife Frances, son-in-law Richard Dyar, and granddaughter Kimberly Dyar. He is survived by his children, Ruth Dyar of Austin, and John Schmidt and wife Jacque of San Marcos; grandchildren Laura Merrill and husband Chris Sisto of Harlingen, Rachel Weddell and husband Ron of Rockport, Greg Dyar and wife Lisa, and Karen James and husband Chad, of Austin; great-grandchildren Joe and Caroline Sisto, Andrew, Peter, and Thomas Dyar, and a James great-granddaughter due to be born in June. He is also survived by sister-in-law Johnita Bohmfalk of Llano, brother-in-law John H. Schuessler and wife Dorothy of Castell, nine nieces and nephews, their families, and a host of relatives and dear friends who were blessed by him and will remember him in special ways.
His family is most grateful to the kind and supportive staff of The Summit at Lakeway for their loving care of Bruno these last two years and who brought such joy to him as he celebrated his l00th birthday with two wonderful events in January. We thank Heart-to-Heart Hospice for their ministry to him in his last few days.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at First United Methodist Church in Austin. In lieu of flowers, please donate to: First United Methodist Church Endowment Fund (1201 Lavaca, Austin TX 78701), to Texas Methodist Foundation, Start-up Church Fund #0362 (11709 Boulder Lane, Ste. 100, Austin TX 78726), or to a charity/organization of your choice.
Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78705 – (512) 452-8811