Newton Now Obituaries: Judith Mae (Kochenower) Schmidt

Judith Mae (Kochenower) Schmidt was born July 19, 1944, in Newton to Harold and Nina Kochenower. She was the third of five children. She died on July 22, 2017, after a series of illnesses at Via Christi/ St. Francis Hospital.

She attended Lincoln Grade School and graduated from Newton High School in 1962. As a young girl, she worked for Moore’s IGA. She enjoyed going to the drive-in and dragging Main Street while only using a $1 worth of gas. She also loved to fish as long as someone baited her hook.

On Sept. 19, 1964, she married Ronnie Schmidt of Lehigh. They were married at the First Methodist Church in Newton, Kan., which resulted in 53 years of marriage. After their wedding, they resided in Denver for one year. They moved back to Kansas after Ronnie’s service was complete. In 1966, they bought their first farm. Ronnie remembers Judy crying all the way home from the bank, worried they would never pay off their debt. During this time, they were blessed with two children and enjoyed many years of farm life together. Kimberly was born May 19, 1967, and Craig was born on Sept. 10, 1969.

After the children were school age, she started working at Bethesda Home in Goessel as a cook. She worked her way up to food service supervisor after taking a correspondence course from The University of Florida. She worked for Bethesda for almost 20 years. Later, she worked at Dale’s Supermarket in Hillsboro for 10 years. She loved being around people.

Judy is survived by her husband, Ronnie of the home; daughter, Kim and Jerry Lewis and their children, Tyler and Sara Schmidt, and Trey Schmidt; son, Craig and Jody Schmidt and their children, Jayce, Jerah, Javin and Jayley Schmidt; sister, Joyce Campbell of Pedro, Ohio; brother, Danny and Vicki Kochenower of Newton; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, Sheila Ratzlaff; and brother, Harold Kochenower Jr.

Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 27, at Tabor Mennonite Church in rural Newton with Pastors Phil Schmidt and Rosie Jantz presiding. Visitation was 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton, with the family receiving friends from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Tabor Mennonite Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to Salem Home in Hillsboro in care of Petersen Funeral Home.