Obituary: Elda (Fast) Schmidt

Elda R. (Fast) Schmidt,, 97, died Friday, July 6, 2018, at Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton.

Elda was born April 14, 1921, in Goessel to Peter B. and Lena (Helena Balzer) Fast.

Her paternal grandparents were Isaac Fast and Susanna (Wedel) Fast, and her maternal grandparents were Peter Balzer and Maria (Schmidt) Balzer. She grew up on her family’s farm southwest of Goessel. Her mother always had a large garden, and Elda helped with the gardening, chores and harvesting. She attended Goessel Mennonite Church and was baptized by the Rev. Peter P Buller. She enjoyed Sunday School, singing in the choir and singing together with family around the piano. Elda attended Gordon Grade School and graduated from Goessel High School in 1941. She always was grateful for her heritage, her home life and Christian parents who had regular family devotions and prayer.

Later Elda did a lot of house work, kitchen and floor work at Bethel Deaconess Hospital and took a nurse aide training course. Feeling that “something was missing from her life,” she moved to Denver, with her sister Ruth (Fast) Reather. In Denver, Elda attended Bon Ton Beauty School and graduated from there in 1957.

After working as a beautician in Colorado for nine years, she moved back to Kansas and worked in several local beauty shops. Her father passed away at age 83, the winter she returned (1966) to Kansas. Her mother passed away in 1972 at the age of 88. Later, Elda opened her own beauty shop in downtown Newton. She always enjoyed her customers’ company throughout the years. In 2008, she celebrated 50 years as a beautician. During that time, she belonged to the American Business Women’s Association in Newton, was care coordinator for her Sunday School Class and also joined various tour groups for travels around the country.

Elda met David T. Schmidt in 1969 after he wrote her a letter saying he would like to meet her. David and Elda were married on June 30, 1970, in the First Mennonite Church, Newton. Elda was very grateful that David’s sons, Donald and Lewis, their wives Marlene and Dorothy and children and grandchildren accepted her as a member of their extended family. David and Elda enjoyed fishing and traveling together until his cancer recurred, which made traveling more difficult. David Schmidt died May 16, 1973, at the age of 62.

Elda eventually ran her beauty shop in her own home. After 20 years, she moved to Kidron Bethel Village where she retired from working as a beautician. During her life, she enjoyed family and friends, traveling, playing the piano, gardening, flowers, making quilts and knotting comforters, embroidery, reading, paint-by-number and the recent trend of adult coloring books.

Elda was proceeded in death by her parents, her husband David T. Schmidt, her brothers Anton (Betty), Arnold (Elsie), Marvin, Irvin, and her sisters Linda (Gus) Frey and Adina (Roy) Schmidt.

Survivors include her stepsons Donald L. and wife (Marlene, d) Schmidt, Lewis and wife Dorothy Schmidt, her brother Orlando Fast (Maxine, d) and sister Ruth (Howard Reather, d) Fast. Elda is also survived by seven grandchildren: Michael, Gregory, Lori, Steve (Lynn), Brian, Daryn (Deidre), Lisa (Carl) and twelve great-grandchildren: Ryan, Austin, Evan, Collin, Landon, Savanna, Leah, Dara, Halle, Malia, Breslin, and Mira, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Graveside committal service will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, at Goessel Mennonite Church Cemetery in Goessel. A memorial service will be 4 p.m. Tuesday at First Mennonite Church in Newton with Pastor Kay Schroeder presiding. Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton with the family receiving friends from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Petersen Funeral Home.

Memorials are suggested to First Mennonite Church Hymnal Fund or Kidron Bethel Benevolent fund in care of Petersen Funeral Home.

“The Lord has been good to me. Don’t grieve when I’m gone, because I want to sing praises to Him.” — Elda Schmidt, August 30, 2010