OBITUARY: Kenneth Buhler Schmidt

Kenneth Buhler Schmidt, most beloved husband of Linda Larkin Schmidt, died unexpectedly Monday, January 24, 2022.

He is survived by his mother, Betty Ann Schmidt; two sons, Phillip Ward-Schmidt (Jesica) and Bradley Schmidt; four step-children, Augustus, Avery, Bradley and Cricket Geldermann; siblings, Rebecca Schmidt Dick (Gary), Brian Schmidt (Debra Medellin) and Karen Schmidt Richards (Kent); former spouse, Jennifer Baughman Flood; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by his father, Robert W. Schmidt; Grandparents, August and Esther Schmidt, Rudy and Nettie Enns.

Ken was born on Sept. 30, 1960, in Des Moines, Iowa, to Robert W. and Betty A. (Enns) Schmidt. He was the third of four children. The family moved to Newton in 1961.

Ken started walking at 9 months of age and never looked back, wanting to figure everything out on his own without help from anybody. Growing up he was a hard worker and took pride in the job that was at hand. As a fifth grader, he went out and applied for, and got, a paper route without even telling his parents. He enjoyed a challenge and figuring things out. Ken was on the wrestling team, loved running track/cross country at Newton High School and later at Bethel College. During the summers, earning money to pay for college, he worked as a combine driver cutting wheat with a crew for Brubacher, a custom harvester, throughout the Midwest. He received a B.A. in math and a teaching certificate at Bethel College in 1983 and later a Masters in Operations Research/Engineering Management from Wichita State University. He taught briefly at Cowley County Community College.

Ken started his corporate career working for Boeing, as a quality engineer followed by Cessna as a reliability engineer. From there he moved into the medical device field, working at OEC Medical Systems in Salt Lake City. Later, Ken made the break into the medical device consulting world eventually starting his own consulting firm, OPTIM Associates, LLC where enjoyed a lengthy career helping companies worldwide.

He married Linda Larkin in 2014. According to Ken, Linda was his perfect match. Together they were adventurous, seeking new experiences whether it was a trip to Iceland, driving down the California coast, or motorcycle trips to national parks. Ken’s passions were Linda’s passions and vice versa with Linda helping Ken to build his business and Ken helping Linda launch the Salt Lake Garden Club.

Ken was an avid motorcyclist, road tripper, lover of travel and new experiences. He was known for his warmth, humor, and ability to turn the conversation on a dime to unpredictable places.

There was a celebration of his life from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 27 the Alta Club and this summer in Lake Geneva, Wis. (date to be determined).

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in Ken’s name to: Salt Lake City Garden Club PO Box 58003 Salt Lake City, UT. 84158-0003 or Bethel College Development Office, 300 East 27th St., North Newton, KS 67117.



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