Howard L. Schmidt

Posted 2/14/22

ROCKFORD - Howard L. Schmidt, 87, of Rockford, passed away Feb. 1, 2022.

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Howard L. Schmidt


ROCKFORD - Howard L. Schmidt, 87, of Rockford, passed away Feb. 1, 2022.

A public visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18 at Fitzgerald Funeral Home, 3910 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford. Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Cathedral of St. Peter, 1243 N. Church St., Rockford. Burial will occur in Mendota at a later date.

Howard was born March 6, 1934 to Daniel and Genevieve (Stanard) Schmidt on the family farm in Peterstown and he grew up in Mendota. He married Virginia “Ginny” Smith in Mendota on Aug. 27, 1955.

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Virginia; one sister, Barbara (Bill) Timm; four daughters, Sharon (Steve) Samuelson, Julia Woodward, Angela (Mike Delany) Schmidt and Carrie (Mickey Jr.) Badertscher; six grandchildren, Katie (Brock) Samuelson Boltz, William Woodward, Annie Woodward, Zach Badertscher, Alli Badertscher and Emma Badertscher; and three great-grandchildren, Samy, Ike and Maxine Boltz.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one grandson, Tony Samuelson.

Howard earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. As a natural-born teacher and strong student, he was recruited to teach in the engineering program while still an undergraduate. He continued teaching engineering at University of Illinois until 1968, when he moved to Rockford to help establish the engineering program at Rock Valley College. He retired in 1993 as a full professor in the Department of Engineering and Technology. While in school and as a young family-man, he served in the U.S. Army Reserves, ultimately promoted to captain. Each summer, Ginny and the children accompanied Howard to his summer training commitment, beginning the tradition of family camping trips around the country. At home, he worked on cars and tinkered around the house. It was commonly believed he could fix anything if he brought his screwdriver. Howard was also a man of strong faith and an active member at the Cathedral of St. Peter Catholic Church for over 50 years. He enjoyed supporting his grandchildren by attending their many extracurricular activities, introducing them to family camping, providing daycare when needed, and pulling the occasional loose tooth. He was a kind, gentle, soft-spoken man, always sharing an easy smile and a wink that left you feeling important and genuinely seen. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He died at home surrounded by family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Rock Valley College Foundation, Cathedral of St. Peter, or a charity of the donor’s choice. Please share memories and condolences online at