Cover photo for Richard Lee Schmidt's Obituary
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1947 Rick Schmidt 2024

Richard Lee Schmidt

April 18, 1947 — February 2, 2024

Conrad

 Richard Lee Schmidt, 76, beloved son, uncle, brother, and father, passed away around 3:15 am, February 2nd, 2024 in his sleep.

 Rick Schmidt was born on Friday, April 18th, at 1947,10:10 pm at the hospital in Conrad to parents, Don and Marie (Munson) Schmidt. He was a happy child who enjoyed playing with siblings Barb, Lois& Les. Hunting with Grampa Munson on the family farm near Hamilton Hill, Rick soon developed his lifelong love for camping and fishing, particularly in his native Montana, a passion he took joy in sharing with many others.

 His mom, Marie, was an excellent chef and baker who enjoyed scrapbooking, singing, and making pies. His dad, Don was a laidback, kind man who was known to be a jack of all trades. Both parents being devout Christians, Rick grew up in a loving yet strict home, attending the Assembly of God Church in Conrad multiple times a week. Blessed with a deft touch, near ambidexterity, and an indomitable work ethic, Rick excelled at multiple sports growing up including baseball, football, and basketball.

 In basketball, Rick started as point guard for the Cowboys, running Coach Don Hammer's high-intensity offensefrom1963-1965. It was football, though, where Conrad flexed its superior strength. Starting both offense and defense as a 160lb end, he helped Hammer's Hardnosed Cowboys go undefeated, winning the Northern B Division Championship in 1964 and '65.

 Upon graduation (CHS, Class of 1965), he enrolled at Vanguard University in southern California where he walked onto the basketball team. Soon thereafter, Rick enlisted in the US Army, being specially selected for US Army Adjutant General School, at Fort Benjamin Harrison, where he was trained to be an attaché to generals. However, Sergeant Schmidt was instead stationed in Ethiopia where he helped intercept and decode top-secret Soviet transmissions as a cryptographer. While stationed in Africa, he traveled extensively, taking breathtaking photos of wildlife and got to scuba dive in the Red Sea.

 Honorably discharged on Sept 11, 1969, Rick went to work for the State Highway Department where he helped survey along the HI Line. By the mid-70s, he lived in Cut Bank as a salesman for Hughes Oil Company selling drilling bits. In198'l, Rick went to work with his father, Don Schmidt, a longtime Conrad postman, and joined the Postal Service as a city carrier, clerk, and postmaster in Brady, briefly. After over 20 years of service, Rick retired from the Conrad Post Office in 2003.

 Rick had a huge heart, so beginning in 1993 he started parenting an orphaned boy, Michael Behafarid, whom he would legally adopt at the age of 13 in 1997. He taught his son, niece, and nephews how to hunt, fish, and enjoy camping including at Two Medicine and on the Blackfoot Reservation. An avid sportsman, Rick mastered the art of fly fishing at Mission, Kip, and Duck Lakes, and pheasant hunting with his beloved bird dogs, Clyde, Buffy, and Tootie. Throughout the 'l 980s, Rick and Don drove to Alaska to fish for salmon. He also enjoyed reloading, photography, and watching football.

 After retirement, Rick remained active: traveling, hunting gophers, and simply being a nice neighbor and model citizen. There wasn't a fly he couldn't tie, nor a shot Rick couldn't hit. Rick tracked antelope like a grizzly, hiked like a mountain goat, and thought like a rainbow trout in a mountain lake. Though introverted, Rick had a great sense of humor and affable way about him leading to countless happy memories with family and friends.

 Therefore, with ineffable sadness to write that Groundhog Day, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, Richard Schmidt passed away peacefully and pain-free after a long stay at the hospital in Kalispell, Montana. He died as a result of several chronic, serious illnesses. Rick and Mike got to spend the last 8 months together as he battled through his health issues. Ultimately, Rick was a good man with a big heart in a cold world, and he will be dearly missed.

 Memorial services will be held Saturday, March 9th, 2 pm at Asper/Pondera Funeral Homes, followed by a brief burial with military honors in Hillside Cemetery. All are invited to share in giving thanks for the life of a fine Montanan and American.

 Rick is survived by his only child, Michael Behafarid; last surviving sibling, Lois (Bob Norris); niece and nephews, Kimmy Aitken (Phil), Brad (Autumn) and Brent (Cassandra) Schmidt, and Brian Rogers; numerous great nieces and nephews; and his girlfriend, Ginny. Preceded in death by parents, Don and Marie Schmidt; older sister, Barbara; brother, Les; and his bird dogs, Clyde (12), Buffy (12), and Tootie (14).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Lee Schmidt, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

Pondera Funeral Home- Conrad

302 South Main Street, Conrad, MT 59425

Burial with Military Honors in Hillside Cemetery.

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