Lela Leora Schmidt, 90, of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, Canada, passed away peacefully in her sleep in the early morning of February 28, 2021. She was proud to be the wife of Arnold Schmidt, founder of Schmidt Flour Inc., whom she married at age 79.
Leora was born on a farm in Ridgetown, Ontario. She attended Ridgetown District High, Oshawa Missionary College, Atlantic Union College, and Andrews University, where she received a Bachelors Degree in Education. She had many talents and interests, and during her lifetime she worked as an elementary schoolteacher, dean of students, secretary, Bible worker, English teacher, church organist, and farmer’s wife. She spent much of her life in the United States, where she had two daughters, Sonja Lynne DeWitt and Josephine Lynette DeWitt.
Leora’s greatest love was to talk about God and tell others about him. She lived her entire life as she believed God wanted, and always tried to do the right thing, no matter how difficult. Her biggest desire was to be a blessing to everyone around her, a practice she lived out every day.
Leora was an active member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which she joined as a child. She tried to convert people to believe in Jesus “every day of the year,” remembers a close friend. This was her life mission, and at times her job; she worked as a Bible worker in the 1980s for the Northboro Church in the Southern New England Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. During that time, she also accepted invitations to preach sermons for area churches.
She loved to write, from the minute she first held a pencil in her hand. In her later life, this extended to writing for newspapers as well. In the 1980s she authored the weekly Pastor’s Corner for the Clinton Daily Item in Clinton, Massachusetts. When she moved to Maple Creek, her greatest passion was to write The Living Word columns for the Your West Central Voice and Maple Creek News. She was also recently published in Shalom Adventure.
Leora was an accomplished piano player and loved to sing. She was an avid gardener, growing peonies, roses, and raspberries as some of her favorites. Leora loved to travel and visited many countries with her family. When she was 70, she taught English as a Second Language in China, living there for three years with her sister Eileen Lapree. At an even later age, she journeyed into the mountains of Peru on a Maranatha trip, to teach Vacation Bible School while a church-building team raised up a new church.
A favorite past time was playing games, and she is recently remembered by the residents of Paradise Pines for her passion for a rousing game of Crokinole—played, as in the rest of her life, “by the rules.” Her passion for words was evident, as on her final night she played hangman on paper with her daughter, choosing the word “epicurean” for her last game.
In lieu of flowers, she would have requested donations to her favorite missions, Gospel Outreach (goaim.org), where she was volunteering when she met future husband Arnold Schmidt, and the Jesus video project (jesusfilm.org).
While we mourn Leora’s passing, we await the sound of Jesus’ trumpet to awake her on resurrection morning, when we’ll joyfully be reunited with her again.
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