6 N Main • Caldwell, KS • 620-845-6424
Adelbert John "A. J." Schmitz, Sr.
Date of Birth: February 28, 1919
Date of Death: December 16, 2009
Adelbert John “A. J.” Schmitz, Sr., 90, was born February 28, 1919 at his family’s home near Wakita, OK. He died December 16, 2009 at Enid, OK. His parents were Peter and Cecelia Mary Schwarz Schmitz. A. J. was a proud veteran of the Pacific Theatre, World War II. Upon his return from the service to his country, A. J. married Delores Marie Bramlage of Frankfort, KS on May 28, 1946. To this union 10 children were born: James, Raymond, Yvonne, Elaine, Carol, Paul, Adele, Leo, John, and A. J., Jr.
A. J. was a farmer, a salesman and a manufacturer, but was also known for his wit. One of his favorites was: “I must be good looking, people come up to me and shake my hand and say, ‘You’re looking good.’” He would also share a story about his life, he called it – “The Formula for Failure.”
“My father got a quarter of land in the opening of the Cherokee Strip and I was born the 8th of 12 children. I graduated from the 8th Grade from the Mount Ridge country school. My first job was for 50 cents a day. And, after working a full day, I also helped the farmer and his wife milk 36 cows morning and evening. Then, I also worked shucking corn (by hand) and selling magazine subscriptions in places like Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota. “Uncle Sam” bailed me out for $21 a month, for 39 months with the Company C, 99th Signal Battalion in New Guinea and the Philippines. I came home from the war and married Delores in May, 1946. I married her for her money, but she spent it all on her wedding dress. We had ten children, bang, bang, bang. I was doomed for failure!”
AJ. was a man who felt blessed all his life and wondered why God was so good to him. During the war, he acted with confidence that God would preserve him from death. His actions were viewed by others as courageous, but they were actually acts of faith. His early experience as a salesman was put to further work in 1953 when he became a welder salesman for the Forney Welding Corporation. He frequently was awarded top salesman in the nation, and for these accomplishments he not only brought home income to his growing family, but won such incentives as a color TV in 1959, perhaps one of the first in this part of the country. In 1966, at the urging of FFA teachers, he designed and built his first stock trailer. This led to the establishment of Bullmobile Trailers, Inc., and a move of this operation from the farm in rural OK to Caldwell, KS in 1970. Also, in 1970, A. J. made an unsuccessful run for the Oklahoma State Legislature 39th District. This campaign effort caught the attention of the Alfalfa Electric Cooperative who invited him to serve on the board of directors. He fulfilled these responsibilities from 1971-1981, serving in several offices, including president of the board. A. J. was also appointed to the board of the Oklahoma State Rural Electric Cooperative. During these years, A. J. travelled to state and national meetings, frequently accompanied by his wife, Delores.
A.J. was reared in a devout Catholic family and he and Delores worked to pass along these values and principles to their children. Two things of which A. J. was most proud was his math skills and his wonderful family. He was known to say that “Old Age might take away his math skills, but no one could take away his family.” His family recognizes the value of his long life, and know that he lived it to the fullest, always keeping his faith as the cornerstone of his existence.
A. J. was quoted years ago in the Forney Corporation’s newsletter: “Old Salesmen don’t die, they just trade away.”
He is survived by his wife, Delores; sons, James and his wife Anita of Oklahoma City, OK, Raymond and his wife Mary of Mesquite, TX, Paul of Medford, OK, Leo of Medford, OK, John of Littleton, CO, A. J. Jr. and his wife Jill of Wichita, KS, daughters; Yvonne Scroggin and her husband Steve of Dallas, TX, Elaine Martin and her husband Marshall of Sachse, TX, Carol Schmitz of Los Angeles, CA and Adele Healey and her husband Robert of Tulsa, OK; a brother Don and his wife Dorothy Schmitz of Caldwell, and a sister, Geneva Drouhard of Argonia, KS. A sister-in-law, Louise Schmitz, lives in Enid, Ok; sixteen grandchildren, five step-grandchildren, four great -grandchildren and one step-great-grand child.
Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, December 18, 2009 at the mortuary.
Recitation of the Rosary will be held 7:00 p.m. Friday, December 18, 2009 at the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Caldwell, Kansas.
Mass of the Christian Burial will be held 10:00 a.m. Saturday, December 19, 2009 at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, Caldwell, Kansas.
Memorials may be given in A. J.'s name to the Knights of Columbus Right to Life.