Penfield, NY: Paul B. Schmidt, born February 16, 1935, of Penfield, New York, passed away peacefully on January 16, 2023. Paul is predeceased by his parents George and Emma Schmidt, his brothers George and John Schmidt, and his grandsons Jason Sedita and Jeremiah Paul (JP) Schmidt. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Joanne Kassman Schmidt, seven children, Paula (David) Sedita, Dianne Schmidt, Maureen Aguglia, Julie (Bob) Booth, Laura Schmidt, Ellen Schmidt, and Martin (Jodi) Schmidt, sister-in-law Nancy Schmidt, brother-in-law Gerard Kassman, 14 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and dozens of nieces and nephews.
He was deeply devoted to his Catholic faith serving God and his community his entire life. At age 12 he served as an altar boy for two years at the daily 6 AM mass in the chapel of Sisters of Charity. He graduated from Saint Augustine’s School, the Aquinas Institute, and St. John Fisher University. He earned his Master’s of Social Work from the University at Buffalo in 1962. Paul began his career at Catholic Family Center in the foster care and adoption department. He moved to become the Director of Social Services at St. Joseph’s Villa. The diocese of Rochester then appointed him Executive Director of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) where he managed over 50 athletic, service, and community programs for members across the diocese. He was also the Director of the Refugee Resettlement program. He served as a field instructor for the University at Buffalo and Syracuse University, mentoring graduate students in social work. Paul went on to work for the Monroe County Department of Social Services as a Supervisor of Child Protective Services which led him to become Executive Director at the Society of the Protection and Care of Children for youth residence homes. In 1975, Paul founded the Family Crisis Intervention Team for the Rochester Police Department where he led a staff of civilian professionals to assist with family crisis situations under the leadership of Chief Tom Hastings and Chief Delmare Leach. Paul was employed the next 38 plus years as a Psychiatric Assessment Officer in the emergency departments at Rochester General, Saint Mary’s, Genesee, and Parkridge Hospitals, eventually retiring at age 82.
Paul was a compassionate leader and servant of God, serving on the Board of Directors of the Mary Cariola Center, the Christmas Bureau and Alternatives for Battered Women which he also helped establish. He was a fourth degree Knight of Columbus, earning the Knight of the Year Award for his service to the community and the Catholic faith. Paul served on the parish council at St. James and St. Joseph’s Churches and was a parishioner at St. Jerome’s Church for the last 20 plus years.
Paul was beloved by his children and grandchildren, standing as a giant in their lives literally and figuratively. He was reliable for bringing sweets and donuts everywhere he went, endearing family and even strangers to him. He played the role of Santa Claus every Christmas for his family and others served by the Christmas Bureau. He loved camping and spent many years traveling in his Hi-Lo camper with his wife Joanne. Paul was a skilled card player and was always up for a game of euchre, but not if it interrupted his beloved Buffalo Bills.
The family will be celebrating Paul’s life with a mass in early July. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the organizations dearest to Paul’s heart: the Aquinas Institute of Rochester, St. John Fisher University, and the Willow Domestic Violence Center of Greater Rochester.
Uncle Paul was a gentle giant, who gave his heart and soul to those in need. He was soft spoken, (except when talking politics), and always had a smile on his face. He was tough when he needed to be, but always had candy in his pocket to soften the blow. I remember when he took me to see Mary Poppins for my First Communion, and sleeping over night at the other Schmidt house (he would always make me take a vitamin…lol.) He lived his life serving and helping others, and now he has returned to his Heavenly home and is reunited with his brothers. Sending my condolences, love and hugs to Aunt Joanne and all of my cousins.
Paul, Dad, grandpa, grampy, papa donut, was a very good influence and role model for me. “David, get in the car, we have some business to attend to”, and off we go to spend the next couple of hours helping refugee families or visiting people in need, etc. The times that he enlisted Charlie’s help for various projects were priceless, I learned so much esp. how Charlie adroitly handled Paul who was not so mechanically inclined but had opinions otherwise. He always made sure you did not leave feeling hungry or unentertained. He taught us how to be good hosts even when unannounced guests (of course whom he had secretly invited) showed up at our house. Paul was committed to people, whether they be family, friends, acquaintances or strangers which he told me was partly shaped by our shared experiences (although decades apart) at Aquinas Institute. He was bigger than life who made my life bigger and more enriched in many ways. He did not judge me for my mistakes but praised me for my worth. He shared good advice on many occasions esp. in regards to family. I even learned how to not be annoyed but entertained by his boyish April fool’s day pranks. I could not have asked for a better father-in-law and only hope I can pay it forward.
When I was in grade school I had the assignment to write about someone famous and tell why I chose them as my hero. I wrote about my dad. He was and still is my hero. He is famous. He is recognized everywhere he goes. I learned at an early age never to ask a stranger how they knew my dad when they approached us on the street and greeted him like an old friend, or celebrity. Tears, hugs, smiles, and laughter always ensued. My dad never met a stranger. He always made a friend. As I got older I learned that every one of these encounters was a result of my father’s intervention in their lives at their deepest, darkest, and most difficult moments. He was a friend to the lawless, abusers, criminals, drug addicts, the hated, the lonely, the sad, the crazy, the forgotten, the unwanted, the beaten, and the least of us. He never told me their secrets, he never passed judgment, He would just smile and say good to see you and hug them back or shake their hand. He hated recognition and always interrupted them when they attempted to thank him or give him praise. I always admired his humility. He went about his life tasked with knowing there was more work to be done and people need help. He hated gifts and refused them often. He was Santa Claus and used to say, “Love is not about receiving” He taught me that love comes from giving, and in the giving, we receive. Giving was his gift. He did accept a cookie or piece of candy or donut but nothing more. He was the gifter in all things. He taught his children to sacrifice and live by the motto that there is no reason to have some while others had none. Often he would tell my brother and me to he would take us out for ice cream or a movie, only to discover that first we would stop at the funeral home to pay our respects for someone he knew, or deliver some food to some old lady, or help the Laotians with some errand or paperwork, run an errand for a “friend” etc. He gave a helping hand to anyone who asked, and to anyone who needed it, even if they did not realize they needed it. He was real with us when we were upset about some trivial problem we were having. His advice was always the same. He would not help us out of our jam instead he would tell us a tragic story of an unnamed family he came across recently who suffered some terrible tragedy which made us realize that our big problem wasn’t really a problem after all and we should count our blessings. There was no pity from dad, only a reminder that someone has it worse and to get over it. He told me before he passed that the best part of going to mass is the ending because the priest reminds us of our purpose, “Go and serve the lord and one another” No one has taken that task to heart more than my dad. For this, he was my hero when I was a kid and every day after. I love you dad and every day I work to make you proud, You taught me to sacrifice, to be kind, to be humble, and remember no matter what I am going through someone has it worse. I am truly blessed because I was lucky enough to be your baby girl.