On November 2, 2022, Rev. Dr. Steven James Schmidt, age 75, succumbed to complications of a heart attack. Pastor Steve first served as the Minister of Evangelism at North Parkersburg Baptist Church in West Virginia, and then as the Senior Pastor at Porterfield Baptist Church in Little Hocking, Ohio. In 1990 he became the Senior Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he faithfully served for the next two decades until his retirement.
Not one to stay completely retired, he soon agreed to serve on a part-time basis at Laurel Valley Baptist Church. Pastor Steve went on numerous mission trips, to Jamaica, Russia, and Ukraine. He served on the Ohio Baptist Convention Board of Trustees; as President of the Ohio Ministers Council; as a board member of American Baptist Churches USA and International Ministries USA; and as Chaplain for the Ross County Sheriff’s Office.
Steven was born June 6, 1947, in Grand Rapids, MI to Clayton and Ruth (Schleif) Schmidt. He graduated from Sparta High School in 1965 and attended Northern Michigan University on a wrestling scholarship. He then enlisted in the United States Army and served two tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot, where he flew Scouts and later, Cobra gunships. During his service Lieutenant Schmidt earned numerous commendations, including a Silver Star, 5 Bronze Stars, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Purple Heart, and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, among others.
On December 12, 1970, he married the former Mary Veldman, who survives him after 51 years of marriage. Together they lived in five different states and had four children, Matthew (Emily) Schmidt; Nicholas (Stephanie) Schmidt; and Kathleen (Tyler) Miller, who survive; and Laura Beth Schmidt (1984-1987) who Steven has joined in heaven. “Papaw” Steve is also survived by seven grandchildren: Layla, Olivia, and Crosby Schmidt; Addison, Ayden, and Ashlyn Miller; and Calvin Schmidt.
After a successful business career, Steven answered the call to full-time vocational ministry in 1980. He attended seminary, and eventually earned a Masters in Theology and Doctorate in Divinity. He served pastorates in West Virginia and Ohio.
Always a country boy at heart, Steven loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was a man of many hobbies, and over the years had motorcycles, boats, horses and convertibles, and was always ready for a new adventure. In his final years he enjoyed golfing, being a grandfather and spending time at his Florida residence.
Steven made friends everywhere he went. He never met a donut he didn’t like, or a person he couldn’t find a reason to love. He was always ready to provide a listening ear, to offer a bit of wisdom, and to remind us that “God loves you, and so do I.” In his passing, we remember the words he often told others who were grieving: “You haven’t lost someone when you know where to find them.” Above all things, it was his heart’s desire that we should each experience salvation through Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior...and one day rejoice with him again in heaven.