George's life of love and service

George Neil Schmidt's life of fighting injustice, by organizing with soldiers against the Vietnam War, then working in public education, unions and journalism over the next five decades, was also filled with his deep love of family and friends and an intense calling to serve humanity.

George Schmidt on April 14, 1998. Photo by Sharon Schmidt.

He was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on Sept. 28, 1946, and died in his home in Chicago on Sept. 17, 2018, at age 71. He was my husband of 20 years, and the father of Daniel Cornelius Schmidt (29), Samuel George Schmidt (17) and Joshua Griffin Schmidt (14).

He served many thousands of people – students in some of Chicago’s poorest schools, who received his inspired teaching of literature and writing; workers, who saw their salaries, conditions and voices strengthened through George’s union work, as he served as delegate, mentor, consultant and researcher; and readers of his reports and commentary in Substance and other publications, who found true stories and analysis that never would have been told by corporate media.

Although George had some tough times, including chronic back pain that began in his late 50s, he was grateful for all the years of his life, which was filled with love.

I broke up George's biography into small sections on the October 2018 Substance homepage. Articles about his childhood, friends, and family life appear in the left column. Stories that focus on his work as an anti-war activist, union organizer, journalist and teacher appear in the right column.

Raised to serve

"Raised to Serve Others" includes information about George's upbringing:§ion=Article

A deep joy in poetry

"Deep happy joy" is a story by George's brother Thomas Lanigan Schmidt about George's love of poetry:§ion=Article

A teacher from the beginning

"Sharing his love of literature" is a story by his sister Joan Schmidt:§ion=Article

Gaining strength and experience during his teen years

"George's development and exploration during his teen years – truth and beauty in literature, friendships, romance" is about his last years growing up in New Jersey:§ion=Article

Understanding the horrors of war

"Understanding the horror of war" includes information about his mother, who served in the Army Nurse Corp in Okinawa, Japan:§ion=Article

Stirrings of protest

"Stirrings of protest" covers George's first two years of college in Pennsylvania:§ion=Article

Higher learning, work and organizing in Chicago

"Higher learning, work and organizing in Chicago" covers some of George's experiences, during the years 1966 through 1974:§ion=Article

Fighting bullies

George's immediate instinct to stop abusive males and racists:§ion=Article

Teaching and union staff work

George's teaching career, from 1969-1999 and union staff work included in article:§ion=Article

Marriage and children

"George's happiness in his sons and marriage:"§ion=Article

Fighting injustice for 'bread and roses, too"

When I first saw George's happiness in being with me and his son and knew he fought so hard for others so everyone could have a chance happy, too:§ion=Article

God and being good

At George's funeral service, Pastor Mark Brouwer preached that "love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." (1 John 4:7) See my thoughts on George and God:§ion=Article

Cancer and a series of strokes

Until July, we didn't know George had any cancer; his diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer came just a month before he died:§ion=Article

Saying goodbye at the visitations, a funeral and at the grave

Our family held a few events to honor Goerge and say goodbye:§ion=Article


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