The John T. & Lois Schmidt Scholarship Fund was created in 2017 to support seniors and graduates of Marion County high schools who are also members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans, or children or grandchildren of those on active duty or veterans. The Schmidt Fund favors applicants from Elgin High School and those with GPAs of 2.5 or better.
The Schmidt Scholarship honors John and his military service. John served in the U.S. Army during World War II, from January 1943 to January 1946 and was stationed in several overseas and exotic locales, including New Guinea, Netherland East Indies, Morotai, and Mindanao in the Philippine Islands. At the end of his service, he received an honorable discharge as a staff sergeant and had earned the Bronze Star for valor and the Bronze Arrowhead—awarded to those present on D-Day on the beaches of Normandy, France.
Prior to his military career, John graduated from Agosta High School (1941) and shortly after his service, married Lois (Kraner) in 1948. He was employed by Marion Power Shovel, Marion Industries, and retired after 29 years with Whirlpool. He was a member of the Marion County Farm Bureau, Disabled American Veterans, and VFW Post 7201. John passed in 2009 at the age of 86.