Hilda Marie Schmidt ’46 was born to Jacob and Maria (Rempel) Regier on February 17, 1924, the eldest of seven children. Ninety-two eventful years later, she passed into the presence of her wonderful Savior on July 3, 2016.
Hilda grew up on a farm near Mountain Lake, Minn., learning the meaning of hard work, close family life, and honest living from godly parents. After graduating from high school, she attended Mountain Lake Bible School, Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, and Goshen College in Goshen, Ind. At Grace, she first met her future husband, Arthur Schmidt, from Meno, Okla. After graduation, she taught at Oklahoma Bible Academy, close to Arthur’s hometown. They were married in a double ceremony with Hilda’s sister, AnnaMae and her husband, Glen Epp, on June 16, 1950.
A year later, Hilda and Art were on a Norwegian banana boat bound for Ecuador, South America, as missionaries. They disembarked in the harbor at Guayaquil and braved the arduous trip over the Andes Mountains, finally arriving at the village of Shell Mera, known as the gateway to the jungle. There they studied the Spanish language and grew to love the Ecuadorian people. They became heavily involved in teaching at Berean Bible Institute, preparing the Ecuadorian young people for ministry in their local churches. Hilda was very busy teaching students to play the piano and accordion.
Hilda and Art’s focus also became the raising of a family of five children, who remember her well for strict and loving discipline, always ready with a song, never too busy to stop and listen to childhood woes and joys. She was a great letter writer, communicating with each child weekly as they attended boarding school, keeping them abreast of all the goings on at home. As each of them left home and eventually chose their life partners, she rejoiced. She also believed strongly in the power of prayer and would get up early each morning to pray for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Hilda helped her beloved husband through seminary, typing papers and dissertation. When they returned to the field again, and Arthur began a new method of preparing people for ministry called Theological Education by Extension, Hilda typed the textbooks he wrote.
After 32 years of ministry in Ecuador, they retired from the field, but not from ministry. Continuing serving God and loving people have always been their priority, whether on a college campus, with the Mexicans across the border in Juarez, in a Spanish-speaking church or at Golden Oaks Retirement Village in Enid, Okla. Arthur went to be with the Lord in January 2011, and Hilda was moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, to be closer to family. She spent her last years happily in the memory care wing of Luther Park. Here she continued to touch people’s lives through her music, cheerful spirit, and genuine love.
Hilda was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur; parents Jacob and Maria Regier; an infant sister Edna and her brother Melvin. She is survived by her children: son Mervin (Cindy) Schmidt of Ramona, Okla., daughter Betsy (Norman) Olson of Glen Ellyn, Ill., son Fredrick (Desiree) Schmidt of Nampa, Idaho, son Jonathan (Karen) Schmidt of Spokane, Wash., son Ronald (Anne) Schmidt of Ponderay, Idaho; sisters AnnaMae (Glen deceased) Epp, Myrna (Verne) Zielke, Elisabeth (Walt) Heinrichs, brother Norman (Nancy) Regier, sister-in-law Lydia Regier, 16 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.