Memorial Mass for Larry J. Schmitz, 64, Lawrence, KS will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, February 14, 2009, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. A reception will follow in the Church basement. He died February 12, 2009, Lawrence, KS.
He was born October 30, 1944, in Marytown, WI, the son of Leo, Sr. and LaBella (Schnur)Schmitz.
Larry earned a degree in human services from Montana State University, Billings, MT, and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri – Columbia. He loved KU athletics except when the Tigers were playing the Jayhawks and he had the opportunity to annoy everyone around him with his enthusiastic support of Mizzou.
One of his great joys in life was his faith. Larry spent 30 years as a Franciscan Capuchin brother of the Detroit Province. In moving to Lawrence in 2000, he was thrilled to learn that Capuchin priests staffed St. John the Evangelist parish. As a Capuchin, Larry worked on Native American reservations in Montana as a drug and alcohol counselor, where he was adopted as a member of the Northern Cheyenne family known as American Horse.
He also worked with various agencies in Missouri as part of the national flood relief efforts in the early and mid-1990s. He later worked as a drug and alcohol counselor for Phoenix Programs in Columbia, MO. In Lawrence, he was employed by Heartland Regional Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counseling services. His office was located in the Social Rehabilitation Services offices and he loved his colleagues there.
Larry was one of the world’s longest surviving recipients of a lung transplant. He received his “second wind” May 16, 1993. He enjoyed every breath he took and encouraged others to recycle themselves as organ donors.
He married Ann Marie Brill on December 31, 1993. She survives of the home. Ann is dean of the KU School of Journalism and Mass Communications where Larry was known as “Mr. Dean.”
Other survivors include three brothers: Leo Schmitz, Jr. (Maria), Myrtle Beach, SC; Joe Schmitz (Barbara), New Holstein, WI; David Schmitz (Helen), Howards Grove, WI; and one sister, Mary Ann Schneider (Ronald), Phoenix, AZ and by numerous nieces and nephews who dearly loved “Uncle Larry.” He also is survived by his favorite mother-in-law, Mildred Brill of Marathon, WI. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother,LeRoy Schmitz. His faithful companion, Britz the Singing Shih Tzu, died in January.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to KU Endowment for the Schmitz Service Journalism Award and sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary 120 W. 13th St. Lawrence,
Online condolences may be sent to www.warrenmcelwain.com; Subject: Schmitz.