SCHMIDT, JAMES H. "SUNNY JIM" - Minnehaha County, South Dakota | JAMES H. "SUNNY JIM" SCHMIDT - South Dakota Gravestone Photos

James H. "Sunny Jim" SCHMIDT

Saint Mary's Catholic - Dell Rapids Cemetery
Minnehaha County,
South Dakota

Jim

James H. "Sunny Jim" Schmidt, age 88, died on Sunday, July 18, 2010, following a brief illness at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls. His Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, July 22, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, Dell Rapids, SD. Interment will be in St. Mary Cemetery, Dell Rapids. Visitation will be on Wednesday, July 21, 2010, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Kahler Funeral Home. Visitation will resume at 6:00 p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church with the Christian Wake Service beginning at 7:00 p.m. Sunny Jim, nicknamed because of his perpetual smile when on the basketball court, was born December 4, 1921, in Dell Rapids, SD, to Peter Schmidt and Mary (Meyers) Schmidt. He attended Dell Rapids St. Mary's grade and high school, graduating in 1939. Jim was recruited by South Dakota State University (SDSU) to play basketball for Coach Jim Emmerich. He loved being a Jackrabbit and was soon playing varsity ball in The Barn. As a sophomore, he was named to the All-North Central Conference Basketball Team.

While at SDSU, World War II intervened and Jim joined the United States Marine Corps. Waiting for orders, he was sent to continue his education at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he played basketball with Otto Graham, and then to Penn State University, University Park, PA. Marine Corps boot camp and Officers' Candidate School came next and Jim was ultimately commissioned as 1st Lieutenant, USMC, at Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, VA. He served his country in Guam, Japan and North China from 1943 to 1946 as a communications officer.

After World War II, Jim returned to his beloved SDSU where he played for the legendary Jack Frost. He led the North Central Conference in scoring, was named South Dakota's top college athlete in 1947, and was named to the 1947 and 1948 All-NCC Teams. Jim graduated from SDSU in 1948 and then went on to play an exhibition season with the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA.

While in the service during the Korean Conflict from 1951 to 1952, he also played basketball with the Quantico Marines. That team was the All-Marine Corps Champions in 1952. Jim was inducted into the SDSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1975, and this past April 2010, into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.

Jim loved his home town of Dell Rapids, where he chose to raise his family of 12 children following his marriage to Ann Knewel of Sioux Falls, SD, on May 28, 1949. He went into the farm implement business with his father and brothers, and later evolved that business to include liquid fertilizer and feed. He still found time for sports, playing independent basketball and amateur baseball in and around Dell Rapids, and coaching the Dell Rapids St. Mary's boys' basketball team for a number of years. He had an active role in the design and construction of St. Mary's High School athletic facilities, and was always a big promoter of the game of golf in his home town.

For Jim, his first love was family, the time they spent together, and ice cream cones and athletic events with his grandchildren. Living an active and involved way of life was important to Jim. Just days before taking ill, he was hitting golf balls behind his residence at Terrace Manor. Jim was especially proud of whipping up his own brand of "Jimmy Jam" for his morning toast. He loved to read the Argus Leader and watch C-SPAN. Needless to say, keeping up with Jackrabbit athletics was important to him, along with watching the Twins and the Vikings on television. He had a strong, deep faith in God and will be truly missed by family and friends.

Grateful for having shared Jim's life with him are: his wife of 61 years, Ann, Dell Rapids, SD; eight daughters, Nancy Schmidt, Overland Park, KS, Janet (Randy) Pownell, Spokane, WA, Linda (Dennis) Daugaard, Garretson, SD, Jean Holle, Brandon, SD, Mary Schmidt, Sioux Falls, SD, Margaret (Mark) Amundson, Sioux Falls, SD, Carol (Dave) Jacobson, Dakota Dunes, SD, and Barb (Darwin) Larson, Fargo, ND; four sons, Pete (DeeDee) Schmidt, Avoca, IA, Gary (Brittany) Schmidt, Renner, SD, Dan (Cindi) Schmidt, Sioux Falls, SD, and Pat (Angie) Schmidt, Dell Rapids, SD; 24 grandchildren; and many wonderful friends and extended family. He is preceded in death by his parents Peter and Mary Schmidt, two brothers, Harold and Dorwin; three sisters, Avis, Frances and Patricia; an infant grandson, Andrew Schmidt; and son-in-law, Dave Holle. Memorials may be made to the family.

Contributed on 9/21/10 by dellsfig68
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Record #: 76666

Additional SCHMIDT Surnames in SAINT MARY'S CATHOLIC - DELL RAPIDS Cemetery

Additional SCHMIDT Surnames in MINNEHAHA County

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Submitted: 9/21/10 • Approved: 9/23/10 • Last Updated: 8/14/15 • R76666-G76665-S3

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