Frances Irene Neufeld Schmidt

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Frances Irene Neufeld Schmidt was born on February 18, 1929, in Balko, Oklahoma, and passed away on July 22, 2014. Frances was a child of the depression, with a Grapes-of-Wrath type early childhood. Weather and the economy dictated that her dad seek agricultural work along the west coast for a time, but the family did eventually return to farming in the Oklahoma panhandle near Balko. Having confessed her faith in Jesus Christ, Frances was baptized and became a member of the Balko Mennonite Brethren Church. Frances attended schools in Cedar Springs and Cleo Springs, Oklahoma, and Perryton, Texas. She graduated from Corn Bible Academy and attended Tabor College in Hillboro, Kansas. Frances married Edwin Schmidt on January 1, 1947. During the early years of their marriage they lived near Bessie, Oklahoma, where Ed farmed. While living there, their three sons, Allen, Timothy and Steven were born. It was there that Ed and Fran were called into ministry. This led to a move to Fresno, California, for schooling and then Jackson, Mississippi, as staff members of the Open Door Bible Mission. In 1957, they accepted the pastorate of the Paxton Mennonite Brethren Church in Paxton, Nebraska. In 1960, they returned to Fresno for additional training at the MB Seminary, followed by a number of years as Superintendent of the Merced Rescue Mission and pastor of the Atwater MB Church. In all these locations, Frances was a true partner in ministry. In 1969, Ed and Fran moved to Reedley, California, where Ed assumed the position of administrator of Mennonite Brethren Homes. Sadly, Ed and Fran were divorced in 1985, but they were wonderfully re-married in 1989. Following their marriage, Ed and Fran moved to Mariposa, California, in the foothills outside of Yosemite. For the next 3 1/2 years, they acted like giddy teenagers until Ed's passing in 1992. For the next 20 years, Fran remained in Mariposa enjoying "her" mountains. She loved acting as tour guide to Yosemite National Park and sharing her glorious view with visitors. In 2012, Frances returned to Oklahoma where she lived until her passing. Frances enjoyed hiking and could get very competitive when it came to dominos or scrabble. At her passing, Frances was a member of the Bible MB Church in Cordell. She was a generous giver supporting a number of ministries and causes around the globe. Frances is survived by her three sons, Allen and wife Marlene of Mariposa, California; Tim and wife Jo of Corn; and Steve and wife Jan of Anderson, Indiana; grandchildren Meghan and husband Will Steudler of Perth, Australia, Josh Schmidt of Missoula, Montana; Tiffany Stumbaugh, Visalia, California; Michael Stumbaugh, Visalia, California; Jason Schmidt of Millen, Georgia; Shannon and husband Joseph Leon of Corn, Nathan Schmidt of Corn, Benjamin and wife Joan of Chicago, Illinois; Dustin and wife Jessica Schmidt of Seattle, Washington, and Anna and husband Dustin Myers of Stuart, Florida; eight great-grand children, Joseph Leon, Treanna Leon, Sydney Steudler, Sarina Steudler, Jonah Myers, Daniel Schmidt, Griffin Schmidt and Hunter Thorpe; one sister, Lois and husband Howard Fast, one brother, Andy and wife Vera Neufeld; two sister-in-laws, Clara Schmidt and Bernice Schmidt, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband who she affectionately called Eddie Baby, her parents, Art and Leona Neufeld, a brother Marvin Neufeld, and one greatgrand daughter Jennifer Rose Leon. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to En Gedi Retreat, a ministry providing free vacations to pastors and missionaries, PO Box 250, Yampa, Colorado, 80483; or the Bible MB Church, Cordell, Oklahoma.
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