Frederick (Fred) J. Schmidt Jr., 64, of Topeka, passed away at home on January 6th, 2023 after a lengthy illness.
Fred was born on February 17th, 1958 to Frederick J. Schmidt Sr. and Mary Ann (Burghart) in Topeka. After he graduated from Topeka West in 1976, he went on to work at both Topeka Lumber and Rew Materials before settling into a career as a Truck Driver with (then) Arkansas Freightways which, over the years, changed names several times and eventually merged with FedEx Freight. He most recently drove for Ruan out of Topeka.
He married Leslie Thompson in 1982. They went on to have two children, Natasha Jenkins (Leavenworth) and Brandy Schmidt (Lecompton). They divorced in 2001. Fred was united in marriage to Rose (Lindwall) in Topeka, Kansas in 2006. She survives, with her children, Steven Ebeling (Natalie) of Lawrence, Sally Diaz (Miguel) of Topeka, Loventha Ebeling of Lee’s Summit, Alexandrea Simonson (Brian) Edwardsville, and Cateria Ebeling of Overland Park, whom he loved as if they were his own. He was preceded in death by his father, Frederick J. Schmidt Sr. He is survived by his mother, Mary Ann Schmidt; five brothers, Franz (Barbara) Schmidt, Kurt Schmidt, Karl (Michelle) Schmidt, Kyle (Julie) Schmidt, Derek (Trish) Schmidt; one sister, Heidi (Mark) Schiefelbein and brother-in-law, Mike (Brenda) Lindwall.
Fred’s truck driving career was cut short in 2020 due to his illness. He was especially proud of his Presidentially recognized safety record and spent nights in the cab of a Semi listening to his favorite music. The beat and lyrics of Gordon Lightfoot, Journey, Air Supply, and talk radio filled his work nights for over 25 years. Fred was a man of many skills and always ready to help friends and family be it with remodeling, electrical work, auto repairs, or building pretty much anything one might imagine. Throughout his life, Fred enjoyed a fascination with trains and model railroading. As an adolescent, he first developed his HO model railroad table and worked to recreate and refine his layout over the course of his life. He enjoyed sharing his trains with his 8 grandchildren and sometimes they were even allowed to run the controls. He fervently visited many sites around the Continental United States with Rose and other family members, many of which were train related. Fred and Rose made several trips to chase the Big Boy Steam Engine and ride on various railroads.
Services will be held at Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 SW 6th Ave., Topeka, KS on Saturday, January 14th at 11:00 a.m. An informal gathering of friends and family will follow at Little Russia Chili Parlor (formerly Porubsky’s) on Saturday, January 14th at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Great Overland Station, 200 NW Railroad St., Topeka, KS 66608 and/or to Railroading Heritage of Midwest America (rrhma.com), which preserves The Challenger, one of Fred’s two favorite steam engines in operation today.
To share a memory or to leave condolences, please visit, www.brennanmathenafh.com. Arrangements entrusted to Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 SW 6th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66603.