Searchers Recover Body of Missing Man

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Johnie W. Schmidt

The search for a missing man from the rural surroundings southeast of Greenway reached a sad conclusion Tuesday afternoon, when volunteers located the body of Johnie Wade Schmidt, 68. According to Clay County Sheriff Gerald McClung, Schmidt was found approximately one-eighth of a mile from his home in a nearby bean field at approximately 1:45 p.m. Tuesday. The sheriff reported there is no foul play suspected in the death.

Schmidt was reported missing early Sunday morning by family members. He was last seen Saturday night. Authorities say when his wife awakened in the morning Schmidt was no longer in the home.

The Clay County Sheriff's Department, the Clay County Search and Rescue Task Force and area fire departments were joined by other volunteers in combing the area Sunday with no results. Searches continued into Monday, with as many as 75 volunteers joining in the effort.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time," McClung said. "Also, we greatly appreciate the efforts of everyone who took part in this search. Volunteers turned out in strong numbers to assist us with this."

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  • In loving memory to Johnnie Schmidt, the one who held my hand:

    For anyone who has ever taken speech you have heard the instructor say you need to practice. If I am not mistaken it is recommended that you practice a minimum of twelve times before delivery. In front of a mirror is best. Well, I have practiced/prayed mine at least a major portion for a number of years. It goes something like this: What do you call the individual/individuals who give you your first bike, teaches you to ride, drive, takes you to take your driving test, all the mile stones in your life? It would be safe to say most would reply parents, and most would think that's what parents do, so no big deal.

    For me it is a bit different, as I will describe. My first bike had been in a barn for over ten years. I am sure Lin was responsible for its retrieval from the barn and the majority of the cleaning process. The bike had been Johnnie's. It required a thorough cleaning, lubrication and of course a new coat of paint. Johnnie and Linda loved RED, candy apple red, and John Deere green. Thank goodness the bike received silver streak blue. Had there been concrete walls in the area, I fear Johnnie might have sought a different outlet, because spray paint called his name. You understand, like the refrigerator. It calls your name so you have to open the door. Numerous times at sales, the people standing next to Johnnie would not give a second look to equipment that he purchased. Then in a short while would be meandering through his stuff looking for an item, would buy it from Johnnie, only to find out it was their reject, and the only thing he had done to it, was give it a fresh coat of spray paint. He was gifted, not only in spotting quality, but a whiz with spray paint. When he and Lin delivered the bike she said, you better learn in three pushes cause that's about all you'll get. The first push entailed Johnnie pushing me from our porch as fast as he could run the length of our yard, him letting me go and in a snickering voice shouting don't hit the tree. Dead centered it. They had not told me how to slow down, turn or stop. After a brief explanation, the second push went in a similar fashion, only in the drive way with loose gravel. Johnnie helped me untangle, dust the gravel bits out of my legs, took my hand told me it would be alright, as he walked me to the house to recover. I did manage to get a fourth push out of him because of the crashes. The following week with the expression he had of only smiling with his eyes, he asked, "how do you liked bike riding?" "It's too hard to peddle, and I like horses better." He took my hand, patted it and told me his friends all rode their bikes to Greenway and he took his horse for the same reason. I made an attempt at the lake to ride a bike a number of years ago. I met with similar fate as in my childhood, gave on lookers a good giggle. To continue, in another time, there were driving manuals, not an 8 x 11 size, more like a 12 x 12. It was huge, boring, and who in their right mind could wade through such dry written bland facts? It was not available on line as it is today. The manuals were available to be picked-up at the court house, Monday through Friday at designated times. The court house was over 10 miles away so it was not at a convenient location. Johnnie had picked it up, at the prodding of Lin I always suspected, delivered it at Sunday lunch the week of my 14th birthday. A few months later Lin and Johnnie drove up and said lets go. I can still, to this day be ready to go almost anywhere in less than ten minutes. I didn't know where we were going, was just always ready to go. Johnnie looked over and said did you read that manual. We didn't wear seat belts in those days, and I started scrambling. He reached over and took my hand and said, don't worry it will be alright, you've driven everything on the property. We were in their metallic green car. Linda adjusted the heater. Johnnie, "whatever you do, don't touch the heater knobs." I took the written section of the test. I missed the question about how many inches you are allowed from the curb when you park. I hate missing questions. At that time if you passed your written test, you drove the same day. So the state trooper and I went outside to the car. It was as cold as could be. The trooper didn't have a coat or jacket on, told me to get in, get the car on the road, and to hurry up. I was adjusting the mirrors, pulling up the seat, he proceeded to increase the speed of the fan on the heater. I screamed don't touch that, but it was too late. The most ear piercing, tooth clinching loud noises erupted from the heater. The noise didn't stop until the heater was turned off. Again, the troop said lets hurry up and get this done. Before I could get backed out it began to snow, big flakes the ones that cover the windshield and street instantly. It was so cold it hurt when the air hit bare skin, so the flakes weren't melting. As we were almost past the closest street the trooper screeches "turn here, oh no go on." I was turning, with more speed than I would ordinarily have been traveling around the sharp turn, both of us could feel the tires sliding, I knew not to touch the brakes, told him to hang on. By this time he was more terrorized than I was, I made the turn. I apologized to him for running up on the edge of the grass but I couldn't touch the brakes, so I did the only thing I could. The shivering trooper asked if I could get us back to the court house or did he need to drive. The street was already covered with a thin layer of snow. To this day I'm not sure if his shivers were just the cold or terror. I took us around the block, and before I could get the car in park the trooper was running inside. I didn't get to hear what the trooper said, but as we left Johnnie took my hand, "I told you not to touch the heater." I hadn't the trooper did, but we were all laughing. The laughing continued all the way home, because the heater was still screeching, all the way from Corning to Greenway.

    I never developed the skill of riding a bike, and my mother to her dying day rode with me with her feet shoved through the floor board and one hand on the door handle (terror). I asked her about it once, "She hadn't decided if she was hanging on or jumping when we spouted wings and took flight."

    I love horseback riding, no skills, or form but I love it. Once I was riding Missy. By sheer accident she was in the right lead as we were loping the fence line. Johnnie was so excited and proud. He would tack up for me when I rode for a while, wasn't real thrilled when I rode less time than it took for him to get the horse ready. About the only skill I have is spray paint, and if you check my stash, I almost always have John Deere green. My kids' teachers have asked at different times where we purchased leather textured, rainbow, or tie-dye poster board, "spray paint."

    Throughout my life whenever stuff happened, and I hurt, Johnnie would ever so gently take my hand and tell me don't worry, it will be alright. I know he held my sisters hand every night before they went to sleep. I know he is watching over us all, helping us to be alright. We will miss him holding our hand, his gentle touch, and calming spirit. We will miss him telling us it will be alright, it will work out, when we hurt.

    Thank you all, for all the support, work, and prayers. When life is tough, and you hurt, remember it will work out and be alright. Johnnie left with part of our hearts.

    Many Blessings,

    Johnnie, I always wanted to say thank you and I never knew how. God bless and keep you.

    And: Thanks for the spray paint.

    Vonda

    -- Posted by vn2014 on Sun, Sep 7, 2014, at 7:58 PM
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