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Ralph Schmitt Sr.

Ralph Schmitt Sr. Ralph Schmitt Sr.

Ralph F. Schmitt Sr., 94, Loyal, passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, surrounded by his loving family. A Mass was held at noon on Saturday, Sept. 26, at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Loyal. Rev. Leo Johnson officiated, and burial followed in the parish cemetery.

Ralph Frank Schmitt was born on Nov. 24, 1925 in Virgil, Ill., the son of John J. and Margaret M. (nee Loerzel) Schmitt. He grew up on the family farm, was the sixth of 12 children, and received his education at St. Peter & Paul Catholic School. On Sept. 14, 1946, Ralph and Mary M. Eder were united in marriage at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Maple Park, Ill., and made their home in Burlington, Ill. He worked for an elevator for a few years where they shelled corn in summer and delivered wood and coal in winter. Ralph then worked with his oldest brother, Louis “Chuck” Schmitt, at L.T.L. Trucking. They hauled insulation and steel springs, traveling more than 100,000 miles a year, and were home almost every night. In 1951, they moved to Aurora, Ill., and in 1953, Ralph bought his own milk route and started hauling cans of milk to Modern Dairy in Elgin, Ill. It was at this point that he studied diesel mechanics to deal with repairs on his own vehicles. The family moved to Maple Park, Ill., where he added another truck and continued his milk route until 1967. They bought a farm in Loyal in 1967 and moved there in 1968. In July 1957, a patron on Ralph’s milk route gave him his first airplane ride. He fell in love with flying. By September, he began lessons and made his first solo flight on his birthday in November. Ralph had several planes over the years, his last one being his Cessna 170. He had a landing strip on the farm in Maple Park, and flew his family and friends many places. When he retired from farming, his son, Ralph Jr., purchased the farm in Loyal. Ralph, never wanting to be idle, worked for Wisconsin Dairy, drove school bus, and later worked at Sunburst Youth Home. He was a member of St. Anthony Catholic Church, the Loyal Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, senior citizens, and served as an alderman for the city of Loyal for 13 years. He looked forward each week to playing sheepshead with friends.

Ralph will be dearly missed by his six children: Constance (Raymond) Milz of Milladore, Patricia (friend Paul Skinner) Sauber of Caro, Mich., Pamela (Randy) Meyer of Loyal, Ralph Schmitt Jr. of Willard, Nancy Locknane of Maple Grove, Minn., and Albert Schmitt of Marshfield; 18 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; one brother: John (Diana) Schmitt of Sycamore, Ill.; one brother-in-law: Vern Warber of Sycamore, Ill.; two sisters-in-law: Clara Schmitt of Maple Park, Ill., and Janice Schmitt of Hampshire, Ill.; and nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Mary Schmitt, on March 5, 2008; seven sisters: Katherine McDonald, Elizabeth Sauber, Frances Altepeter, Loretta Schramer, Esther Warber, Margaret Bewsey and Jean Ramer; three brothers: Louis Schmitt, Nicholas Schmitt and Robert Schmitt; one great-grandson, Carson Milz; and two sons-in-law: James Milz and Jerry Locknane.

“God saw him getting weary, and did what He knew was best. He came and stood beside him whispering, ‘Come to Me and rest.’” Online condolences may be expressed at

Cuddie Funeral Home, Loyal, assisted the family with arrangements.