Champaign couple to mark 75 years of marriage Aug. 15

Photo Caption: Anna and Glenn Schmidt of Champaign will be recognized for their 75 years of marriage at a reception on Sunday, Aug. 14, at Holy Cross Church in Champaign.

By: By Jennifer Willems

CHAMPAIGN — There isn’t much that gets by Glenn and Anna Schmidt, even at 99 and 96, respectively. One question, however, doesn’t seem to make much sense to them.

“What’s the secret to being married for 75 years?”

As they talked with The Catholic Post last week, it became clear that it simply never occurred to them that they wouldn’t stay married after promising to love and honor one another on Aug. 15, 1936.

“We just worked together,” Mrs. Schmidt said. “We didn’t give up and walk out.”

“If we had a disagreement at night, we woke up in the morning and it was gone,” Mr. Schmidt added.

“That was it,” his bride of more than seven decades said. “You just stayed and worked on it.”

That love and fidelity will be recognized next Sunday, Aug. 14, at a reception from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parish center of Holy Cross Church, 405 W. Clark St. It will be hosted by their five children, Robert Schmidt and Gerald Schmidt of Champaign, Jimmy Schmidt of Detroit, Mary Anna Cain of Baltimore and Margaret Little of Southern Pines, N.C.

Their extended family includes 10 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The Schmidts would be happy to see family and friends at the reception, but have requested no gifts.

Anna Hyland grew up in Holy Cross Parish and her family only lived a few blocks from church. They were among the original members of the Champaign faith community, which was established in 1912.

Glenn Schmidt was three years ahead of her in high school. His brother, who was in her class, played basketball and she got to tag along to the games.

“Then the skating rink on campus (at the University of Illinois) opened up and I started going ice skating,” Mrs. Schmidt recalled. “I kind of made it a point to be there and skate with him and hoped he’d ask me for an ice cream sundae. That was our dating — just going to a movie or going ice skating.”

After Mr. Schmidt graduated from high school in 1933, he was taken on as an apprentice at the university’s print shop. It would close for two weeks every August and in 1936 the young couple decided to get married on the first Saturday available to them, which happened to be the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Because Mr. Schmidt was not Catholic at that time, they were married at 7:30 a.m. — between Masses — in the rectory at Holy Cross Church. As was expected in those days, Mrs. Schmidt gave up her $8-a-week job in a hat shop to stay home “and learn how to cook.”

“On our honeymoon we went to a cabin in Wisconsin and the only thing I really knew how to cook was tapioca,” she said with a laugh.

Mr. Schmidt took private instruction in the Catholic faith — there was no RCIA then — and was received into the church three years after they married. He became a printer when he completed his five-year apprenticeship and worked for the University of Illinois for 42 years, retiring at age 60.

With the memory of the Depression still fresh, the couple learned to budget their money. That was important since there were no credit cards, Mrs. Schmidt told The Post, “but you weren’t used to having a lot.”
As they raised their family, the Schmidts were active in school and Scouting, tended their garden, canned vegetables and took care of the house. When their children were out of school, Mrs. Schmidt got involved in the Altar and Rosary Society and volunteered at the Provena Resale Shop for 35 years.

She is proud that her children have also made volunteering a part of their lives.

After 75 years, they still have the “Just Married” sign that friends put on Mr. Schmidt’s brand new car before the couple left on their honeymoon. They didn’t know the sign was there until they were stopped at a railroad crossing and saw some of the passengers laughing and pointing to it.

Looks like the Schmidts are getting the last laugh.

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