Bruce “Dutch” Schmidt

February 1, 1947 - February 2, 2022

Cleveland, MN/ Frisco, TX

 

Bruce’s love of life didn’t come to an end with his death. Bruce passed away peacefully at his home in Frisco, Texas on February 2, 2022 at the age of 75 after a courageous battle with liver disease. He was surrounded by his cherished family who will continue to honor his legacy by living their lives to the fullest.

 

Bruce was born to Myles & Josephine Schmidt on February 1, 1947. From a very early age, Bruce’s parents instilled in him the importance of a strong work ethic and a strong education. Bruce graduated from High School in 1965 from Cleveland, MN. He then went on to graduate from Mankato State University in 1969 with a degree in Business. Bruce proudly served his county for 20 years in the United States Air Force which he joined in 1969.

 

After entering Air Force Pilot Training in 1970, he graduated number 3 in his class and started his career as a flight instructor in the T-38. His next assignment was flying the F4 Phantom Fighter Jet in California, England, Germany, and at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. He then accepted an assignment in Alaska in 1980 flying the T-33 as part of the Aggressor Squadron where he played the bad guy for the F-15’s. He then transitioned and served as the Chief of the Headquarters Alaskan Air Command Arctic Survival Exercise Division.  He led a team that developed operational training for Air Force personnel to stay alive in extreme winter Arctic conditions.  His exercises taught pilots and aircrew members how to be mobile in the Arctic environment, how to build Arctic shelters and to be able to contend with wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour, wind chills dropping to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and constant near darkness since the sun does not rise above the horizon for 65 consecutive days in the winter.  Few places on the face of the earth can be as unforgiving or as deadly as the frozen Arctic.  He served his final assignment as the Air Liaison Officer for the A-10 Flying Tigers based at England AFB in Alexandria, Louisiana. He holds two Meritorious Service Medals.

 

Following Air Force retirement as a Major in 1989, he settled his family in Dallas, Texas. Dutch was hired as a Commercial Airline Pilot for American Airlines. He had the great pleasure of flying the Boeing 727, 757, 767, and the Fokker 100 during his career at American Airlines. He also operated an open cockpit Bi-Plane Ride company in the DFW area for a number of years flying a Waco YMF-35. After retiring from American Airlines on April 1, 2003 he went on to fly the Boeing 717 for AirTran Airways until he ultimately retired on January 29, 2007. One of the most special moments of his aviation career was when he was able to copilot an entire trip on the 717 along side his son, Captain Glen Schmidt at AirTran Airways. Bruce was also a civilian Flight Instructor throughout his career and enjoyed teaching students how to fly. Bruce holds a patent for an In-Flight Problem Situation Simulator issued 6/16/1987.

 

Bruce married his lovely wife of 53 years Janice in 1968 after meeting her in Walker, MN. They started a family in 1971 and they raised two wonderful children, Glen and Lisa throughout their travels in the Air Force around the world. Along with them came some wonderful grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who all live in the local DFW area. The simplest pleasures in life brought great joy to Bruce and he loved flying, fishing, and spending quality time with his family and friends most of all. He had an astounding ability to find happiness in his daily activities and his comedic personality was contagious to everyone he met. There is no doubt he touched an incredible amount of lives and his memory will live on in those he leaves behind.

 

Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, Myles & Josephine Schmidt.

 

Bruce will be profoundly missed by his wife, Janice; his son and daughter-in-law, Glen and Selena Schmidt; his daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Manuel Estrella; his sisters JoAnn (David Voss) and Mitz (Verlin Harms); granddaughters Michelle and Meredith Estrella; grandsons Trevin and Justin Bradshaw; four great-grandchildren; and many other family members, military and fishing buddies, and all of his friends and neighbors.

 

Memorial Services will be held on Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 at 10:00am at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 8000 Eldorado Pkwy, Frisco, TX.  Reception to follow.

 

Burial Service with Military Honors will be held at 2:00pm at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX.  

 

If you are unable to attend in person, the Memorial Service will be LIVE Streamed and a video of his burial with Military Honors will be published following the burial. Visit this LINK for both: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB7i_-lCxi3xXCSxi8BmFqYky99QuHjdU

 

In Lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please make a charitable contribution to the American Transplant Foundation’s Patient Assistance Program in honor of Bruce at https://www.americantransplantfoundation.org/honor-a-loved-one/

19 replies on “Bruce “Dutch” Schmidt”

Barbara Johnson Wilmes says:

I am so sorry. My deepest sympathy to the family, especially to Jan. Bruce & I graduated from Cleveland High School. He in 1965, I in 1964. Bruce offered me a ride to Mankato State as I didn’t have a car. We commuted together and became best of friends. I treasured our friendship- and was privileged to speak with him several times in his final months. I would not have likely been able to go to college were it not for Bruce. And after my B.S. in 1969, I went on to teach, to a M. S. and Ph. D. in Education. I am eternally thankful for Bruce’s gift in my life. Bruce, happy fishing there in heaven with the greatest fisherman of all, Jesus.

WGF says:

Farewell and Happy Landings to one of the best pilots and comrades I ever had the honor to fly in formation with. Although the obit doesn’t specify, he was a proud forever member of our T-38 IP Brotherhood in Beercan Flight, 97th FTS, Williams AFB, AZ. In later years he has been a long- distance confidant and friend. Wheel and soar and swing through those footless halls of air, Brother Bruce! Guy

Gary Sims says:

So sorry for your loss…
What a great tribute to an even greater man!!
Prayers for the family…
Gary Sims

Brandon Hansen says:

Janice, Lisa, Glen & Schmidt Family,
My greatest Condolences for your loss. I have known and flown with one of my favorite Captains and people of all time, Glen ‘Schmidtty’ Schmidt. To me Bruce was an urban legend and exceptional hero to Glen and many of us at Airtran. It was another pilot all together at Airtran who told me that Glen had gotten to fly with his dad. Being new at AirTran I just assumed Bruce was the Captain but to my surprise the Captain I was flying with retorted “no” in fact the Captain was Glen. I could only imagine how elated Glen was that day as he looked right to see his dad whom he’d always looked up to in life and on the flight deck.
Bruce was your Captain, husband, dad, teacher and (how fitting) your copilot for so long and he was your family head. Your loss is unimaginable but your ship never wavering with love and leadership as you each console each other in this time of need. Fear not for if Bruce has made you all like I know Glen to be, you will never want for laughter, wish for leadership nor plead for his love because he is there for you in mind and spirit through each other.
Peace and love be with you,
Sincerely,
Brandon Hansen

James P Schmidt says:

He brings to me an undeniable reminder of our fragile mortality. He and I were born a month apart in the same year, me in January. As we grew we became close, undeniably so. Our backgrounds, similar in many respects, took different routes. I remember my cousin as politically active, spiritual and deeply involved. My path led me to Buddhism and in my conversations over the years it presented a problem that led to our eventual loss of contact. I find that sad but know, with full confidence, he has found his peace. Bruce, my childhood friend and 1st cousin…you live deep in my heart and the love and respect I have for you.

Paula and Charles Cockrum says:

So sorry for your loss.

Ethel Procell says:

He was such a kind and jovial man. I sincerely enjoyed visiting with him and laugh, as well as wonder how he did his magic tricks. God bless him and all who love him.

Carola Cárdenas says:

So sorry for this loss. Although I met him later in life, I remember seeing his Purple Heart and hearing about his amazing stories. He was welcoming, jovial and that is how I will remember him always.

Marcy Warren says:

We send our deepest condolences to Mrs. Schmidt and the entire Schmidt family.
We pray that your pain eases quickly.

Randy Johnson says:

Lovely tribute to a great guy! Our professional association in the Air Force lasted less than 2 years during his final assignment before retirement. I quickly came to rely on his sound judgement and wise counsel – and his always ready smile and good humor. After our retirements, our contacts were less frequent, but our annual holiday phone calls were great for keeping up on family, flying, and fishing. Fishing – from the photos he sent, he and the family must have caught ALL the crappies in their favorite lake at least twice!
Bruce, my friend, you will be missed.

Rey Estrella says:

GOD’s peace be with Bruce and the Family Schmidt🙏🏿

Tom and PK Petitmermet says:

Janice and Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. We have such fond memories of you and your family at Elmendorf. We cherish all the Christmas letters we exchanged over these many years. Bruce was the very best pilot, fisherman and staff officer that I ever had the pleasure to serve with. .Bruce was certainly one of a kind and I know he will be missed by so many people. Peace and love.
Tom and PK.

Vida T Estrella- Gallaga says:

To our dear Bruce- we will truly miss you and we thank the Lord that in our journey of life , you were part of it. I thank you for being a father to my son Manny and for Lisa who I have always considered as a wonderful daughter.
We include you in our prayers & mass intentions and your family too in this moment of grief and loss.. thank you Janice .

Don & Linda Shaevitz says:

Jan, Lisa, Glen and the Schmidt Family,

Linda and I wish we could be there to show our support. We are thinking of all of you. You are in our thoughts and prayers today and always.

I was thinking back to when I first met Bruce at the Elmendorf AFB Aero Club in October 1983. I wanted to learn how to fly and I was so very fortunate to be paired up with Bruce to shepherd me on this lifelong journey when he became my CFI (Certified Flight Instructor).

Looking at my Pilot Logbook, I remember our first flight lesson was on 15 October 1983. In the next 3 years I achieved most of my flying goals earning ratings as a Private, Sea Plane, Commercial, Instrument, Commercial Sea Plane and eventually a Certified Flight Instructor. My last instructional flight with Bruce was on June 14th, 1986. While Bruce wasn’t the only CFI I trained with, he was by far the absolute best. His way of teaching was subtle but direct in a “grandfatherly” way.

I could write a book or several books on everything I learned from Bruce; about flying, about navigating the challenges of being a “staff puke” on HQs Alaskan Air Command Staff, to being a good father and husband.

What I remember most about Bruce is what a great person he was. A good friend to Fly south for a $100.00 Burger at Lands End Resort in Homer Alaska with our wives. Seeing my wife Linda’s eyes grow large in the back seat of a Cessna 182 as Bruce did a 45 degree bank to the left to look at some bears he spotted from 3,000 feet. All the time Jan is holding Linda’s arm saying, it’s ok, this is just what Bruce does. Bruce and Jan have been close friends since the early 80s. We just wish we could have visited more often…hard to do from 5,000 miles away.

While gone from this earthly plane, Bruce will live on in all of us. God’s Speed Bruce.

In his memory a most appropriate aviation poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr follows:

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Charles Wright says:

Schmidty and Family

In all of the worlds languages there is no words that can be found to express the sorry and feelings that can be said. Your Dad lived life and was very lucky to have got to do all of the things he did and even luckier to have survived all of them. So many people live their entire lives sheltered and never really live their life. Your Dad lived his life and he is very proud of you and your family. You have now joined the group that have lost their Dad’s and you are now forever changed. You will remember the good times and mostly forget the not so good times. You will recall memories of the past very often and several times a day and night. You know that he will want you to carry on and keep doing what you are doing and live your life to the fullest and enjoy it to the fullest. We are all only here for a very short time with only so many days allotted to us. I received your email on Friday March 11th which is exactly to the day 34 years ago my Dad died on that Friday at 0348 in the morning. That really brought back some of the pain and thoughts from the past and know my thoughts are with you all of the time. For those of us that have been on the pointed end of the sword in a F-4 Phantom and done a hundred things you have never dreamed of, there is a old saying.
You have never lived until you have died,
for those who fight for it, live has a flavor
that the protected will never know.
Your Dad can now fly cover for you from a lot higher altitude. He will also tell you to keep your knots up.

Always and forever.

Charles “Orville” Wright
The Wright Family
Janice, Molly, Maggie & Apple

William “Coup’e” Douville says:

Glen and family!
You have my most heart felt condolences! Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers! I know that there are no words that can ever bring comfort for your grief! But just maybe the last line of the poem HIGH FLIGHT may! I am sure your dad felt this way at times! “Put out my hand and touched the face of GOD! Just know now GOD is touching your father’s face!

Telly Estrella Agcaoili says:

Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers for the Schmidt family for the great loss and missing of a great family man. But also gratitude for the life he lived and the love he shared. Fly high into the Lord’s love and embrace of eternal peace! – from Rico and Telly Estrella Agcaoili

John & Donna Dornstadter says:

Janice and family,

We cannot find the words to properly express our condolences for your loss. Bruce was an exceptional officer and friend. He was without peer in his character, professionalism and principled approach to all things. Bruce and I spent many days together on remote hillsides at Fort Polk and in the high plain desert of the National Training Center coordinating and synchronizing Army and Air Force assets. It was a pleasure to work with him and to become his friend. We discussed professional and life challenges and turned to each other for advice. It was a joy for our families to visit together while we were stationed in Louisiana. There are so many fond memories. He is and will be so sadly missed. May he watch over all of us and whisper his thoughtful advice to us, his friends and family, as we continue our journey here.

With respect, admiration and love,
John and Donna Dornstadter

Andrew Dornstadter says:

What a fine and happy legacy you’ve left, sir. I remember your kindness and sense of humor from my childhood, and I remember my father’s friendship with you. Thank you for your lifetime of dedication and love to your family and country. It’s a wonderful example for all of us. Farewell, and happy landings, Bruce.

Best,
Drew Dornstadter
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
Son of LTC(R) John and Donna Dornstadter

Leave a Condolence

Your email address will not be published.

R. Driver

Excellent customer service, they made you feel like you were their only customer. Very helpful and explained what we should expect during the process. They basically took care of our needs during this time. They contacted DFW National Cemetery for us which made it a smooth experience. Definitely will use them again.

View more testimonials.