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Obituaries » Arlene L. Schmidt

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Arlene L. Schmidt

September 8, 1928 - January 8, 2021

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Arlene Louise Hundt Schmidt passed away in La Crosse on January 8, 2021 at the age of 92. Arlene and her late husband, Norbert, founded Schmidty’s Bar and Restaurant in La Crosse in 1955, ultimately passing it on to their son Bob and his daughter Amy.

Arlene was one of a kind, and she touched the lives of many, many people over the years. Born in Middle Ridge, Wisconsin, on September 8, 1928, she was the last of Peter and Mary Hundt’s 14 children, a twin who entered the world just after her brother, Arnie. Her stories of life on the farm always seemed to come back to hoeing potatoes and tobacco, but were full of the comfort and love provided by a large Catholic family.

She graduated from Cashton High School and kept learning and reading books right up until the end. She married Norbert Schmidt in 1948 and they had three children, Carol Heisler (Jeff), Crystal Lake, Illinois, Glenn Schmidt (Kristine), Sun Prairie, and Robert Schmidt (Carol), La Crosse. After they left the family farm on St. Joseph Ridge, Arlene spent most of her time in Schmidty’s kitchen, often with her sister Josie Clements who served as chief cook and Chief Aunt for the family. The kids grew up in the apartment above Schmidty’s, with the customers and employees becoming like extended family. It was a tough balancing act as a parent, but she did it with grace and good humor.

In her later working years, she became the very public face of Schmidty’s, the person who could get you a valuable table for the Friday fish fry. When she needed a new challenge, she got her realtor’s license and spent several years working with Bob at Real Estate by Schmidt. She loved singing and was for years a member of the choir at Blessed Sacrament Parish. A highlight of her singing career was performing the National Anthem at a Milwaukee Brewers game with the Hundt Family Singers. She enjoyed travel and for many years flew to a winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she and Norbert played golf and hung out with a large group of like-minded partiers. She spent her later years in even more extensive travel with her family, seeing the fjords of Norway, the beaches of Rio de Janiero, and the mountains of New Zealand, among many other amazing places.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Norbert, who died in 2005. Other family members who preceded her in death include sisters Marie Schmidt, Mabel Cavadini, Catherine Moon, Irene Martinek, Josephine Clements, Sally Oswalt, and brothers Bernie Hundt, Emil Hundt, Pete Hundt, and Dave Hundt.

Surviving siblings include Delia Bina, Delores Althoff, and Arnold Hundt. Surviving grandchildren include Cindy Heisler, Tracy Heisler Drost, Courtney Woods, John Schmidt, Amy Schmidt Schilling, and Justin Schmidt. She leaves 13 great-grandchildren behind. The family wishes to thank the staff at Brookdale for their care and concern under difficult conditions.

A Mass and celebration of her long life will be scheduled later.

Donations in Arlene’s name may be made to an important legacy to which she devoted a great deal of time and money, the Ridge History Park, PO Box 198, Bangor, WI 54614 or online at ridgehistorypark.com.