A friend of mine, Michael J. Schmitt died 20 years ago – November 10, 1987. I’m remembering him because he was a unique person. We met at St Martin’s College where he was studying pre-seminary classes. We took the same classes because I had transfered from the University of Washington to see if I belonged in the priesthood. I didn’t. He did.
He went on to become a Roman Catholic priest and a good one too. Having been brought up in Port Angeles in a family of four girls he had learned tolerance as well as a highly developed sense of humor. He had a big smile, a positive outlook and an infectious laugh. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in Port Angeles in 1947 and from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism. After spending two years in the Air Force, he worked for newspapers before ending up in St. Edwards seminar in Kenmore. He was ordained a priest in 1960.
In one of life’s quirks he was assigned to the parish in Mount Vernon where I was living after I graduated from law school. Another coincidence was the fact he spent weekends at the Gateway Resort owned by my wife Lita’s parents because he was a skier and loved the outdoors. He knew my wife’s family and my wife before I did. .
On the day he died, that Tuesday in 1987, he was in his car about 9:00 am near Auburn on his way to meet a fellow priest for an outdoor activity. A car driven by a thirty five year old man crossed the center line and hit him head on. He died instantly. The other driver escaped with cuts and bruises. The other driver had crossed the center line because was distracted by something inside his car.
So here’s to my friend Michael, a good and decent man, a holy person and a good priest. May he rest in peace.