July 9, 1948 – November 13, 2022
Prairie Village, Kansas – Thomas Lee Schmidt, M.D. passed away unexpectedly from a brief illness on November 13, 2022. Dr. Schmidt was born in Pratt, Kansas on July 9, 1948 to Ervin H. Schmidt, Ph.D. and Clara B. Stevens Schmidt. He had an older brother named Stanley E. Schmidt.
During Tom’s childhood the family was on his dad’s wheat farm, 10 miles south of Greensburg, KS during the summers and then in numerous towns around Kansas during the school year. Both of his parents were teachers, and over time, his father moved into school administration positions. Summers on the farm meant the usual tasks of harvesting the Winter Wheat in June, preparing the soil, and sowing the next crop. There was plenty of time to wander the fields and get into mischief with nearby cousins. His home was filled with Classical Music and literature. (His brother became a cellist, University Librarian and Luthier.)
By the time Tom was in High School they lived in Pittsburg, KS where his dad had a faculty position at Pittsburg State University. When he was 16 years old, Tom’s father accepted a position as Head of the Department of Education at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. Tom graduated from Elmhurst College, B.A., Cum Laude, May 1970. He entered the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois where he earned his Doctor of Medicine graduating in May 1974. He married his High School sweetheart, Kathryn Elaine Kepner on June 26, 1971.
Dr. Schmidt completed a Straight Surgical Internship and an Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at Akron City Hospital, July 1, 1974 to June 30, 1979. Tom completed a one year Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery Fellowship at the Alfred I. duPont Institute. He became a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, September 11, 1981.
July 1, 1980, Dr. Schmidt became Chief and Attending Staff, Section of Orthopaedic Surgery at The Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri. Tom was awarded the position of Dr. Rex and Lillian Diveley Professor, and Chief, Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, February, 1994. He continued to be Active Staff until 2004 and then Honorary Staff, November 10, 2004. Dr. Schmidt was Associate Director of the Orthopaedic Residency Training Program from July 1, 1980 to March 28, 2002, School of Medicine of UMKC, Kansas City, Missouri.
Tom truly loved teaching Pediatric Orthopaedics and took great pleasure in watching his students begin their careers as they scattered across the country. He worked with the Residents to do medical research and produce academic papers that were presented at professional meetings and published in medical journals. He participated in several professional societies but became especially involved in the Mid-America Orthopaedic Society, where he held numerous board positions and became President of the Society 2002-2003.
Tom was known for a dry, ironic sense of humor. He took great pleasure in Classical Music, but would also enjoy Jazz as well as Bluegrass. Tom also carried on his father’s interest in photography. He enjoyed travel and merged his interest in history and travel with his photography. Tom became passionately interested in underwater photography. With some other doctor diving enthusiasts, they started POID…Pediatric Orthopaedics in Depth, meeting once a year for a week of diving and exchanging Orthopaedic papers and discussions.
Tom’s greatest joy was the adoption of our daughter, Margaret. She allowed us to see and experience her childhood through adult eyes. Margaret regularly attended professional meetings, traveled, and posed for photographs. She shared a love of vegetable gardening with Tom that continues to this day. Our parenting experience was never taken for granted and now Margaret is joined by her husband John Luther and JT, our beautiful grandson.
Tom believed in his favorite quotation from Ambroise Pare paraphrased: “As a Physician, I treated my patient, but God healed him.”
Tom is survived by his wife of 51 years, Kathryn Schmidt (Kepner), daughter Margaret Luther (John) and Grandson John Thomas Luther. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Ervin and Clara Schmidt and his brother Stanley Schmidt.
Tom’s visitation will begin at 10:00 A.M., followed by his Celebration of Life Service at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church, 9300 Nall Avenue, Overland Park, Kansas 66207. Private Family Interment.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to either the MAOA Education and Research Fund, 300 Third Avenue, S.E., #405, Rochester, MN 55904 marked as IMO Dr. Thomas Schmidt or to Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church, 9300 Nall Avenue, Overland Park, KS 66207.