Bruce Schmidt | Obituaries | Mankato Free Press


Bruce “Dutch” Schmidt
Cleveland, MN/ Frisco, TX
Bruce’s love life did not 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 life to the fullest.
Bruce was born to Myles and Josephine Schmidt on February 1, 1947. From an early age, Bruce’s parents instilled in him the importance of a strong work ethic and a solid education. Bruce graduated from high school in 1965 from Cleveland, MN. He then graduated from Mankato State University in 1969 with a degree in commerce. Bruce proudly served his county for 20 years in the US Air Force which he joined in 1969.
After entering Air Force pilot training in 1970, he graduated to number 3 in his class and began his career as a flight instructor on the T-38. His next assignment was to fly the F4 Phantom Fighter Jet in California, England, Germany and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. He then accepted a posting to Alaska in 1980 flying the T-33 as part of the Aggressor Squadron where he played the bad guy for the F-15s. He then transitioned and served as Alaska Air Command’s Arctic Survival Exercise Division Chief. He led a team that developed operational training for Air Force personnel to stay alive in extreme arctic winter conditions. His exercises taught pilots and crew members how to be mobile in the arctic environment, how to build arctic shelters and be able to cope 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 winter. Few places on the face of the earth can be as unforgiving or as deadly as the frozen Arctic. He served his last tour as Air Liaison Officer for the A-10 Flying Tigers based at England AFB in Alexandria, Louisiana. He holds two Meritorious Service Medals.
After retiring from the Air Force 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 with American Airlines. He also operated an open cockpit Bi-Plane Ride company in the DFW area for several years flying a Waco YMF-35. After retiring from American Airlines on April 1, 2003, he flew the Boeing 717 for AirTran Airways until his final retirement on January 29, 2007. One of the most special moments of his aviation career was summer when he was able to co-pilot a travel package on the 717 alongside 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 Trouble 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 raised two wonderful children, Glen and Lisa, throughout their Air Force travels around the world. With them came wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren who all live in the local DFW area. Life’s simpler pleasures brought Bruce great joy and he loved flying, fishing and spending quality time with his family and friends above all else. He had an amazing ability to find happiness in his daily activities, and his comedic personality was contagious to everyone he met. There is no doubt that he touched an incredible number of lives and his memory will live on in those he leaves behind.
Bruce was predeceased by his parents, Myles and Josephine Schmidt.
Bruce will be deeply 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); his 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 Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 8000 Eldorado Pkwy, Frisco, TX. Reception to follow.
Funeral service with military honors will be held at 2:00 p.m. at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX.
If you cannot attend in person, the memorial service will be broadcast live and a video of his burial with military honors will be released after the burial. Visit this LINK for both:
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a charitable contribution to the American Transplant Foundation Patient Assistance Program honoring Bruce at one/
Honoring a Loved One – American Transplant Foundation
Thoughtful gifts made in honor of your loved one are allocated to our Patient Assistance Program, an important program that provides financial assistance to transplant patients and living donors in need. By enabling living donors to give the gift of life and helping transplant patients maintain access to medication, this program saves lives.

Published on March 12, 2022


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