Peter David Schmitz

Peter David Schmitz

Peter David Schmitz

Peter David Schmitz, 72, died at home on Saturday, March 15, 2008, shortly after being

diagnosed with a rare, aggresive form of cancer.

He was born in Cherokee, Iowa, on September 21, 1935, to Marion F. McMahon and Richard D. Schmitz. He grew up in Storm Lake, Iowa, where he loved to explore the lakeshore with his dog Mack, fish, swim, boat, watch the thunderstorms, and hang out (and later work) at his

father's lumber yard. Peter attended Iowa State University for two years before transferring to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where he fell in love with an art student named Janet Aunspaugh. The two were married in 1958. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1959, and was honored with the University's Henry Adams Award for Architecture.

They explored the West for the best place to work and raise a family, and settled on Medford for its kid-friendly size, mountain views, varied countryside, distinct but mild seasons and its people.

After working for architects Walt Pappas and Jack Edson, Peter established a firm with Gary

Afseth and Lorin Jacobs in 1968. His designs included the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, Providence Birthplace and medical campus, St. Mark's Episcopal Church addition, Crater High School auditorium, Yreka Community Theater, elementary schools in Grants Pass,

Jacksonville, Doris, Calif., and renovations of Hedrick and McLoughlin middle schools. He

designed local medical clinics and offices, private residences, and municipal buildings, churches, landscapes, and contributed to many other projects. He enjoyed collaborating with the valley's next generation of architects, and was still working just weeks before his death.

Peter was a long-time democrat, supporter of the arts, and a believer in the power of people working together for stronger communities. He served as president of the Rogue Valley Arts Commission and Medford Planning Commission, and was a member of Sunriver's Architectural Review Board.

He read voraciously, watched and fed wild birds, enjoyed a good story, and sang in the car. He made delicious meals and baked cinnamon rolls from scratch on Christmas morning. He loved to play golf and work on projects with his son. He and his brother, John, planned

regular fishing expeditions in Canada's northern lakes, where they vied for who would catch the biggest muskie. He enjoyed staying in touch with his classmates in Iowa and Nebraska, and sought out his family's history on trips to Ireland and Luxembourg with his daughters. More than anything, though, he loved being home, surrounded by books, the humor and

hubbub of family life, a half-wild yard, Jan's evolving art, and beloved pets, all rescued mutts.

He was not afraid of death, but hated to leave this soon. "The thing I am going to miss," he said, "is life is pretty interesting."

He is survived by his wife, Jan Schmitz; children, Sheila Schmitz, San Jose, Calif., Martin Schmitz, Littleton, Colo., and Johanna Schmitz, St. Louis, Mo; younger sisters, Katherine Kiesel, Palm Desert, Calif., and Gretchen Stock, Parker, Colo.; and brother, John Schmitz, Urbandale, Iowa.

A memorial will be held at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, March 22, 2008, at the Craterian Theater, 23 Central Ave., Medford, Ore. The family requests no flowers, please.

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