Mildred Marie Friesen was born May 26, 1940 to Henry and Louise Friesen in American Falls, Idaho. She was welcomed into this world alongside her twin brother Melvin.
She grew up in a variety of farm settings with 6 brothers learning early the values of hard work, food and fellowship. Mildred is often remembered when telling people about her childhood that as she and her mother prepared large meals she would frequently hear, “Mildred! Go get more potatoes!”
Mildred joined and was baptized early in life at Aberdeen Mennonite Church. She decided early on to become a nurse to help others. She worked long hours in the hot sun at the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station earning the money she would need to attend college.
She often spoke of her mother Louise raising chickens for eggs and then sending her “egg money” to Mildred to help out and give her some spending money.
She graduated from Bethel College Deaconess School of nursing in the spring of 1961 and began her career as a registered nurse.
Some of the places she worked were White Memorial Hospital in California, Bethel Deaconess Hospital in Newton, Ks, and later Northwest Gastroenterology Clinic in Bellingham, Wa.
After meeting at Bethel College she and Stan Schmidt were married in Aberdeen Idaho on July 23rd 1962. Their journey together led them to California, back to Kansas and then finally Custer Wa.
Shortly after moving to Washington she joined Bible Study Fellowship at Birch Bay Mennonite Church. This group and the study of the scriptures became a lifelong passion, during which she was involved in many aspects of Bible Study Fellowship including leadership and the children’s program.
Mildred belonged to Bible Study Fellowship for 40 years. During this time, she apparently
wore out 3 Bibles.
All of her family has memories of her working on her lesson plans early in the morning or late at night by the kitchen table light with a bottomless cup of coffee.
Mildred was most importantly a mother to three girls, a grandmother to 5 grandchildren and two step grandchildren.
She taught true Christian values by example. The values of compassion, caring, support and love she showed to all she encountered were well known by those who knew her. It would never cross her mind to turn away anyone in need and was never heard speaking ill of anybody.
Her home was well known by all the neighborhood kids for an open door, plenty of good food and fun, and hugs when they were needed.
Upon her passing, calls and messages were received from those kids saying things like
“She was the best cook and the most fun!”
“She was the most awesomest mom in the neighborhood!”
“She was the most positive mother figure example I had in my life.”
She deeply impacted and changed many lives young and old for the better by sharing her kitchen table, huge heart and God’s love.
She had a lifelong love of music that she instilled in her daughters. Music was heard filling the rooms before church, while baking and cleaning the house.
Proper nutrition and healthy meals were important to her. Utilizing all the farm had to offer, she grew fruits and vegetables, baked her own bread and canned excess produce. She was always mindful of wasting nothing.
She had a wonderful sense of humor and unfailing positive outlook. When faced with adversity or a challenging circumstance she would say, “I don’t worry. I just pray more.”
Mildred returned to work as a registered nurse when her oldest daughter entered college. She was employed by Northwest Gastroenterology Clinic for the next 14 years and continued to impact many lives through the care and compassion she showed her patients.
Her new passion in life after retirement was spending time with her grandchildren who have many fond memories of baking zwiebach, peppernuts and apple pie. Chores and housework took a backseat when it was time to make playdough and blow bubbles.
Stan and Mildred spent many happy years on the Custer property raising their daughters and later enjoying visits from their grandchildren.
They observed their 60th wedding anniversary July 23, 2022.
Mildred went to join her heavenly father on June 14, 2023. We will all miss her big heart, infectious laugh and love of Jesus.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou