The Miami Springs community and Grace Lutheran Church lost a good one last week. The Rev. Dr. Albert R. Schmidt, 86, went to bed on Monday, Jan. 28th and passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Schmidt was the longtime pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Miami Springs. Although he retired as many years ago, Schmidt remained dearly loved and admired and stood as a pillar in our community.
A service to celebrate his life will be held this Saturday, Feb. 9 at Grace Lutheran Church, 254 Curtiss Pkwy., in Miami Springs. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The memorial service begins at 1 p.m. and will be followed by a reception in Grace’s Social Hall.
“Pastor Schmidt meant so much to so many people. He probably married over 10 percent of the citizens of Miami Springs. He baptized thousands, confirmed as many, counseled those in need and served as a probation officer to hundreds of troubled youth,” said Rev. David E. Imhoff, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church. “He led the way for we Lutherans to buy and operate Fair Havens Care Center across the street. People’s lives were dramatically changed for the better due to his ministry efforts.”
Schmidt was born in Baltimore on July 20, 1926. He graduated from Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, and served as an intern in South Florida. He was ordained in 1951 after graduating from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. Schmidt made Miami Springs his home and would lead the church from 1951 until his retirement in 1989.
Schmidt was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Constance Sahlgren Schmidt, better remembered as Ms. Connie. They had four children — Mark, Laura, Matthew and Luke. Miami Springs was their home and their stomping ground. If you’ve lived in Springs for any amount of time, you know Pastor Schmidt or you know someone who knows him.
Schmidt founded Grace Lutheran in 1951, and under his leadership and contagious enthusiasm, the congregation grew quickly. Eventually, Schmidt and the congregation would end up building the beautiful church on Curtiss Parkway with plenty of room for his growing congregation. Over his life of service, Pastor Schmidt impacted countless people.
He will be remembered as a great spiritual leader.
“Pastor Schmidt truly cared about the people,” said Mary Sue Cimino, a longtime member of the congregation who also served as secretary for Pastor Schmidt. “When something was wrong, he could tell. He was a wonderful pastor and a great preacher, too.
“The Lutheran church has deep roots from Germany and Scandinavia. Pastor Schmidt was just the right person, at just the right time. He always welcomed people from different backgrounds and demographics. He was such a good fit.
“He was also very involved with the youth of our community. When kids got into trouble, they called him. He was open, loving, and so caring. He was the type of pastor that everyone wished they had. People were attracted to the Lutheran theology. We are saved by grace, it’s not what we do, but by God’s grace alone. Pastor Schmidt was able to convey that message. He didn’t just preach it, he lived it.”
Schmidt was a pastor to those who worshipped at Grace Lutheran Church, but he was so much more than that. He was a community man, a family man, a man of God. He was well known for his love of sports, whether it was fishing, golf, football or traveling. He was part of the Rotary Club in Miami Springs and mentored numerous young people who were on the path to serving in the ministry.
He showed love and grace to everyone that he met. Pastor Schmidt loved God, loved his family, and loved his church. He was a man that was full of love and full of grace. Pastor Schmidt was eager to share that love and amazing grace with others.