E. Peter Schmitz, 88, of rural Sleepy Eye died on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 at his home.

E. Peter Schmitz, 88, of rural Sleepy Eye, MN died on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 at his home. He passed from the life into the Kingdom of Heaven surrounded by the love of his family and the prayers of the faithful. Visitation will be at Sturm Funeral Home, Sleepy Eye on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. and on Friday from 7:30 to 10 a.m. There will be a KC Rosary at 4 p.m. and a Parish Prayer Service at 4:30 p.m., both Thursday at the funeral home. Service will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Sleepy Eye on Friday, September 28 at 10:30 a.m. The Clergy will be Msgr. Eugene Lozinski and Interment will be at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the Peter requested memorials be given to St. Mary's School. Arrangements are with the Sturm Funeral Home in Sleepy Eye. E-mail condolences may be sent to the family via www.sturmfh.com

Peter was born on July 1, 1924, the third son of John & Agnes (Merth) Schmitz of Sleepy Eye. He graduated from St. Mary's Catholic School and in his early years drove the grocery delivery truck in and around Sleepy Eye. In 1949 he met Rita Anne Bauman of Delano a new teacher at St. Mary's School, after his sister Helen introduced them on the steps of St. Mary's Church. Peter and Rita were married on the first day of summer, June 21, 1951 at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Delano. As they began their life together, they moved to the Schmitz Homestead Farm east of Sleepy Eye where they operated a dairy, farmed and raised their family. In 1971 Peter and Rita moved to Montevideo for 7 years while Peter managed the Chippewa County Farm Bureau Insurance Agency. During the summer of 1978, Peter and Rita moved back to the Homestead Farm to continue farming. After Peter retired from farming, his son Tony along with his wife Lisa, took over the farming operation, and lived along side of Peter and Rita. Peter truly cherished his family, his faith and his farm. As a young father and husband he loved the moments working the fields, milking the cows, and teaching his children about the workings of the land. And yet he always had time to play with his kids, to throw a football or pitch a baseball, to run behind their bikes as they learned to have him let go, and to say nightly prayers with his children and his wife. He shared his beautiful voice with many as he led singing in Church, at weddings and funerals and participated in the choir both at St. Mary's in Sleepy Eye and St. Joseph's in Montevideo. Having been a drummer in the Sleepy Eye Drum and Bugle Corp. Peter could tap out a cadence with one hand while bouncing a grandchild on his knee. He was a member of Knights of Columbus and an active volunteer both at St. Mary's Church and School. He and Rita would spend time each year speaking with the students at St. Mary's about love and marriage and participated in many Parish prayer and faith-sharing groups. Peter was inducted as a Guanellian Cooperator for his work and faithfulness to the Sisters of Divine Providence of Sleepy Eye. As a father and grandfather, Peter was there for his family whenever needed. He traveled to see children and grandchildren in all parts of the United States and was there for graduations, promotions, births, anniversaries and even losses. His faith carried him through difficult times and no matter how far he was able to travel, his favorite place to be was home, in his chair, with his bride at his side saying their daily prayers. So, it is fitting that Peter left this world for heaven in that manner with his bride at his side, saying their prayers.

He leaves his wife of 61 years, Rita; eight sons, David (Natalia), Joseph (Pauline), William (Suk), Peter (Peg), Paul (Debra), Tony (Lisa), Dan (Amy), Jon (Amber); five daughters, Marita, Catherine (Steve) Smith, Clare (Kevin) Bjork, Ann (John) Schotzko, Carmella (Robert) Leggon. Peter also leaves behind his dearly loved 49 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; infant daughter, Elizabeth; infant grandson, Jeremy; brothers, James and Philip; sisters, Helen and Carmella; and in-laws, Herbert and Catherine Bauman.