June 3, 1925 – December 31, 2020
Nelson Christian “Smitty” Schmidt, age 95, passed from this world to a better one on December 31, 2020. Born to Rev. Emil and Ella (Schulze) Schmidt in Meier’s Settlement, TX, on June 3, 1925, he was the fourth of four children: Andrew, Ethelyn, and Wilbur. He graduated from Copperas Cove schools in 11th grade in 1943.
Nelson was drafted and served in the US Army for two and a half years during WWII. In addition to a number of other jobs including owner/operator of a mobile feed mill and a snowcone truck, grave-digger, and occasional construction worker (he helped build the Cove Theater), he owned and operated Smitty’s Texaco on the corner of Avenue D and Main for 35 years, until 1990. He then worked at Goodyear Tire Company for 15 years until he retired at age 80.
Smitty was active in his church, Grace United Methodist Church, for many years and sang in the choir faithfully every Sunday for more than 61 years. He was a gifted singer and frequently sang at weddings, funerals, graduations, and other ceremonies, as well as a barber shop quartet for many years.
Smitty married Dottie Alexander Mitchell in 1957 and helped raise her three children, Ronda, David, and Ricky Mitchell, whom he loved very much. After their divorce, he married Charlene Dionne Walls on March 6, 1970, and gained an instant family with her three teenagers: Peggy, Patsy, and Danny Walls, who honored him with the title of Papa and whom he loved as his own. Later, they had two more children, Nelson, Jr. and Sylvia. His devoted and loving family was one of his proudest achievements. Smitty and Charlene celebrated 50 years of marriage surrounded by family and friends in March of 2020 at Grace UMC.
Smitty succumbed to a previously undetected stomach cancer on New Year’s Eve, 2020, in College Station, TX, surrounded by his loving family. Smitty is survived by his loving sweetheart, Charlene Schmidt, his daughters Peggy Molnes, Patsy Conner, and Sylvia Pierdolla and their husbands Mike Molnes, Chuck Conner, and Felix Pierdolla, as well as his sons, Danny Walls and Nelson Schmidt, Jr., and their wives Laurie Walls and Liz Schmidt, as well as 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, with two more on the way. He is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins in a very large extended family.Due to COVID-19, the celebration of his life will be a family-only graveside service conducted by his grandson, Pastor Christopher Walls, on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 2:00 pm. This service will be livestreamed on Facebook for others wishing to attend. In lieu of flowers, you may donate in his name to the charity of your choice.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
January 6, 2021
I remember going to the Texaco station. He was a wonderful man.
January 5, 2021
My father, WR Goodson, was the principal and superintendent in Copperas Cove when Smitty was in school. My father found Smitty reading in the library one weekend. Evidently Smitty was climbing in a window many weekends so he could read library books. This lead to a friendship between the two of them. My father would work in the school on weekends, Smitty would read and they would discuss books. Every school should have such vandals.
Both my parents thought the world of Smitty. I met him as an adult, and I also valued his friendship and loving heart.
January 3, 2021
I worked with Smitty at Shine Brothers and I asked Smitty why he hadn't retired yet I think he was around 70 then. Smitty said Well financially I could but a man needs to have a reason to get up and go daily or he will wither and die. Since Smitty live 20 more years after finally retiring I guess he found a new purpose for getting up and going daily. I loved Smittys stories of Copperas Cove to include the one about how it got its name. I will think of you often and consider myself blessed for having known you.
May God bless your family during this time of sorrow.