OBITUARY

Billie Marie Schmidt

October 27, 1931September 30, 2020

Billie Marie (Wigley) Schmidt, age 88, passed away peacefully on September 30, 2020, in Houston, Texas. Billie was born in Wichita Falls, TX, on October 27, 1931 to Bill and Bess Wigley. She graduated as Salutatorian from Pasadena High School in 1948 at the age of 16. Billie furthered her education at Southwest Business University and then began her career at Shell Oil Company. After working at Shell for a few years, Billie married her first husband and began working for the Air Force. She lived in several different locations during this period including England, which she especially enjoyed. During this time Billie also became a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and served as Mother Advisor for the Schertz Assembly #280, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

In 1961, Billie joined NASA in Houston, TX (prior to the construction of the Johnson Space Center). Billie was determined to be part of the team to put the first man on the moon and was very proud to work at NASA. Her 20+ year career spanned both the Mercury and Apollo programs, including support to the Apollo 13 Review Board. She was well respected by her co-workers and eventually rose to the position of Executive Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Director at NASA Johnson Space Center. While at NASA, she met her second husband and the love of her life John (Jack) J. Schmidt. Upon her marriage to Jack on April 16, 1969, she became the instant mother of three children. Billie had excellent grammar skills and shared them freely whenever there was a term paper or book report that needed to be reviewed. In retirement, Jack and Billie enjoyed spending time at their lake house and caring for her mother Bess. Billie was very attentive to all of her mother’s needs and was a wonderful caregiver. Billie enjoyed working with her church, learning to paint with oils, singing, and reading. She loved to garden and grow flowers in her yard and loved her pets. After the passing of her husband, Jack, and mother, Billie moved to Buckner Parkway Place in Houston, TX, where she made many new friends. Billie was very proud to be featured in the 2014 Buckner Annual Report in an article titled “Moonstruck” which featured her career at NASA. Billie was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. Billie’s deep faith in Christ was exemplified in the words she lived by: “I am here by God’s appointment, in God’s keeping, under His instruction for His time.” She will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved her.

Billie is preceded in death by her parents, her loving husband John (Jack) J. Schmidt, her son John A. Schmidt and his partner Sandra Ashworth.

She is survived by her daughters and their families, Janet Svoboda and her husband James, Gretchen Netzband and her husband Michael. Also remaining to grieve are her grandchildren, Kristen Svoboda Sledge (Jonathan), Matthew Svoboda, Jacob Netzband (Megan), Jessica Netzband Lammlein (Jack) and Heidi Schmidt Cress; and great grandchildren Parker, Henry, Claire, Owen Stevie, Bryce, and Cassey.

She is also survived by her sister, Gayla Roberts and husband Mike, her niece Melissa Roberts Howard, husband Ron, their children Nathan and Allison, and her nephew Michael Roberts Jr, wife Toni, and their children Faith, Matthew, Michael and Elizabeth.

The family would like to express their appreciation and gratitude to the staff of Buckner Parkway Place for the support and ministry they provided to Billie.

Services

  • Family to Receive Guests

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020

  • Celebration of Life

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020

  • Committal Service

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Memories

Billie Marie Schmidt

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Bekki Mcclure

October 15, 2020

Billie Schmidt was the reason why I was able to work for NASA.

In 1975, I had just graduated and turned 18 when I received a letter from NASA inquiring if I'd like to work there.

Well the answer was a definite, "YES!"

I called the number. An interview was scheduled for a morning time slot.

Well, I overslept my interview!!!

I was so distraught and felt sick to my stomach...I was thinking of all the different reasons I could use...

However, I was brought up to be honest.

I called Billie and told her the truth.

I asked if there was anyway it could be rescheduled.

The silence on the other end seemed to last forever!

She responded that we could do that, and we did.

I was on time for that one!

I was hired and began my 42-year career; retired September 2017!

Billie literally held my career in her hand in that moment. She could have easily said, "no," but she didn't. She was willing to give me a second chance.

At my 30-year mark, I looked her up and gave her a call.

I told her who I was and asked if she remembered me.

She replied, "oh, yes, I sure do!"

She said it was my honesty that impressed her, and that's why she still wanted to interview me.

We had a really nice conversation, and I was so glad that I had contacted her.

I will always be in debt to Billie Schmidt for her kindness in the decision she made for me.

Love to the family! 😘

Dawn Hoyle

October 13, 2020

Billie and I worked in Personnel in the early 1960's out at Ellington Air Force Base in barracks on loan to the MSC. We shared a long and full friendship during all our years working to put a man on the moon. Billie was always a happy, pleasant, and gracious women from whom I learned a great deal during my career at JSC. She has always been one of my favorite ladies among all and I always looked forward to visiting with her at our Sixties Chicks Reunions to revisit our unique years with NASA. She will be greatly missed by all of us I'm sure. She was a very special lady.

Billie Gibson

October 3, 2020

She was a great NASA secretary & all of us sixties chicks looked up to her. We worked there during the best of times. God Bless😇

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