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Robert Louis Schmidt: 1945-2019


December 5, 2019

Robert Louis Schmidt passed away suddenly on November 5th, 2019, at age 74 in his home in Edmonds.

Born in Seattle to Blanche and Henry Schmidt, Robert attended Christ the King and Seattle Prep before enrolling in the UW architecture program. After graduation, Robert took a civil engineering position with Martin Zachary Construction. His first assignment sent him to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where he moved with Carolyn, his new wife. While working on a government contract missile tracking station, his first son, Joseph, was born on the island.

Several years later, Robert answered a newspaper ad for employment in Saudi Arabia, and subsequently moved his family there to join the state oil company Aramco. He spent the next 13 years there as a project manager on various refineries and terminals all across the Kingdom. He even worked on the plant that was subject to the recent drone attack.

Feeling homesick, Robert moved the family back to Edmonds in 1986. His second son, James, was born in 1987 in Seattle, where he took a job with the Japanese firm Chiyoda. Robert's attention to detail and organizational skills were always valued by his employers. However a business trip to Tokyo revealed another diplomatic skill ... he loved good food and enjoyed every business dinner with gusto.

The later period of Robert's career proved just as varied and far-flung as the early years. Global engineering firm CH2M Hill found ample use for Robert's talents. He was sent to reorganize the New Delhi office, worked on the reclamation of remote Pacific Island of Johnston Atoll into a wildlife refuge, and even designed a silicon wafer plant for Hitachi in China. For three years the family lived in Shanghai, where son James got to experience the expatriate lifestyle as well.

Robert left colleagues all over the world remembering his tireless work ethic and witty barbs. In retirement, he enjoyed dinners with Carolyn, devouring mystery novels while lounging on the deck in the Puget Sound breeze, and tearing through crosswords with his confident, all-caps handwriting. But most of all he loved to sit in his easy chair and see his grown sons walk through the front door, and they and Carolyn will miss him terribly.


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