George Cornelius Schmidt died Feb. 9, 2009. He was born Nov. 21, 1938 in Baadeln, Poland to Max and Charlotte Schmidt. Following orders to move with the retreating German army in 1945, the family lost their possessions, neighbours, and daughter Lieselotte. Abandoned by the army, they returned to Poland, living in transition camps. Starvation threatened until Max was able to bring the family to Germany in 1947. MCC helped them relocate to Canton, Ohio, in 1951, where George was baptized and became a member of Beech Mennonite Church. Upon learning of German-speaking Mennonite churches in B.C., the Schmidts moved to Greendale. George attended Bethel Bible School for one year, volunteered for MCC in Manitoba, and acquired a BEd at UBC. After three years of teaching, during which he married Karen Neufeld, George felt called to ministry and attended seminaries in Elkart, Ind., Alabama, and Georgia. He was president of Bethel Bible Institute in Abbotsford, B.C. in 1969, and was instrumental in the merger with MB Bible School to create Columbia Bible Institute (later CBC), the first inter-Mennonite Bible institute/college in North America. George taught and served in various administrative capacities, mainly as student dean, at CBC for 38 years, and continued to volunteer after retirement. Among many board activities, he chaired the founding board of Kinghaven, an addiction treatment facility, in 1970 and continued to volunteer. An active member of West Abbotsford Mennonite Church, he helped establish a 12-step program for spiritual growth. George continued his studies, receiving an MDiv, MA, and DMin. George is mourned by Karen; children Robert (Nancy), Karis (Jeff) Boetto, Rachel (Jeremy) Young; 7 grandchildren; 2 siblings. The funeral was Feb. 14 at Level Ground Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C.
Karla is a writer for Mennonite World Conference who lives in Winnipeg.