Jeff Nessen Schmidt January 27, 1924 – January 20, 2016

Jeff Nessen Schmidt January 27, 1924 - January 20, 2016

 A celebration of Jeff’s life will take place on March 5, 2016, 11:00 A.M., at Tully Hall in Bitterwater. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in his name to Hartnell College Foundation, Math & Science Department, 411 Central Ave., Salinas, CA 93901. Please mention Jeff Schmidt on “subject” line.
 Jeff Nessen Schmidt of Bitterwater, son of Nessen and Mary Schmidt, passed away peacefully at home on January 20, 2016. Born in Bitterwater, CA on January 27, 1924, Jeff was the tenth of twelve children. He grew up on the same Bitterwater ranch that he and wife, Jean purchased in 1964. 
 They were happily married over 64 years until Jean passed away in September 2014.
 After graduating from King City High School in 1941, Jeff attended Hartnell College (then named Salinas Junior College.) By then, the Schmidt family had moved to a dairy in Greenfield. 
 In addition to the rigors of college and chores at home, Jeff drove the bus picking up students along the Salinas Valley who also attended Hartnell. 
 Jeff always credited Hartnell with giving him an outstanding collegiate foundation and has been one of the school’s benefactors for many years.
 After graduation from Hartnell, the US Navy sent Jeff to school at The University of Texas, Columbia University, MIT and Bowdoin University. Jeff finished his engineering degree at UC Berkeley, using the GI Bill. 
 In 1949, Jeff met the love of his life, Willette “Jean” Leieritz, at a dance near Downey, CA where Jean lived and were Jeff then worked.
 Jeff worked as an engineer for North American Aviation and Rockwell International for 36 years. 
After retirement in 1979, he returned to the ranch where his family lived for most of his childhood. Jeff and Jean spent many years improving the property and remodeling the house that had been built in 1879. 
 He became involved in 4-H and taught woodworking and electricity to the children of Bitterwater for decades.
 Jeff and Jean both loved to travel. They visited all 50 states as well as six of the seven continents. Just three months before his passing, at age 91, he took his three adult children on a two week trip down the Mississippi River.
 Jeff is survived by daughter, Shari Schmidt and husband, Jeff Popnoe of Bitterwater; daughter, Sue Supancic and husband, Steve of Visalia; son, Steve Schmidt of San Francisco; grandchildren, Melissa Popnoe and James, Jeff and Matt Supancic. He is also survived by 102-year old brother, Roy “Bob” Schmidt of Hollister.

Leave your comments