Everyone at Cowsmo would like to send their condolences to the family and friends of Norbert.
Norbert was a humble farmer who lived life simply. He never forgot the past and loved to share stories, along with imparting his beliefs on nutrition with everyone in his presence. On Thursday evening April 2, 2020, Norbert’s body finally wore out from over 95 years of mostly hard work, letting his soul go to be with the Lord.
Norbert was born in Rose City, Michigan, September 21, 1924, the son of farmers. There he spent his first 5 years of his life, and often recalled memories of the large fish in the stream on the farm. When his father grew frustrated with the poor sandy soils of Northern Michigan, they moved to King Ferry, NY to rent a dairy farm on the fertile soils of Southern Cayuga County. Norbert attended a one room schoolhouse and later graduated from King Ferry Central School. In 1943 the family purchased the dairy farm on Poplar Ridge Road in the Town of Venice. There Norbert with his father milked a herd of Ayrshire cows, cash cropped beans and custom harvested for other farms. Shortly after high school Norbert briefly considered working in the greenhouse industry, after visiting a family member in Florida. He realized though his heart was really in working the home farm and especially working with cows. Eventually the herd was converted to Holsteins. Norbert’s fundamental approach to breeding and nutrition allowed him to develop cows that achieved production levels that were uncommon for that time. Receiving numerous recognition and awards from Eastern AI Cooperative and Dairylea (now known as Dairy Farmers of America.) Norbert’s philosophy on cow nutrition carried over to his own nutrition and brought many vitamin and mineral supplements to line the kitchen counter and numerous lectures on what foods were bad for your health! Although cookies and ice cream daily were okay for everyone! When Norbert wasn’t working, he was an avid bowler, bowling on teams for many years, developing friendships with men from all over the area. Norbert was active in Farm Bureau, served as a volunteer with the Poplar Ridge Fire Department and the Instant Aid Ambulance Service.
After many years as a bachelor, lifelong friends Ron and Elaine Colton decided to set up Norbert on a blind date with a school teacher from Union Springs. Soon after Patricia (Pat) became Norbert’s life partner for the next 52 years. Together they raised four children, providing them all the experiences most can only dream of living in the country on a farm. Surrounded by animals of all sorts (domestic and wild!) and experiencing all the ups and down of making a living on the farm and the long hours required. Norbert always made sure things were done to take care of his family and he never wavered on this ever, without complaint. When Norbert’s first grandchild was born, he said he didn’t think he’d live to see grandchildren. What he didn’t know then was he’d live to see 4 more grandchildren born, 2 of them graduate college, see an engagement ring on one and get to know her fiancé. Norbert with Pat by his side raised four children to be good people with Faith in God, and taught them all the important stuff needed for a life well lived, that even reached into a second generation! Thank you, Norbert, Dad, Grandpa!
Norbert left behind his ever loving and dedicated wife of 52 years, Pat (Gans); son, John (Shawn) Schmitt, of Union Springs, NY; daughter, Laura Schmitt, of Irondequoit, NY; daughter, Donna (Coe) Ecker, of Oxford, GA; and daughter Barbara (Kevin) Ziemba, of Durhamville, NY; and grandchildren, Carriel Schmitt, Brianna Schmitt (fiancé Carl Arce), Jacob Schmitt, Kamden Ecker, and Mason Ziemba. Norbert is now joined with his parents, Theodore and Laura Schmitt, sister Mary (Eddie) Maeder, and numerous dear friends and family members.
A memorial Catholic Mass will be held at a later date. With immediate family attending, Norbert was laid to rest on April 7, 2020 in Our Lady of the Lake Church Catholic Cemetery, where he was a parishioner since his family arrived in King Ferry.
Donations may be made in Norbert’s memory to Southern Cayuga Instant Aid, P.O. Box 7, Poplar Ridge, NY 13139.