Cover photo for Janet Schmidt's Obituary
Janet Schmidt Profile Photo
1937 Janet 2016

Janet Schmidt

August 7, 1937 — January 5, 2016

Janet "Jan" Schmidt, 78, of Ortonville, died on January 5, 2016, at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday, January 17, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. at New Life Community Baptist Church in Ortonville with Pastor David Grams and Pastor Tyson Kahler officiating. Visitation will be Saturday, January 16, from 5-7 p.m. at Mundwiler and Larson Funeral Home in Ortonville and will continue on Sunday for one hour prior to the time of service at the church. Burial will be held at a later date in the Artichoke Seventh Day Adventist Cemetery.

Mildred Janet (Jan) Swenson Olson Schmidt, daughter of Linas and Rosella (Raad) Swenson, was born August 7, 1937, to a farm family in Artichoke, MN, just one generation removed from Norwegian immigrants and descendants of Danish King Christian the 4th. They settled this land, farmed it, and knit together a community. Jan grew up on the family farm in Artichoke, MN. She graduated from high school in 1955 from Oak Park, IL and from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL.

Jan married Carl Albert Olson, June 17, 1960. Together they farmed the family's Century Farm homestead where they raised their children, Leslie, Loren and Cindy. They were active members of their church and community and were dairy farmers until Carl's unexpected death in 1985. Faced with hardship, Jan's strong will and optimism shone through. At the age of 48, she went back to school, started her own business to support herself and maintain her farm. Jan later worked as the development director for Pioneer Public TV and as director of the Big Stone Health Care Foundation.

Evidence that love finds us where we are, Jan and Carl Lester Schmidt married November 21, 1993. They were enthusiastic and active partners serving their churches, community, and families together for 22 happy years.

December 31, 2015 Jan had surgery to reduce pain. Low blood pressures caused complications. She passed away in Sioux Falls on January 5th.

Jan was a blessing to her family and with those of us lucky enough to know her by birthright, she was generous of spirit, interesting, intelligent, supportive, and loved us deeply. She was always hoping and planning for the best for us. Jan loved to gather people together whether at the lake for fishing and swimming or to make lefse with the whole extended family.

Jan demonstrated the best of community building through her church, her farm, her family, volunteerism and her work. Jan modelled Christ's welcoming spirit and embraced all as part of her family in Christ. As a member of Artichoke Seventh Day Adventist church, Jan served as an elder, enjoyed singing, and served as organist. The beauty of that lovely church set alone in the prairie in Artichoke Township is symbolic of good roots that have been planted here, roots that were tended by Jan as part of the congregation. She was a leader in the faith community, serving as regional director for the Christian Women's Club. This corner of western Minnesota benefitted from Jan's talents and beliefs. As an active community member, Jan participated in Kiwanas, the Farmers Union, Women's Study Group, knitting club, Garden Club, was a 4H leader and many more.

Because of Jan's deep and abiding faith, we know that she is not gone but gone before us and that we will meet again one day on that beautiful shore. Jan was first and foremost a child of God and her life served as a testament to God's love, the light of which shone through her and with which she blessed her family and all who knew her. Jan leaves many legacies; a family well-loved and well raised, a farm well-tended and cared for, and a community with a firm foundation for generations to come.

Jan was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Carl Olson; brother, Robert; sister, Diana Mechtel (Glen); brother-in-law, Harry (Nancy) Olson; sisters- in-law: Mary Jo Olson and Dianne Olson.

She is survived by husband, Carl Schmidt of Milbank, SD; sons: Leslie (Jessica) Olson of Brooklyn Park, MN; and Loren (Julie) Olson of Cedar Rapids, IA; daughter, Cindy (Clair) Angland of Alexandria, MN; stepson, Ron (Linda) Schmidt of Odessa, MN; stepdaughters: Kerry (Dean) VonEschen and Cindy (Dale) VonEschen, all of Ortonville, MN; grandchildren: Rosa, Anika, Jesse, Shay (Michael), Chase, Carter, Cooper; and step-grandchildren: Amanda (Anthony), Lindsey, Austin and Dylan; one great grandchild; Carl's grandchildren: Jason (Kris), Janelle (Marty), JoAnn, Susan, Sarah (Jeff), Darin, and Jodi; Carl's nine great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Larry (Carol) Swenson of Litchfield, MN; sisters-in-law: Dianne Swenson of Morris, MN, and Eileen Mechtel of Brooklyn Park, MN; brothers-in-law, Armond Olson of Mankato, MN, and Ralph Schmidt of Appleton, MN; and her step mother, Loraine Nolting of Waconia, MN.

May the world be blessed with more souls like Jan's. Well done good and faithful servant!

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations made to any of the following: Big Stone Health Care Foundation, Big Stone Camp for Christ, or Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson.


Mundwiler and Larson Funeral Home
401 NW 2nd Street
Ortonville, MN 56278

Saturday, January 16, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM


New Life Community Baptist Church
605 Minnesota St. N
Ortonville, MN 56278

Sunday, January 17, 2016
2:00 PM


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