Joseph H. Schmitt

Joseph H. Schmitt

Joey passed away Sunday, July 10, 2016 surrounded by his loving family at Rose Arbor Hospice.

He was born April 18, 1963 in Kalamazoo the son of Joseph and Sharon (Bailey) Schmitt. Joey was a 1981 Otsego High School graduate and for a short time had worked at Durametallic in Kalamazoo. On October 23, 1992 in Kalamazoo he married Lori Kataki and was her caregiver for 17 years until her passing in 2011. Joey enjoyed writing poems, communicating through social media and the internet, reading Stephen King novels, listening to music and attending concerts. He had many friends and always had a positive attitude and smile on his face.

Surviving are his parents; sisters, Beth Ann Schmitt and Laurie Schmitt; nephew, Asa (Jessica) Lakeman of Belmont and their 4 children; special friend, Connie Blanchard along with many aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his wife and grandparents, Stanley and Bethel Schmitt.

According to his wishes cremation has taken place.

Private family burial of ashes will take place at Mountain Home Cemetery, Otsego.

A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 11:00 AM at the Otsego VFW Post #3030.

Contributions in memory of Joey may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.

Messages of condolence may be posted at www.WinkelFuneralHome.com.

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Agnes vanarsdal says:

    I remember the day Joey was born, I was 12.
    I am so blessed to have been his Aunt.
    He was one of a kind. His positive attitude and up beat messages have made a difference in my life. I am without a doubt that he has touched hundreds of lives.
    He could have said, ” why me” but refused to let his physical handicap control him.
    He is the true meaning of a hero, to me.
    Forever I will care him in my heart.

    • Connie Blanchard says:

      I love you so much Aunt Agnes! You know how much Joe meant to me. I hope we can still stay close. I think Joe would love that. You, Big Joe and Sharon have made me feel like one of your family and I love you all for that.

    • Steven V Chamberlin says:

      I first met Joey, like many of you, when he transferred into Otsego somewhere in junior high. He was, of course easily identifiable – Joey was “the kid on crutches” or “the kid in the wheelchair”. When he joined band and picked the clarinet for his instrument, I remember thinking, “Joey’s probably going to be the best clarinet player in the band. He’ll probably be a clarinet prodigy!’ Well, that didn’t exactly happen. So then I probably thought, “Joey’s going to be a great scientist or academic genius” . . .  eh, not so much! (Haha!). In choir and writing, I thought the same things, “He’ll be a great singer! Or, “He’ll be a great writer! He sure loves to sing and write poetry and he’s pretty fearless about doing so too!”  Well, Joey had a lifelong love of writing and music, but alas, he did not exactly become a household name at any of these things. But f course there was always his disability. We probably all can remember seeing terribly humiliating things happen to him – things that would have caused any other teenager to crawl under a rock and die of embarrassment, but Joey just picked himself up, shook it off, and kept on moving. But the other thing – and this is the one thing in my mind that Joey excelled at above all other things – the thing that made him truly remarkable to me was his ability to love people. Joey was a real radical in that regard. Joey was maybe one of the most radical people I have ever known. That word, “radical” has some strange associations in modern English. We tend to associate it either with religious extremism and violence or with something outrageous (like an improbable skateboarding maneuver). But the origin of the word meant to seize or to grasp something by the root – so a radical is someone who we would say, “goes to the heart of the matter” or “cuts to the chase”.  And Joey was most certainly radical in the way he loved. I cannot really describe it fully. If you knew him at all, you knew that much about him. He just never ever judged people. He made friends all over the place. Soon after he passed, I would log into Facebook and I’d notice that I had these friend requests from Playboy bunnies and models and Facebook would tell me that I had “one friend in common with them” – “Gee, I wonder who that might be?!” Of course it was Joey! Joey sure loved the pretty women!

      Joey and I reconnected after many years via Facebook and we fell into this habit of given each other a hard time. It was pretty funny, although many of his friends who never met him personally were aghast at the way I talked to him. Joey would always laughingly step in and tell them we were old friends and that’s how we carried on. We kept that up right until the end. When Mark Kuiper and I went to see him at Bronson Hospital, I started kind of giving it to him a little bit and then I asked him if he could still flip me off. So he raised his left hand and gave me the finger. When Mark told him he was really glad to see him and wished him well, Joey gave Mark a thumb’s up sign. When Mark mentioned me to him, Joey raised his left fist and feigned trying to punch me out.

      Joey was one of the best among us. A true radical in the truest sense, and I’m sure it’s an honest thing to say that anyone who spent any time around him will never forget him.

      Godspeed Joey!

  2. Michael & Linda Stone says:

    Both Linda and I had Joe as a student, but he was more than just a student, for he was a very special friend. Despite all he had to endure, you never heard him complain. He always had a smile. He was upbeat, positive, encouraging, and was and will always be an inspiration to all of us. The world was a better place with Joe in it and now Heaven is that much better with Joe in it. Linda and I have a saying, regarding former students; “once you are our student, you will always be our student”. Joe will be in our hearts forever. R.I.P. Joe. You were taken from us far too early, but your memories will live on forever. Thank you for being a part of our life. Love, Mike & Linda.

  3. Chuck and Eileen Root (cousins) says:

    We are very sorry for your loss Joe and Sharon and family. May God bring you peace and comfort. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  4. Tina Karp says:

    My Dear Friend Beth,
    I am so so sorry for your loss. I know how much you loved your baby brother. I remember all of the stories you told me about you as kids growing up and how proud you were of him for being as independent as he possibly could be as an adult. You were a good sister… never forget.

  5. Dick and Sylvia Davis says:

    Joe and Sharon our thoughts and prayers are with you both at this
    very hard time. We will always remember his laugh and the sparkle in his eyes. Love you both
    Dick and Sylvia

  6. Richard Standish says:

    Joe was a good friend. We had lots of fun times throughout middle, and high school, and beyond. He was always happy and brightened everyone’s day. He never thought of himself as being handicapped. I have a lot of great memories of hanging out with him. Rest in peace my friend, you will be missed.

  7. Sandy Holden says:

    So sorry for your loss !!! Hugs and Prayers to all of you !! God Bless.

  8. Connie Vanarsdal says:

    I only met Joey a couple of times but would read his posts on facebook he was always so positive and insightful my thoughts and prayers go out to the Schmitt family

  9. Gregory and Susan LaMarseillaise says:

    I remember Joey and Lori and it will be forever. Joey being the only Otsego graduate that i had seen with the most consistency of any graduate spanning a period of almost 20 years. God Bless you friend.
    You will be missed.

  10. Tammy Lutes says:

    Joey was one year behind me in school. He was a true inspiration to me and many others. I will truly miss his daily Facebook posts which included daily quotes, uplifting messages, music and much humor! He was an amazing guy and will be forever missed! Sending much comfort and peace to those he has left behind.

  11. Peggy Lomonaco says:

    SO sorry to Joeys whole family & also Connie for your loss! Nothing I can say is going to take your pain away, just know that my thoughts & prayers are with you ALL! God Bless!

  12. Karen Myers ( Town) says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss ! I went to school with joey ! And I no alot of his family ! My prayers are with you all !

  13. Marnie says:

    My thoughts and prayers for my Aunt Sharon, Uncle Joe, cousins Laurie, Beth and Asa during this difficult time. I love and miss you all. Joey was an amazing hero of our family and we are all better for having him and his positive ways influence us in our lives. Rest in Peace Joey.

    Much love Marnie

  14. jack jacobs says:

    so sorry for your loss joe we were classmates I will pray for you miss you joe

  15. Bert and Bob Renauld says:

    Rest in peace Joey!!!

  16. Ed & Zarlene Main says:

    Sincere thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.

  17. Michelle Schmitt says:

    Uncle Joe , Aunt Sharon and family, you are never far from my thoughts. I love you all so much and will be praying for you.

  18. Sandy (Latterner) Leversee says:

    Joe Sr and family. I am so sorry for your loss. We also lost a Son. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Look up that is where our help comes from. Our strength is in the Lord.

  19. Richard and Pat McBride says:

    Condolences on the loss of your son.

  20. Julie Hatfield says:

    I’ve know Joey and his family most of my life. Sending prayer for comfort to Joe, Sharon, Beth and Laurie in this trying time.
    The Coburns
    Clint
    Julie
    Troy

  21. Kim (Fenner) Sheldon says:

    I remember walking the halls in school and whenever I would pass Joey, he would always have a smile on his face,, sparkle in his eye and a kind word to say. He always had a positive outlook on life and I enjoyed our conversations. Connie and Joey family….my prayers go out to you all. Keep his memories alive in your heart.

  22. LaRayne Sweet says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.. I am going to miss all his inspiration and posts on fb..

  23. Ronnie Marks says:

    Joey truly was an inspiration to many people. His ever present smile, genuine love of his family and friends, and his upbeat personality will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know him.
    Rock on, Joey…….we will see you again.

  24. Mark Kuiper says:

    I was closest to Joey during the Middle School years, although we remained in band and choir together for the whole of our careers in school. In middle school we would hang around during recess in the gym, me pushing his wheelchair sometimes. Social media made me realize that ha was still that great cheerful positive guy that he was as a child. I, like everyone else, was very lucky to know him.

  25. Diane Smith says:

    There is now words to express the loss of such a faithful, loving man. Joey held many special places in himself for many of us. Joey was a very faithful person…. Joey was very inspirational to many including I….joey …is and will always hold a very special place within me today and always.,
    Joey, always my friend I want to thank u for your warmth in the friendship u gave to me.
    Forever with u…… God bless you’re family through this trying time.
    I am so sorry.
    Love ,
    Diane

  26. Craig and Lorna Sisson says:

    Dear Joe Sharon and family
    Our thoughts hearts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. May God flood your hearts and minds with all your wonderful memories and give you the peace that only He can give.

  27. Pat and Sue Janssen says:

    Joe and Sharon we were very sorry to hear of Joey’s passing. Please know that our prayers are with all of you during this very sad time. he will truly be missed by everyone .

  28. Shirley Sutton says:

    I only knew Joe from all the wonderful stories Laurie dared with me, I know the family is hurting right now so I’m sending extra love and prayers to all.

  29. Jim and Judy Wendt says:

    So very sorry for your pain.
    All our love and prayers.

  30. Pam Morse says:

    My heart goes out to the family and Connie. We have lost a great man, he always had a smile on his face and a word of wisdom for us almost daily! I went to school with Joe and I still remember that smile he always had even back in grade school. He was one of the most positive people I know. He will be greatly missed by many, and anyone who knew him should be honored. Fly with the angels Joe and live on with your wife in eternity.

  31. randi deneau says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Joey was an amazing man. Loved reading his posts every day. Will miss them. Thinking of the family at what they are going through.

    • Don and Sally Dam says:

      So sorry for the loss of your dear son Joey! Prayers are with you all !

  32. Marshall Wyant says:

    The world was a better place with Joey, now heaven is.
    My deepest condolences.

    -Marshall

  33. Jan Montgomery says:

    Joe & Sharon
    We are so very sorry to hear of Joey’s passing.Know our thoughts , prayers and hearts are with you at this very sad time, Thinking of all the family at this difficult time.
    Bill & Jan Montgomery

  34. Grant and Becky VanHeukelum says:

    Joe, Sharon and family,
    You have our sincere sympathy in the loss of your son. May the Good Lord give you strength to bare your loss during this hard time.

  35. Chip says:

    Feisty cantankerous lover and a gentleman (mostly;0). Glad I’ll never have to see him the way I last saw him, immensely grateful for the memories & inspiration that he gave me. RIP Joe and LIP to those who remain.

  36. Don and Shirley Brown says:

    Joe and Sharon, Family. So very sorry for your loss. Joey was always a shining star at every thing he did. He leaves many happy memories for you and know that he is running thur heaven. Prays to all

  37. Steven V Chamberl8n says:

    I first met Joey, like many of you, when he transferred into Otsego somewhere in junior high. He was, of course easily identifiable – Joey was “the kid on crutches” or “the kid in the wheelchair”. When he joined band and picked the clarinet for his instrument, I remember thinking, “Joey’s probably going to be the best clarinet player in the band. He’ll probably be a clarinet prodigy!’ Well, that didn’t exactly happen. So then I probably thought, “Joey’s going to be a great scientist or academic genius” . . .  eh, not so much! (Haha!). In choir and writing, I thought the same things, “He’ll be a great singer! Or, “He’ll be a great writer! He sure loves to sing and write poetry and he’s pretty fearless about doing so too!”  Well, Joey had a lifelong love of writing and music, but alas, he did not exactly become a household name at any of these things. But f course there was always his disability. We probably all can remember seeing terribly humiliating things happen to him – things that would have caused any other teenager to crawl under a rock and die of embarrassment, but Joey just picked himself up, shook it off, and kept on moving. But the other thing – and this is the one thing in my mind that Joey excelled at above all other things – the thing that made him truly remarkable to me was his ability to love people. Joey was a real radical in that regard. Joey was maybe one of the most radical people I have ever known. That word, “radical” has some strange associations in modern English. We tend to associate it either with religious extremism and violence or with something outrageous (like an improbable skateboarding maneuver). But the origin of the word meant to seize or to grasp something by the root – so a radical is someone who we would say, “goes to the heart of the matter” or “cuts to the chase”.  And Joey was most certainly radical in the way he loved. I cannot really describe it fully. If you knew him at all, you knew that much about him. He just never ever judged people. He made friends all over the place. Soon after he passed, I would log into Facebook and I’d notice that I had these friend requests from Playboy bunnies and models and Facebook would tell me that I had “one friend in common with them” – “Gee, I wonder who that might be?!” Of course it was Joey! Joey sure loved the pretty women!

    Joey and I reconnected after many years via Facebook and we fell into this habit of given each other a hard time. It was pretty funny, although many of his friends who never met him personally were aghast at the way I talked to him. Joey would always laughingly step in and tell them we were old friends and that’s how we carried on. We kept that up right until the end. When Mark Kuiper and I went to see him at Bronson Hospital, I started kind of giving it to him a little bit and then I asked him if he could still flip me off. So he raised his left hand and gave me the finger. When Mark told him he was really glad to see him and wished him well, Joey gave Mark a thumb’s up sign. When Mark mentioned me to him, Joey raised his left fist and feigned trying to punch me out.

    Joey was one of the best among us. A true radical in the truest sense, and I’m sure it’s an honest thing to say that anyone who spent any time around him will never forget him.

    Godspeed Joey!

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