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Dorothy  Diane Schmidt West

Obituary for Dorothy Diane Schmidt West

September 14, 1939 - October 4, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 79

Obituary

Dorothy Diane Schmidt West
14 September 1939- 4 October 2018

Diane was born in Austin, Texas on September 14th, 1939 to Victor Raymond Schmidt Jr. and Elva Opal Morris Schmidt. She was named after her aunt Dorothy "Dot" Schmidt Tomsu, as they shared the same birthdate.

The paternal side of her family had a direct male line to Major Johann Jacob Erich Friedrich Schmidt, who was a professional officer in the Duchy of Brunswick fighting against Napoleon's forces in several battles starting in 1809. The family also had roots in Aachen, German Empire and Wolfenbuttel, Duchy of Brunswick, German Empire, before immigration to the Americas. They arrived in Austin in the early 1880s, after several years in Saltillo, Mexico and New Orleans. The maternal side of her family had deep Scots- Irish and Creek/Cherokee heritage. Originally from Nixburg, Alabama, they migrated to Mt. Zion, Louisiana and a century later to Williamson County, Texas. The Morris family moved to Austin in the 1920s.

Diane spent her early childhood, along with her late sister Linda in Austin, Texas surrounded by generations of extended family. With her father overseas as a Seabee officer during WWII, they lived with their mother, a household full of aunts and maternal grandmother in a small house west of downtown Austin. When told "no" by their mother, the two sisters developed the skill of asking successive aunts until they finally received the desired answer of "yes". The sisters were quite surprised when they left the safety of Mamaw's house that the "real world" did not regard them as quite as special, as did their aunts. Diane attended St. Mary's Cathedral Catholic School through junior high, where she frequently was at odds with the teachers who were Religious Sisters, for various minor infractions such as talking and passing notes. Once, while sneaking a note to a friend on the other side of the classroom, Diane crawled behind the desks and chairs, thinking that she was unseen by the Sister. She realized she was caught when, in front of her, suddenly appeared the very practical black shoes of the Sister! Later, came the birth of her favorite (and only) brother Victor Raymond Schmidt III. The Schmidt's were one of the founding families of Saint Louis Catholic Church in Austin.

Diane was proud to have been a member of the first graduating class at McCallum High School in 1957. She played on the tennis team, was a member of the Blue Brigade drill team and excelled at academics, graduating 7th in her class. The family moved to San Antonio for a year, where she attended Alamo Heights High School before returning to McCallum High. She and her doubles partner were ranked second in Texas. She fondly recalled going to see Elvis Presley in concert while in San Antonio and admitted that she screamed just like the other "silly girls" despite promising herself in advance that she would not.

Following in the footsteps of her grandfather and father, she gained admission to the University of Texas at Austin in 1957, where she played on the Women's Tennis Team and studied languages to include English, Spanish and Portuguese. She continued to be fluent in Spanish and could still read and understand Portuguese in her later years. She worked her way though the University working in the Romance Languages Department office and summers working as a restaurant hostess in a wilderness lodge in Estes Park, Colorado. Diane took advantage of a one-year scholarship to study at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City. She pointed out just last week that she earned 30 credit hours from the institution, but could only transfer 9 to UT, making her graduate later than she expected. While at UT she also earned her teaching certificate to teach Spanish and English. Her plan was to receive her PhD and teach at the college level.

This plan was altered when she met her future husband of fifty years, the late Colonel Samuel A. West Jr., on a blind date arranged by his buddy Ed Cates and Diane's childhood friend, Judy Cates. Sam, also a UT graduate, was an Army veteran and Military Police Captain, who had returned to the UT School of Business for graduate studies. He had seen her picture in The Daily Texan newspaper in an article about her year of study in Mexico. She recently made the statement that the "boys" she had dated previously were not a real man like her Sam (and he was tall!). Diane recently joked that she knew from the time she met him that he was the man for her, as she had a strange feeling overcome her that she could marry him, but did not tell him for fear of him running away. The birth of two children, Sam III and then Cathy, and the realities of raising children prevented her from ever finishing her graduate degree. She occasionally taught English as a Second language classes to adults, tutored elementary school children and Spanish speaking junior high students. Diane was a permanent fixture in the kids PTA and listed her occupation as Professional Volunteer. She expressed her gratitude that Sam provided for the family well enough that she could perform her volunteer work. Diane spent many weekends with the extended family at the family cabin on Lake Travis, where she spent hours fishing with her dad. Diane was an enthusiastic campaigner for Carole Keeton McClellan, during her many political races, whom she knew through Austin tennis tournaments. She continued to play competitive tennis well into her forties.

Diane served as a Den Mother in Sam III's Cub Scouts and was Cathy's Brownie and Girl Scout Leader. She served on the Troop Committee for Troop 88, Memorial Methodist Church in Austin for many years, where enjoyed the fellowship with the other Troop moms, Sylvia Glimp, Mary Nell Thames, Marilyn McMullen, Marie Ervin, Barbara Greenberg and many others during those years. She maintained many of these lifetime friendships to the present day.

She later served as caretaker and later executor for her beloved Aunt Audie and her husband Tom deSteiguer, as they never had children. She did the same for her grandmother and mother in their later years.

After Sam's retirement, they travelled to Alaska, and multiple trips to Mexico City and London. They were vacationing in London on September 11th, 2001. The return trip was postponed for several days, pending resumption of normal flight schedules.

Her remaining years were spent with her four grandchildren, enjoying many Austin restaurants, and visiting and having long conversations with her many friends and family. She continued to be very close to her brother and sister, often speaking to them several times a day. As their brother, Vic "Skip" Schmidt, is much younger, they often treated him as if he were their own child- often in the form of unsolicited advice. She described Connie Hughes and Connie Swarzwelder as her "sister friends" and her high school friend, Dr. Charlie Arnold as her "Brother". She delighted in assuming the role of "bonus" mom or grandma to other friends and family in need. After Sam's death in 2013, she added the unexpected title of gentlewoman farmer and businesswoman to her list of accomplishments, while co-managing Sam's family farms in North Texas.

Diane is survived by her son LTC Samuel A. West III, DO, USA (Ret.) and his wife Dr. Corinne West of Andice, her daughter Cathy Cook and her husband Sam Cook of Pflugerville, and grandchildren, Travis Cook (Chelsey), Kelly Cook, Rachel West and Samuel A. West IV. She is also survived by her brother Victor Raymond Schmidt III (Andres) of Austin; Aunt Eleanor Schmidt Hollas of Cameron, nieces and nephews Anna Phillips, Lisa O'Banan, Eric Matula, Brian Bell, Lynn Bell, Lori Woods, Lisa Bishop, grand nieces and nephews and scores of cousins across the country.

She was a lifelong, rabid fan of any University of Texas sport and frequently stated that she bled Burnt Orange. Her father Vic Schmidt Jr. played basketball and football for UT in the middle 1930s. She was particularly proud of her granddaughter Rachel who is the fifth generation in the family to attend The University. However, she became an accidental Texas Tech fan when grandson Travis and granddaughter Kelly became Red Raiders. She would wear her "Proud Red Raider Grandma" T-shirt during their games, but would always wear her "Texas Grandma" shirt when the two teams played each other. Grandson Sam IV, a big Longhorn fan, was appreciated for his place as the only red-headed grandchild, for his special talents and abilities and for his vigorous bear hugs. Hook 'em Horns!

The family would like to thank the nursing staff and physicians at St. David's North Austin Medical Center for their compassionate and skillful care during her brief illness.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Brookwood in Georgetown (BIG), Capitol Area Food Bank or the Salvation Army.

P.S. Mom, please forgive any grammatical errors in the above essay. We did not have your red pen to correct it for us.

A Visitation will be held at Weed-Corley-Fish, 3125 North Lamar Blvd., Austin from 5-7p.m., Friday 12th of October, with Rosary to follow.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Weed-Corley-Fish, 3125 North Lamar Blvd., Austin, 10 a.m. Saturday 13th of October. A private Catholic burial will occur at a later date.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Brookwood in Georgetown (BIG), Capitol Area Food Bank or the Salvation Army.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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