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A Tribute to Gary Schmidt

A Tribute to Gary Schmidt


On November 9, 2012, another valued friend of the concrete placing industry, Gary Schmidt, 61, passed away in Walnut, California. Gary courageously battled lung cancer for almost a year before leaving behind his wife Sally, a married daughter and a recently born grandson. He precedes his mother Mary, three brothers and two sisters. Gary was the son of the late Joe Schmidt, Jr., a pioneer in concrete placing; and Gary proudly followed in his father’s footsteps with the same dedication to advancing our industry.

With more than 35 years experience in the concrete field, Gary was a concrete pump mechanic and operator as well as an entrepreneur at a young age, having established his own concrete pumping business, Rio Sierra, Inc. With a keen mechanical mind, Gary would buy used Thomsen equipment, fully rebuild the units and then operate them in his business. In the 1980s, the challenging economic times led Gary to a new venture of handling technical service for Reed, which required extensive traveling. In 1997, Gary joined Putzmeister as the company's Western regional sales manager, again fulfilling his role with great integrity and professionalism that further earned him enormous respect among his customers, co-workers and friends in the concrete industry.

Gary's strong work ethic, hands-on experience and understanding of service and maintenance proved invaluable, as he offered many ingenious solutions to difficult concrete placing challenges and provided common sense input for product improvements. Plus, Gary’s heart was enormous, giving generously of his time and sharing his knowledge to help others. He even traveled to Japan to assist with concrete pump training and machine setup to pump water for cooling nuclear reactors after the tsunami.

Even during illness, Gary remained positive, courageous and determined to continue providing sales and service support to his customers. This alone speaks volumes about his character. Gary will be dearly missed, as people valued his input, trusted his word, appreciated his help and most importantly, treasured his genuine friendship.

If you would like to honor Gary's memory, USC's Norris Cancer Center and Gary's oncologist Dr. Barbara Gitlitz, in cooperation with the Schmidt family, have established a research fund in Gary's name to support lung cancer research. 100% of the money donated to the Gary Schmidt Lung Cancer Research Fund will be used to fund cancer research, and the fund will be managed and directed by Dr. Gitlitz.

USC's Norris Cancer Center is a private research facility and highly dependent on the support of donors. Gifts can be sent to USC Norris Cancer Center, 1441 Eastlake Ave #8302, Los Angeles, CA 90089, Attn: Carmy Peters, Director of Development. Checks can be made out to USC Norris Cancer Center and reference "Gary Schmidt Research Fund" in the memo line. Each donor will receive an IRS/USC gift receipt. USC tax ID # is 95-1642394.