On November 1, 2023, William Delaney (Bill) Schmidt passed away after enduring many years of Frontotemporal Dementia. Bill would say "Life - it is what it is." But how does one describe his life, living with a disease that measures out the happiness afforded a family, a disease that changed its rituals.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11AM on Friday, November 17, 2023, at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, 520 Raymond St., Bismarck, with interment at St. Mary's Cemetery.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, November 16, 2023, at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck from 5PM-6PM with a Vigil and Rosary service at 6PM with a time for sharing to follow.
Bill was born on June 3, 1950 to Mary (Murphy) and Joseph Schmidt, the eldest of three sons. He remained a life-long resident of Bismarck. He attended St. Mary's and Cathedral elementary schools. Quick thinking and physically active, grade school set in motion his love for sports. Bill excelled early in football, basketball, and baseball. As a student at St. Mary's Central High School, Bill continued playing football and basketball. He graduated in 1968 and attended Bismarck Junior College on a basketball scholarship. A year later, he transferred to the University of North Dakota to pursue his deepening interests in political science and advocacy. Bill received an undergraduate degree in 1972 and, soon thereafter enrolled in the University of North Dakota School of Law, graduating in 1976.
While in law school, Bill met Patricia (Pattie) Hallowell. They were married in December 1975. Bill was so very proud when their son, Jeffrey Delaney, was born in 1980 and their daughter, Amanda Elizabeth, was born in 1983.
Bill began his legal career with North Dakota Health and Human Services, where he developed an expertise in juvenile law. Several years later, Bill entered private practice, and for the next 30 years he championed the cause of the underdog, fearlessly shouldering work that others would avoid. Throughout, a constant in Bill's life as a lawyer was his passion for individual rights. Everyone deserved the right to aggressive, fair representation. He had the opportunity to put this conviction to good use during the last ten years of his practice as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of North Dakota. Although the law is a demanding profession, Bill was able to fulfill its duties while helping raise a family, enjoying the companionship of friends, and being a cheerful participant in the traditions of the large clan into which he married, in itself a worthy achievement.
He always made time for family. He attended and cheered for Jeff and Mandy at each of their athletic, musical, and educational events. He stressed the importance of higher education and was proud that both children obtained university degrees and used those degrees in the service of others. As a lawyer Bill was known to be hard working, stubbornly dedicated, ever driven. He was even better known to his family as Husband, Dad and Boompa. Family, career and giving back-these three attributes informed Bill's days. He served as the President of the Heartview Foundation from 2007-2017. He served on the board of the North Dakota Trial Lawyers Association. He spoke to students during Law Day each May. He was legal counsel for Neighbors Network, a group which advocates for children and families in our community.
Bill could be seen moving the chains on the football field, cheering in the stands, running the clock for basketball games, volunteering in the broadcasting booth for St. Mary's Central High School athletic events, enjoying whatever task needed doing. He was a most passionate supporter. In recognition of his commitment, in 2015 Bill was awarded the St. Mary's High School Distinguished Service Award. Bill also contributed to his faith community, serving on the St. Mary's Church Board of Directors and on the Finance Board for the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. For more than 25 years, he greeted parishioners as a member of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit's Hospitality Committee.
One could not be with Bill very long before learning of his abiding love of sport. As a fan, he watched, read, and discussed sports, devoting himself to learning the plays, supporting the teams, and memorizing the statistics. He played golf for decades and could be seen at the Riverwood Golf Course every weekend, from its opening in the spring until it closed in late autumn. This enthusiasm easily transferred to Jeff and Mandy who shared his skill and his passion on the course and off, following the tour together. A highlight of his golfing life came when they gifted him with trips to The Ryder Cup and the Masters Championship. He also played amateur basketball well into his 60s. In recognition of his talent and tenacity, he was inducted into the North Dakota Basketball Amateur Hall of Fame in 2012. Of course, he had his favorite teams. Bill was an avid supporter of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux football and hockey teams and the (Milwaukee) Atlanta Braves.
Bill is survived by his wife of 48 years, Pattie; son, Jeffrey (Kerry) Schmidt; and two dear grandchildren Maddox and Kiera; daughter Amanda (Neal) Northrup and sisters-in-law Lisa (Pat) Schmidt and Sharon (Bob) Schmidt. He was exceptionally supported by his in-laws: Gail and Paul Ebeltoft, Mark Belden, Frank and Barb Hallowell, Jim and Kari Hallowell, Ann and Kevin Gilchrist, Kathy and Dave Bren; eleven nephews, four nieces, four great-nephews and one great-niece.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Mary Schmidt; brothers, Bob and Pat Schmidt and sister-in-law, Jean Belden.
The family expresses deep thanks and gratitude to the staff of Baptist Health & Rehab, especially those in the Morning Star unit who, with competence and care, attended to Bill's daily needs this past year. If you wish to honor Bill's memory, please consider a contribution to St. Mary's Central High School Athletics Department, the Heartview Foundation or charity of your choice. Bill didn't say this. Mike Singletary did. "Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play." Bill lived that adage. We, as well as those he advocated for, are grateful to have been part of his game.