Gert Friedrich Franz Schmitz was born on October 11, 1927 in Millrath, Germany and entered eternal life on May 7, 2022. His spirit is carried on by his wife Mary Ray Schmitz, daughters Michele Schmitz Broussard (Clay Broussard) and Nicole Schmitz Buchanan (David Buchanan), his 5 grandchildren: Sophia Yakel (Jacob Yakel), Katie Therrien (Luke Therrien), Michael Buchanan, Stella Broussard, and Nicholas Buchanan, and extended family and friends from every walk of life. Gert is reunited with his parents Erna Albert Schmitz and Fritz Friedrich Schmitz, and his grandparents.
Childhood in Germany was fondly and vividly recounted by Gert - he enjoyed sharing memories from as early as the age of two. After World War II began, he was drafted into the German Air Force. Later he fought on the Western Front in 1945 and was eventually captured by American soldiers. He left Germany in 1952 to start a new life in the United States. He served in the U.S. Army and later worked as an aerospace engineer alongside Dr. Wernher von Braun in Huntsville, Alabama. Gert was an integral member of the space program holding several patents, and he was also a founding member of the Von Braun Astronomical Society.
Gert enjoyed many interests and hobbies: sports cars, flying model airplanes, beautiful music, good food (especially his wife’s cooking), telling jokes, Star Trek, and watching videos of himself. He always made his presence known and never met a stranger. He shared his life stories with anyone who would listen. Several amazing people reached out to interview Gert, and he was honored to be featured in books and YouTube videos with millions of views.
A curious mind and zest for life inspired all who knew Gert throughout his 94 years. He was intensely wise, passionate and jovial and taught many lessons along the way: help others without hesitation; laugh hard and often; develop deep connections with people; and above all, love every single part of life.
Gert had tremendous pride for his family. His greatest joys were his wife, his daughters and being “Opa” to his grandchildren. Gert was faithful unto death, and his legacy will be passed down for years to come.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at Spry Funeral Home of Huntsville from 10:00am until 11:00am. Services will follow the visitation at 11:00am in the Spry Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Bill Cantrell officiating.
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