Carolyn Jean Schmitz, of Jordan (formerly of Savage), went to be with the Lord on Friday, June 9, 2017 at the age of 67. Carol was a woman of strong faith, and she loved all of God’s creatures.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation (104 First Street West) in Jordan. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM with visitation one-hour prior at Hope Lutheran Church (201 Hope Avenue) in Jordan. Reverend Nathaniel White will preside. Memorials will be distributed by Carol’s family in her honor.
Carol was born to parents, Walter and Evelyn Graber, on February 3, 1950. She grew up in South Minneapolis near Lake Nokomis and graduated from West High School. Carol always enjoyed every creature, even the little critters that scared most people. In grade school she began raising spotted mice and sold them to the local pet store. Even as a young girl, Carol had an entrepreneurial spirit and found a way to make money doing something she loved. Carol also had a job giving pony rides at Minnehaha Park. So long as she was working with animals, it never felt like work.
Soon Carol met someone who would grow to love her so much that he would enable her to run with her dreams. Bob and Carol met in a garden… or an alley… (depending on who you ask). Bob was good friends with Carol’s neighbors. He felt a connection from the moment he saw her. Although they met in July, Bob invited Carol to go skiing for their first date. Carol didn’t want to wait until winter to see him again, so she suggested they meet up to go biking instead. They’ve been together ever since. It seems that opposites do attract. Carol was a big city girl, who worked downtown Mpls, was from a small single parent family with no religious upbringing. She was more of an introvert who let’s say did not avoid conflict and who had just left a broken relationship. She had a high IQ, was not active in sports, was attention focused, smoked More cigarettes and drove a “66 Ford pickup with a crawl through mini camper. Then we have Bob, small town boy from large family. He attended Catholic school through 8th grade, an extravert who practiced conflict avoidance that had not had a serious relationship. He was active in sports, lets skip the IQ but say he was attention challenged, quit smoking 100 times and drove a ’74 Ford van.
It really was a match made in heaven. In their later years they pictured themselves as a kite sometimes one was the kite itself wanting to soar with the wind while the other was the tail of the kite, a bit of a drag, but really supplied stability and direction so that the other could soar.
During their courtship, Carol was employed at F&M Bank where she quickly moved up from a teller to a teller trainer to the mortgage department. Bob was employed in Savage where he bought a house close to work. He began remodeling the house, and Carol helped. They were most proud of the beautiful stone fireplace they built in the lower level. In fact, they exchanged wedding vows in front of that fireplace. Carol and Bob were married on November 15, 1980. It was in March of 1980 that they both made an adult commitment to believe & receive Jesus as their Savior and asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit when they attended a “Life in the Spirit Seminar” together at St. Johns in Savage.
Shortly after they were married, Carol got a pet Cockatiel. She loved caring for this bird, and soon their house was filled with African Grays, Amazons and Cockatoos. They converted one of the bedrooms then a basement and then a pole barn into aviaries. It wasn’t long before Carol turned this passion into work. Carol and Bob opened a parrot specialty pet store in Burnsville called The Parrot Tree. Their store was even featured in a news story on WCCO.
Carol also began showing Cockatiels at bird shows. She had one bird win so many shows that Carol quickly became a celebrity in the bird community. Carol soon became a Cockatiel judge with the ACS and a founding member/parrot judge with the SPBE. She would incubate the eggs and then hand fed the babies around the clock until they were old enough to eat on their own. She was acting like the midwife for hundreds, maybe a thousand, baby parrots, for we know that “extinction is forever”. Her amazement with God’s creation, the miracle of life and years of experience with exotic birds and the incubation of their eggs landed her the honor of a speaking assignment at the national convention of the AFA. She was very focused, had a keen eye and wonderful observation skills. She’d get judging assignments all over the country, so she and Bob were able to travel together to many competitions.
But Carol didn’t just love exotic birds. She also began breeding dogs. Her boxer, Otto, inspired her to lovingly home raise litters of puppies over the last 25 years, she also started working on a new breed of dog called the MiniBull. Carol was very well connected in the animal community including vets, breeders, zoos, animal rescue and the Raptor Center. During this same time frame Carol also was inspired to start raising white homing pigeons to be rented out for releases at special occasions. Gods amazing design of the homing pigeon enables the bird to fly back home to their coop to be rented out again. This God inspired idea has open the doors to governors’ mansions & rock stars’ weddings as well as the Jewish & Native American communities. When Carol and Bob moved to the Jordan area on 10+ acres there was room for horses so of course she started breeding, her horse of choice was the beautiful Gypsy Vanner. The www.outsideinnranch.com now have Gypsies with registrations in both the GVHS and the GHA. She was an excellent listener, a mentor and source of wisdom for many. She made many wonderful friends and was blessed to spend her life pursuing her passion for animals and breeding.
Although Carol had many hobbies and interests, the most important thing in her life was her Christian faith. She enjoyed spending quiet time with her Lord, studying His Word the Bible with a keen interest in the present astronomical end time signs. Both Carol and Bob were active in prayer ministries and involved in the Christian communities of Scott County and beyond. Carol got to take a trip to Israel, and they both took a Missions Trip to Australia.
Before she passed, Carol was able to pray, worship and celebrate communion with her husband and dear friends from Presence Church. She passed believing John 11:25-26 in which Jesus states
Jesus said to her “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Carol lived her earthly life knowing that God had saved her a sinner and that He gave her His eternal life with her own unique blend of Godly gifts such as wisdom, truth telling, inner strength and compassion. She will be deeply missed by her husband, Robert (Bob) Schmitz, her family and many dear friends in the faith and animal communities.
Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation proudly serves the Schmitz family. www.BallardSunderFuneral.com
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