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Father Schmitz remembered as simple, dedicated priest

Father Robert Schmitz, a native of Petersburg whose nearly 63 years of service in the priesthood included ministering in 10 rural communities, died March 18 in Omaha at age 91.

A funeral Mass, with Archbishop George J. Lucas as the main celebrant, was held March 23 at St. John the Baptist Church in Petersburg, with burial in the parish cemetery.

“He was a simple, dedicated priest,” said Father Harold Buse, pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Bellevue, the homilist for the funeral. “He was very much committed to country living, healthy living and a healthy lifestyle.”

Father Schmitz, who was ordained in 1955, served as director for rural life in the archdiocese from 1972 to 1983. He also had a particular concern for the poor, and often took food and other items from his own home to help someone in need, Father Buse said.

Father Schmitz served as assistant pastor of St. Mary Parish in West Point and then-St. Agnes Parish in Omaha. He was pastor of parishes in Emmet, Amelia, Plainview, Brunswick, St. Helena, Atkinson, Butte, Naper and Tilden.

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