MU College of Veterinary Medicine Professor Emeritus Donald Arthur Schmidt, DVM, PhD, of Columbia, Missouri, passed away Dec. 29, 2018, at 96. A visitation was held on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, followed by a funeral with the Rev. Brian Thieme officiating. Interment will be private.
Donald Schmidt was born on a farm in Wittenberg, Wisconsin, on Jan. 29, 1922. He earned a bachelor of science degree in agricultural bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1944, and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Michigan State College in 1947. His was the last class in the war-time accelerated program in veterinary medicine at that school. He went on to receive a master of science degree in veterinary pathology from the University of Minnesota while on a fellowship with the Mayo Clinic in 1950.
That same same year, he accepted a position as the first full time veterinarian for the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1951 he married LaVaune Hauser, a histotechnologist working on a tuberculosis project at the Mayo Clinic. In 1953 he became an assistant professor in veterinary pathology at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Schmidt became certified in anatomic pathology in 1959. He earned a PhD in veterinary pathology from Michigan State University in 1961.
He accepted a position as professor of veterinary pathology at the MU CVM in 1966. In 1972 he was one of nine individuals who passed the first national certifying examination of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in veterinary clinical pathology. During his tenure at MU he prepared 23,500 microscopic and macroscopic transparencies for teaching veterinary clinical pathology, which were still in use for many years after his retirement. He retired from MU in 1992 as Professor Emeritus, but continued working part time for the pathology department until he was 80.
During his teaching career he received the Norden Distinguished Teaching Award four times and earned three Golden Aesculapius Teaching Awards. The American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
He was preceded in death by his wife, brothers Armin Schmidt and Vernon Schmidt, and sister, Jean Schmidt Schoessow. Surviving are his brother, Alan Schmidt, three daughters, Jo Ann Loomis, Cheryl Nichols (Brent), and Katherine Gibson (Mark), 16 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Schmidt was a longtime member of Trinity Lutheran Church which he served as an elder.