Louis E. Schmidt, a retired state assistant attorney general who was an acting secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 29 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. He was 87 and lived in Sparks.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Pimlico, he was the son of George Schmidt, an architect, and Mary Hemmeter, a homemaker. His father died when he was 1 year old. After the 1929 market crash, his mother lost her home and savings, and he was sent to live with relatives.
"This experience had a profound impact on his life," said his daughter, Robin S. Higgins of Brooklandville. "He was a very devoted father and loving husband who truly understood the meaning of family."
He was a 1943 graduate of Forest Park High School, where he won awards in lacrosse and ran track. After serving in the Air Force, he used the GI Bill to earn a business administration degree at what is now Loyola University Maryland, where he also ran track and played lacrosse.
He was also a Hutzler's department store model, photographed in sweaters, suits and sport coats. He later appeared in print beer advertisements. He also made training films.
Mr. Schmidt then became an investigator for the state of Maryland while he earned a law degree at the University of Baltimore. He continued with the state as an attorney after passing the Maryland Bar in 1951.
Family members said that he served the state in different capacities. He was general counsel for the Department of Health, an assistant attorney general for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and an acting secretary for that agency from 1970 through 1972. He was also an author of the state's first Medicaid bill. He retired from the state and started his own law practice in Towson.
Mr. Schmidt retired from his law practice in 2002.
Mr. Schmidt was president of the Fathers' Club at Loyola High School at Blakefield from 1966 through 1968 and was president of the Alumni Association at Loyola University Maryland in the early 1960s.
"Lou Schmidt was a great listener and get-it-done kind of a guy," said the Rev. Richard Schmidt, a Jesuit priest and a former prefect of discipline at Loyola High School, who is not related. "He did such a wonderful job that the members of the Fathers' Club asked him to serve two terms as president."
In 1980, he and his wife, Angela Custy Schmidt, opened the Two Turtles, a kiosk business focused on children at the Sam Smith Market at the newly opened Harborplace.
"They created a seasonal concept together after he had retired from the state," said his daughter. "It was a small entrepreneurial concept."
She said her parents kept the cart open for about a year before giving up the retail operation. The kept the concept alive and produced a children's book, illustrated by Maryland Institute College of Art students, and had a clothing line manufactured that they gave as gifts to friends who stayed at their Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Ocean City homes.
Mr. Schmidt's wife of 46 years died in 1995.
He later married Bette M. Koontz, and the two spent time in Ocean City, where they gardened in the dunes facing the ocean at 56th Street.
"My father proudly flew his Two Turtles flag when he was at Ocean City," his daughter said. The couple traveled to China, Israel, Greece, Turkey and the Caribbean.
Mr. Schmidt was a former member of the Baltimore Country Club, Ocean Pines Golf and Country Club, and the Lago Mar Tennis Club in Fort Lauderdale, where he played tennis and golf.
Mr. Schmidt established a scholarship fund at the Maryland Institute College of Art. The fund was co-named for his father, a 1910 graduate of the school and a faculty member until his death in 1926.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. James Episcopal Church, 3100 Monkton Road.
In addition to his wife of 11 years and his daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Kelly S. Townsend of Silver Spring; a stepson, J. Michael Koontz of Ellicott City; a stepdaughter, Susan K. Laber of Bishopville; five grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren. A son, Louis E. Schmidt Jr., died in 1971.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun