John Charles Schmidt, writer and editor

The Baltimore Sun

John Charles Schmidt, a retired writer and editor who had worked for The Sunday Sun and Baltimore Magazine, died Saturday of pneumonia at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 80.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Hamilton, Mr. Schmidt was a 1946 graduate of City College. He earned a bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1950. In 1974, he earned a master's degree in library science from Hopkins.

He began working for WMAR-TV before joining the Army in 1950. After attending the Army's intelligence and information schools, he was assigned to Seoul, South Korea, where he was a radio announcer and writer for Armed Forces Radio.

After being discharged with the rank of sergeant in 1952, he returned to WMAR, where he was a newsreel writer, producer and documentary writer until joining The Sunday Sun as a magazine feature writer.

In 1962, Mr. Schmidt was assigned to The Sun's feature section, where he wrote on a wide range of subjects.

Mr. Schmidt joined Baltimore Magazine as associate editor in 1965, where his duties included feature writing, reporting and various editorial assignments.

"He was a smart man," said William Stump, the former Baltimore Magazine editor who hired Mr. Schmidt. "He wrote widely on technical subjects and had the great gift of being able to write them in layman's terms."

Mr. Stump, who later served as the last editorial page editor of the News American, said that Mr. Schmidt was "fascinated with space launchings" and would "sit for hours watching them on TV."

After leaving the magazine, Mr. Schmidt joined Hopkins' office of news and information, where he was senior media representative assigned to cover engineering news, and was alumni notes editor for the Johns Hopkins Magazine.

His updated edition of Johns Hopkins: Portrait of a University, which had originally been written by Robert P. Sharkey in 1975, was published in 1986.

Mr. Schmidt retired in 1995.

A longtime resident of the Charles Center apartments, since 2000 he had lived at Emerald Estates in Northwest Baltimore. He had been a member of the Johns Hopkins Club and the Maryland Historical Society.

He was a member of the old Lutheran Church of the Reformation.

Graveside services were held yesterday at Parkwood Cemetery.

Surviving is a sister, Carolyn Bindeman of Frederick. A brief marriage ended in divorce.

Frederick N. Rasmussen

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