Roger Alan Schmidt
1-28-41 to 4-5-22
Passed away from Parkinson’s
Elnora (Ellie) Mae Schmidt
12-23-41 to 6-26-22
Passed away from natural causes
Roger Alan Schmidt was born on January 28, 1941 at Davidson-Hay Hospital in Port Angeles, WA to Alice (Sands) and Kenneth Schmidt. He lived his first year in Sekiu before moving to Bremerton where his father (a painter) painted ships in the naval yard. Their next move was to North Seattle where his parents ran Quality Fruit Market on Aurora Avenue. He was fortunate to spend every summer roaming the woods and fishing in the Hoko River on the Sands Homestead.
Rogers’ quick mind made him a good student and he enjoyed high school, spending afternoons working in the fruit market for his parents. His job in produce alley after high school would introduce him to friends and contacts he would keep throughout his life. As a young man Roger loved the sport of weight lifting and recalled competing against the inmates at McNeil Island Correctional Center. He won and it was a little dicey with such a tough crowd.
His other hobby was fast cars. He liked to talk about late night racing and especially his 1940 Ford Coupe.
Elnora Mae Radley was born in Weldon, Illinois on December 23, 1941 to Cliney and Grace (Baker) Radley. Ellie grew up with an exuberance for life. She enjoyed school, especially the social aspect, making friends easily and lettering in choir, band and cheerleading. She went on to trade school, graduating as a medical secretary with a specialty in optometry. Ellie recalled having to wear nylons and high heels to work everyday. Noting how times sure have changed.
Nurturing was her love language. You couldn’t help but feel cared for when you spent time with Ellie. She was also a natural with animals. Countless late nights were spent keeping an eye on a sick calf or the runt of a litter. Growing up in the middle of corn and soybean fields with a large family garden, she learned from a young age the importance and a love of farming.
In 1962 Ellie went on her first big adventure to visit a friend in Seattle and attended the World Fair. Little did she know that the trip would change the course of her life. Her first night in Seattle she went on a blind date with Roger, and the rest is history.
With Roger in Washington and Ellie in Illinois they wrote daily love letters to each other SWAK (sealed with a kiss) until they wed in October of 1962. Roger and Ellie settled in Seattle and in a short time were running Yakima Fruit Market in Bothell. Over the next 6 years their family would grow to 5 adding a son and 2 daughters. Ellie embraced this season of her life with joy. She was a natural at mothering being called a “second mom” by many.
Roger and Ellie started exploring rural areas within Washington and Oregon. Seeking out pure air and clean water to raise their children. Sequim won! Purchasing the Stewart Farm on Heath Road, Roger opened a greenhouse and landscaping business calling it Olympic Mountain View Nursery. Having been exposed to large scale farming in Illinois, Roger also started growing some vegetables on a larger scale to sell at fruit stands in the Seattle area. Discovering the need for fresh fruit and produce in the valley, he started making trips over the mountains to pick up Yakima fruit and selling it from the back of their pick-up truck, thus Sunny Farms Country Store was born. After a few years of a seasonal shack off Hwy 101 in Carlsborg, a permanent building was built and opened on June 5, 1979.
Throughout the 70’s Roger and Ellie developed the farm off Heath Road, raising purebred Shorthorn cattle, pigs, chickens, a pony or 2 and even a pair of turkeys named Salt and Pepper, rescued from the nearby Olympic Game Farm.
Autumn was always a special time in the lives of Roger and Ellie. A time of harvest and sharing in the bounty from Mother Earth. Many fond memories are cherished of the time spent at the U-pick pumpkin patch. Roger had a special knack for growing great carving pumpkins and Ellie brightened multitudes of children’s lives with her pumpkin patch tours. Back in the day a pumpkin cost 25 cents and the rule was you had to carry it out on your own. Roger was very skilled at designing corn mazes. From the vision in his mind to the completion on a tractor. Numerous families enjoyed the excitement of winding through his corn maze creations.
Over the next 3 decades, Roger would spend countless hours traveling between Sequim and Othello. Doing what he loved most, farming and growing vegetables for Sunny Farms. Roger also played an active role along with son Jeff in supporting the growth of the families Shorthorn herd from Sequim to a well established herd of Angus beef in Othello known as JR Ranch.
Roger spent a lot of time on water issues. He really believed water rights needed to be protected. Roger felt water was an important part of the valley, contributing to the fertile soil and abundant crops. Ellie was often heard saying “we need to be thankful we have the best tasting water.”
The hardest working man you will ever meet, Roger delighted in a job well done. Loyalty, attention to detail and honesty were important to him. He had a strong moral compass and was an example to all. He was a teacher, mentoring many youngsters in their jobs as they passed through Sunny Farms, but also teaching his customers about fruits and vegetables.
Ellie was a joy to be around, her inner light shone bright. A forever optimist, she always found the good in any situation. Generous of spirit, kind, insightful, patient and giving. An avid reader and snail mail lover, she wrote letters and sent cards to family and friends around the country.
As Sunny Farms grew, Roger and Ellie remained committed to helping small town community organizations. 4-H, FFA and the Grange were some favorites.
Both were passionate about helping others. Ellie spent several years attending babies in the nursery at Sequim Bible Church and Roger could often be found plowing a neighbor’s field or helping to mend a fence.
Ellie was predeceased by her parents Cliney and Grace Radley. She is survived by her sister Margaret. Roger was predeceased by his parents Ken and Alice Schmidt, sisters Shirley and Buddean, brothers Neil, Reed and Doug. They are survived by their children Jeff, Susan and Sarah as well as 7 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Celebration of Life:
Saturday, October 15th
1pm-4pm Open House
FOX BELL FARMS
Erwin P. Jones Jr.
Nov. 3, 1937- Sept. 18, 2022
Celebration Dec. 4th, obituary to follow.