Vonda Lee Schmidt, a beloved teacher and dedicated member of the community, passed away peacefully on January 10, 2024, in Kimberly. She was born on May 5, 1935, in Rudd, Iowa to Edward Ahrens and Lena Lampman.
Vonda Lee's journey in education began at a one-room schoolhouse near her family's home. She later attended Rudd Schools, graduating in 1952. She continued her studies at Iowa State Teachers College (now known as the University of Northern Iowa) and received a two-year teaching certificate. Always eager to expand her knowledge, she pursued further education at Drake University in Des Moines.
Vonda Lee's passion for teaching led her to have a profound impact on countless lives. She taught fourth grade in both the Floyd and Ames school districts of Iowa, leaving an indelible mark on her students. Her commitment to education extended beyond the classroom as she served as a mentor to confirmation students and Sunday School teacher at First Presbyterian Church of Lodi, where she was a cherished member since 1966.
In addition to her teaching career, Vonda Lee served her church in various capacities with unwavering dedication. She actively participated in the Young Couple's Group and Women's Circle, taking on roles such as secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president. Vonda Lee shared her beautiful voice as a member of the church choir and embarked on mission trips to spread love and compassion.
Community service was indeed close to Vonda Lee's heart. For nearly 11 years, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, working tirelessly at ReStore. Additionally, she served on the Board of Directors for Good Samaritan Center and devoted herself to tutoring elementary school children. Vonda Lee was also an invaluable member of the Lodi Comforters Quilting Group and selflessly assisted friends and community members during times of need. Furthermore, she extended kindness through delivering meals on wheels, brightening the lives of those she served.
Beyond her remarkable contributions, Vonda Lee found joy in various hobbies and interests. She cultivated lasting friendships through playing bridge in both a local women's bridge group and a Bridge Marathon group for several years. As a skilled seamstress, she lovingly crafted her own wedding dress and the bridesmaid's dresses for her daughters' weddings. Vonda Lee had a green thumb and found solace in gardening, nurturing both vegetables and flowers. Her wanderlust took her on adventures to all 50 states, Europe, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
Vonda Lee's proudest accomplishment was undoubtedly her enduring marriage to Richard Schmidt. They exchanged vows on October 26, 1956, at Eden Presbyterian Church in Rudd, Iowa. Together they journeyed through life for 67 beautiful years, building a loving family along the way. Vonda Lee and Richard were blessed with three children born in three different states.
She is survived by her beloved husband Richard and their children: Joy (David) Doersch, Jill (Rick) Roth, and Ted Schmidt. Her memory will forever be cherished by her grandchildren Amanda (William) Steinhaus and Isaac Doersch. Vonda Lee was also blessed with the joy of being a great-grandmother to Charlotte Steinhaus. She leaves behind her brother Donell Ahrens, sisters-in-law Mildred Bowers, Connie Schmidt, Patricia Ahrens, Wava Ahrens and brother-in-law Jim Lesch.
Vonda Lee was preceded in death by her parents, brother Berdell Ahrens, sister Dorothy Lesch, and her in-laws Gene and Lucy Schmidt.
A visitation will take place on January 19th, 2024 from 9:30 am to 11:00 am at Lodi Presbyterian Church located at 258 Lodi St., Lodi, WI, 53555, with a memorial service to follow at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the church.