It was the summer of 1962 and Dave Schmidt was celebrating his 15th birthday at the Illinois State Fair with his favorite girl, Jane Schoeck.
As they sat atop the double Ferris wheel, he asked her to “go steady.”
“I think the reason I asked her on a Ferris wheel was because she had never really been on a double Ferris wheel,” Dave said. “That was many, many years ago.”
Jane said yes, and they exchanged “going steady rings.” It was the start of lifelong journey together.
The Triad High School class of 1965 voted Dave and Jane its “Most Romantic Couple.”
“I think its because we were the only couple in the senior class that had dated for quite awhile,” Jane said. “I guess you’d say it was an honor.”
Other were dubbed “Most Likely to Succeed,” “Funniest” and “Most Daring.” But it was the Schmidts’ fondness for one another that stood out to their classmates.
“I didn’t quite understand why, but I guess it was because I dated Jane for a long time,” Dave said. “We had broke up a couple times — but not for very long — and I guess they decided we were the most romantic, so there we were.”
And there they have stayed.
Saying, “I do.”
When Dave returned from the Navy for Christmas in 1966, he decided it was time to seal the deal and asked Jane’s parents for her hand in marriage.
“Naturally, they said yes,” Dave said. “So then I asked her if she would be interested, and she said yes.”
On April 2, 1967, in the United Church of Christ in St. Jacob, a small crowd gathered to witness Jane and Dave’s wedding vows. Jane walked down the aisle as the couple’s two small nephews, Scott Schmidt and Ray Whitlock, toddled after holding with the train of her gown.
Jane’s sister, Judy Whitlock Denney (nee Schoeck), the matron of honor, said she knew it was a love that would last and described their marriage as strong.
“They have supported each other through thick and thin. Jane was always there for Dave and Dave was always there for Jane,” Judy said.
At their wedding reception, about 80 well-wishers danced to music played by the Gus Bode Orchestra as the couple cut the cake. After the party, the couple whisked away on their honeymoon.
50 years together
This year, the Schmidts will celebrate 50 years of marriage.
“I think the most important secret to a happy marriage is: give and take,” Jane said. “You both have to give and take, and stand up for what you believe in but consider how your partner also feels.”
The Schmidts children and grandchildren are hosting an open house celebration from 2 to 5 p.m April 2 in the Heritage Hall at the United Church of Christ in St. Jacob.
“We’d like to thank all of our children for putting this 50th anniversary together. They are great kids,” Dave said.
The Schmidts hope their friends and family will come celebrate and wish them well for many more years of wedded bliss.
“We’d love for people to stop in and share some memories with us and our kids,” Jane said.
Meet Dave & Jane Schmidt
Married: April 2, 1967
About Dave: He retired after more than 30 years with BP Amoco and currently works part time for the city of Highland.
About Jane: She is retired and spends time with her grandkids and friends.
Life after the wedding: The Schmidts welcomed their first of four children in the summer of 1968. Dave and Jane became active members of the Silver Creek Camping Assocaiton (SCCA), with some of their oldest friends. Camping gave their family a sense of down-home fun and provided some of the children’s fondest memories according to their daughter Angela Imming. Dave and Jane have stayed in close contact with their classmates. Jane lunches with “the girls” about once a month and the SCCA gang also gathers as often as they can. They now live in Highland with their Labradoodle, Babe.
Children: Cindy (Tony) Fuller, Angie (Tyson) Imming, Becky (Tim) McNaught and Daniel (Annie, nee Donath) Schmidt
Grandchildren: Madison Fuller; Isaac, Eden and, Abigail Imming; Julia, Laura and Annika McNaught; and Auggie Schmidt