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Rodney "Rod" Carl Schmidt

Rodney “Rod” Schmidt, 71, of Albert Lea went to his forever home to be with his loving Heavenly Father on November 4, 2020. 

A public visitation will be held from 4-6PM on Thursday, November 12 at Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Home.  Masks will be required and social distancing protocol will be followed.

Private Family interment will take place at Hillcrest Cemetery. 

Rodney was born on July 31, 1949 in Dickinson, ND.  He grew up on a farm near Wadena, MN where he graduated from Wadena High School in 1967. In March 1969 Rod graduated from Staples Technical College for Diesel Mechanics.  He started his 46 year career with Ziegler CAT in Bloomington as a heavy equipment diesel mechanic.  In 1977 he moved to Albert Lea to become Ziegler’s field service mechanic for Albert Lea and surrounding area.

On October 18, 1969 Rod was united in marriage to Kathy Rudolph and made their home in Prior Lake for 8 years where they started their family of 4 children and later moved his family to Albert Lea in 1977.

Rod’s hobbies included helping his children with projects, working on remodeling his home, taking care of his yard, being outdoors, and fixing anything that needed to be fixed. He enjoyed taking road trips with Kathy in the fall to look at the changing of the leaves and visiting apple orchards. Rod also enjoyed his ice cream treats.

Rod is survived by his loving wife Kathy of 51 years, his children Peter (Susan) Schmidt and their daughters Megan and Brooke of Duluth, MN; Philip (Jennifer) Schmidt and their son Lawson of Albert Lea MN; Rebecca Schmidt, Big Lake, MN; Angela (Chad) Duerkop Lonsdale, MN sister, Patricia (Dennis) Lye of Taylor Mill, Kentucky and many other loving relatives.

Rod is preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Rose Schmidt and mother and father-in-law, Charles and Dorothea Rudolph.

In Lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Youth for Christ, Albert Lea.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rodney "Rod" Schmidt, please visit our flower store.


I remember Rod from the city garage when he did mechanic work. We always got to share a few minutes of chatter. My deepest sympathy to his family

Ron Woitas Nov 10 2020 12:00 AM

I know Rod would give Bayview-Freeborn a hard time if he knew he had Farmall tractors in the background of his photo! That guy was Caterpillar all the way! He gave me a hard time back when I worked at an IH truck shop and wore IH belt buckles and hats. He did eventually get me steered right, along with Jarvis Marzolf, they got me into Ziegler. I have him to thank for the job I have now, taking care of the same customers he took care of. Although, if I get 46 years with the company, I am not sure if I would be as beloved and well-known as Rod. He was and will remain a local legend for his ability to solve customers problems, keep machines going until they could get some downtime to get a permanent fix, sometimes working all day and all night to get a machine up and running, and for his sense of humor. That guy had a nickname for everyone. It took a sharp fellow to match wits with him. Rest easy, Rod. There are still a great many of us out here keeping the yellow iron moving.

Bob Pike, Ziegler Resident Field Service, Albert Lea Area Nov 10 2020 12:00 AM

Our deepest sympathy to the family of Rodney! A memorial has been sent to ALHC .

Skaar Jean Nov 9 2020 12:00 AM

So very sorry to hear of Rods passing. He was a great great guy. Being from Albert Lea, and also as co-workers at Ziegler, we had numerous things common. He was loved by customers in that area because of his tireless work ethic, and his uplifting approach to life.
Our sincere sympathy to the Schmidt and Rudolph families. God Bless.

Greg Senske Nov 7 2020 12:00 AM

My heart & prayers go out to his wife, & all of Rods family, & many friends hes met along lifes way.
I knew Rod from my job at Ullands. Whenever I see that CAT truck roll through the gates, & Rod step out in his classic coveralls, Id smile. No matter what he piece of equipment he had to work on, hed always make a point to stop.
Whether it was a quick hello, a funny story, or just to make sure I was keeping out of trouble. My answer would always be Im working like you... how can I get into trouble?! LOL However brief, or that simple question would always make me smile. Some days can get long out in a gravel pit. When theres genuine soul like Rod, to bring a happy moment to break up your day... I just was grateful for it. He will be missed by many, & me. Now hes brightening the days in heaven for sure! God Bless, & bring comfort in these days ahead for his family Amen

Renee Martinez Nov 7 2020 12:00 AM

When I think of Rodney, I don't think about the last year. Instead, I notice everywhere I look, I'm reminded of him. When I pull into my driveway and look at my yard. Even when I go to work these days (an unfinished basement) I'm reminded of a time Rodney made something better. Like when we found out our water heater wasn't repairable and he helped install it in same day. Or when that same water heater starts running when I'm on a Zoom meeting, I think of Rodney. As a son in law who has only known him for 20 some years, I can truly say knowing Rodney Schmidt was an honor and I am truly grateful for knowing Rodney Schmidt. My thoughts and prayers are with Kathy and family.

Chad Duerkop Nov 7 2020 12:00 AM

Oh Rod we will miss you ! It was so nice in the last ten years we got to visit you and have lunch at Larry Pizza in Wadena. That was always fun. We always had a lot of memories to share . We still cant believe you are gone but in a better place than we are . The good Lord will take care of you. Until we meet again our dear brother-law. Mike and Deb Rudolph

Mike and Deb Rudolph Nov 6 2020 12:00 AM

So sorry to here about Rods passing. I knew him well as a fellow Ziegler employee. Our customers in the Albert Lea area loved Rod. Deepest sympathy to Rods family, he surely will be missed.

Al Pearson Nov 6 2020 12:00 AM

My sympathy to the family for your loss. I worked with Rod and took many parts calls from him in my 20 years in Mpls and when I moved to the Ziegler Branch in Des Moines Iowa. He was always upbeat and easy to work with and a very good mechanic.He will be missed.

Thomas Schmieg Nov 6 2020 12:00 AM

Condolences to Kathy and Rod's family. He was a great man and a mentor to many of us at Ziegler. It was an honor and a privilege to work with him over the last 20 years. Great man who will truly be missed. God bless!

Joe Atkinson Nov 6 2020 12:00 AM

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