Nature 10

David John Schmidt

August 3, 1968 ~ May 8, 2020 (age 51)


David John Schmidt, 51, passed peacefully at home surrounded by family on May 8, 2020. He bravely battled Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), a form of brain cancer, for ten months. David was born on August 3, 1968 to Frederick Louis Schmidt and Caroline Grant Schmidt and spent his early childhood in Peekskill, NY. The family moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he grew up, went to school, and made lifelong friends. He was a fiercely loyal family member and friend who always had your back; a talented musician and a gifted audio engineer by profession; a “pretty decent” hockey player but a world-class teammate; a wickedly funny drinking buddy; an energetic contributor to the community; and above all a devoted husband and father of two. The scrape of street hockey sticks and shouts of “Car!” were part of the soundtrack of his childhood, and David continued to play “rec league” hockey throughout his life. His love for sports was imparted by his dad, who took David and his brother to many Phillies and Flyers games. Like every true Philly sports fan, David remained faithful to his hometown teams no matter where he lived. During his high school and college years the Schmidt home’s rec room served as the social hub for a large and diverse group of friends connected to David, his brother Steve; sister Janet; and brother-in-law Rob. Here countless late nights were spent watching Monty Python, playing Risk and D&D, listening to Yes and Genesis, engaging in never-ending “friendly banter”, and definitely never drinking beer or lighting random objects on fire…In short, forming those rare friendships in youth strong enough to span the decades between then and now. Music was always at the core of both his personal and later his professional life. At an early age David showed a deep affinity for music, as well as a rare talent for making it. He played trumpet in his high school marching band and his friends regularly found David in the Band Room playing the piano for impromptu audiences lured in by the sound of his playing everything from Bach to Elton John. David followed this passion and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Audio Engineering from American University (AU) in Washington, D.C. It was also at AU that he met his future wife, Tracy. After college, he worked as a Post Production Sound Engineer and Location Sound Engineer for MVI Post in Seven Corners, Virginia for 12 years. He mixed some of the first 5.1 surround sound mixes for TV and was always bringing home new trivia he learned working on shows for Discovery, National Geographic, Animal Planet, TLC and History Channel. While still living in the Washington, DC area, David and Tracy married in Tracy’s hometown of Columbia, SC. There they welcomed their son Max and daughter Grace. In 2004, the family moved to Asheville, NC seeking the close-knit community and sustainable pace of a smaller city for themselves and the children. David launched his own company, Acapella Audio, doing location and post production sound throughout the region. He worked on films and documentaries as well as TV shows in the growing NC film production industry. David’s level of technical skill and craftsmanship quickly established him as a valued member of the local film industry. Clients appreciated his ability to combine easygoing partnership and dedicated professionalism. Friendships made at work were long lasting and often nurtured over happy hour beers at the Wedge bar. David was always energized by the variety of his work: diverse locations, new people, and unique content kept him coming home with a smile and stories to share. In addition to his audio career, David was a loving and committed stay at home dad. When Grace couldn’t yet go to Montessori school but was eager to learn, he set up the “Purple Ridge Montessori School” at home, with learning stations where she counted her first numbers and made her first letters. Grace will continue her education next year as a freshman at George Washington University. David supported Max’s enthusiasm for Scouting by planning and leading numerous Boy Scout camping trips all the way through Max’s progression to Eagle Scout. He also fostered Max’s love for marching band competitions and of course music – which he studies at Western Carolina University, with plans to “pay it forward” to future generations by becoming a music teacher. David loved being a dad and his mentoring continued throughout Grace’s and Max’s lives, teaching them everything he could, from playing the piano to changing car tires. David believed in the power of serving others and tightening the bonds between and among us all, and he put this belief into practice as a regular contributor to endeavors that helped build community in and around Asheville. He worked on Habitat for Humanity build sites; helped run a neighborhood associations and babysitting co-op; volunteered at the Francine Delany New School; served as Assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 4; was President of the Asheville High Band Association; and VP of the Asheville High PTO. He regularly donated platelets, canvassed to get out the vote, did sound for the Creative Mornings series, helped with school fundraisers, and was head usher and worked on committees at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. A valiant leader and learner, David was always looking for, and finding, ways to give to his community. Above all, David was a loving partner to his wife of 25 years, Tracy. Their love was one for the ages. David lived his life fully and loved completely. He is survived by his wife, Tracy Joyner Schmidt; son, Maximilian Frederick Schmidt; daughter, Grace Youqin Schmidt; and mother, Caroline Grant Schmidt, all of Asheville, NC. He is also survived by his brother, Steven Schmidt, sister-in-law Veronica Schmidt and nieces Calista and Silvana of Atherton, CA; as well as his sister, Janet Connery and brother-in-law, Robert Connery of Dagsboro, DE. After a three day vigil at his home, David was buried at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary on May 11, 2020. In lieu of flowers, David asks that donations be made to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, 33 Meadow Road Asheville, NC 28803.

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