SWIC mourns friend of art and education, donor Peg Schmidt

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Memorials may be made to the William and Florence Schmidt Art Center

Southwestern Illinois College, the SWIC Foundation, and the William and Florence E. Schmidt Art Center staffs mourn the loss of dear friend Margaret “Peg” Schmidt, who passed away January 27.

“As John shares at every opportunity, Peg was the driving force in creating the magnificent Schmidt Art Center on our Belleville Campus,” said SWIC President Georgia Costello, Ph.D.  “The adjacent sculpture and the Schmidt Family Gardens were also part of her grand vision and dear to her heart.”

In addition to the couple’s support of the Schmidt Art Center through the William E. Schmidt Charitable Foundation, they also established two endowed SWIC Foundation scholarships in 1994: the William E. & Florence Schmidt Memorial – Art and the William E. & Florence Schmidt Memorial – Business. Thanks to these scholarships more than 200 students studying art, business or computer information systems have been able to pursue their academic dreams.

Peg knew the benefit of a community college education, having earned her AA degree from Monticello College in Godfrey, IL in 1949. She attended the University of Kansas, but ultimately earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in studio art from then McKendree College in 1975.

She was known for her original art, as well as the eclectic collection of art that she and John so loved to collect. She was also known as a tireless volunteer for organizations like the Shelter Shop in Belleville and the Golden Goose in Catalina, Arizona. She was active in the Evanston Art Center and garden club while the family resided there. From Evanston, Peg and John moved to Belleville where they lived for 27 years before retiring to Tucson, Arizona in 1998.

Peg and the love of her life, John, were married 65 years. They had two children, Susie Hilkemeyer and Tom Schmidt, and four grandchildren. She adored her sweet step-grand family including Kelly, Scott, Summer and Jackson Taylor of Newport Beach, California. The family’s newest addition – great granddaughter Stephanie Hilkemeyer – made her appearance January 26.

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