Gary Lee Schmidt, 72, passed away January 23 after an extended illness.

Gary was born in Billings, Montana on April 16, 1947.  He was the son of Gustav and Lena Schmidt.  Gary grew up in Billings and attended Billings Senior High where he made All Star in football and wrestled three years varsity.  Gary graduated from Billings Senior in 1966.

On August 9, 1968, Gary married Mary Dee Meitzel whom he met in high school.  They quickly started their family of three sons, Scott, Philip, and Owen.  They moved to Huntley Project in 1983 where they built their home and raised their three sons.  Gary and Mary enjoyed traveling across the country for the boys’ wrestling tournaments and loved the countless summer fishing and camping trips.

Gary became a member of the Local 30 Plumber and Pipefitters Union in 1968 where he remained a member for 51 years.  He was a plumber and pipefitter for Valley Plumbing and Heating and Wagoners Mechanical.

Gary was an avid car lover and could be found at local car shows.  He spent many of his years restoring and fixing up vehicles.  Gary’s absolute pride and joy was his 1956 Studebaker which he and Mary won several awards for.

Gary was so proud of his six grandkids, who all referred to him as “Papa”.  He truly adored them and loved to tease and laugh with them.  He would attend as many of their sports events and programs as the Montana weather and his health would allow.  Papa loved to show the grandkids wrestling moves and tell stories of their dads’ wrestling days.

Gary is survived by his wife, Mary; sons Scott  (Jewelet), late son Phillip (Brigette), Owen (Andrea); brother Jay (Pam); brother-in-law Marvin Boeschen; grandchildren Sam, Abigail, Grady, Brayden, Ryker, and Wyatt; nephews Jody, Ben (Melanie), Toby (Jessica), Kenneth Boeschen (Natalie), and Curtis Boeschen (Sarah).

Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Gus and Lena Schmidt; sisters Sandra Boeschen and Sunny Fagan; and son Philip Schmidt.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 P.M. February 8, 2020 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery.