Rudolph M. Schmidt, M.D.


Born July 20, 1919 in Veszprem, Hungary, Rudi was the youngest of three brothers. His father, Karoly Schmidt, was a school teacher and violinist who charmed his students, including the one he married - Rudi's mother Elfrieda Dachler. Rudi was an avid sportsman who played tennis from his teens to his 80's, skied from his teens to his 60's and loved to sail whenever he could. Following his older brother's footsteps, he studied medicine at the University of Pecs in Hungary, completing his studies just as WWII was consuming Europe. He was "recruited" into the Hungarian army, serving as a physician (digging ditches, he once confided). During this time, he met a young woman who was fleeing her hometown towards the west. Her name was Helen. Rudi escaped on foot to Germany at the end of the war and was reunited with Helen in a Refugee Camp in Germany. Together they made plans to come to the U.S. Helen made it first, joining her sister in Albany, N.Y. Rudi came six months later with the help and sponsorship of a Hungarian-American woman who had been his pen-pal as a teenager! Two weeks after his arrival, Helen and Rudi were married in Albany, and spent most of their lives living and working there. One interruption came when Rudi became an American citizen and was immediately drafted (Eisenhower raised the draft age for physicians to 35. Rudi was 34!) He joined the Air Force at the rank of Major and served in Zaragoza, Spain, for two years, earning a Meritorious Service Award. Upon his return, he practiced Family Medicine in Albany and was Assistant Director of the Health Center of SUNY Albany until his retirement. Upon retirement, Helen and Rudi lived in their "heaven on earth" home on Lake George, N.Y., and also in Bradenton, Fla., until their final residence in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Rudi was known for his sense of humor, his love of travel ("Let's go" was his first response to any mention of traveling). He and Helen were avid bridge players - he was known for his ruthless bidding! He never lost his love of sailing, skiing and tennis, but was known first and foremost for his love of his wife and family. Helen and Rudi were an institution - all who knew them were touched by their genuine, gentle care for each other. Married 68 years until Helen's death in 2015, they set the loving example of "til death do us part!"
After her death, Rudi remained warm and gracious, always offering a friendly nod and smile to everyone he met. He was predeceased by his loving wife, Helen Kovacs Schmidt, and two sons-in-law, Joseph H. Weis and Dr. Robert L. Collins. Rudi is survived by three daughters, Klara Weis of St. Louis/Bradenton, Elli Collins of Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Peg (Wilma) Schmidt of Pittsburgh, Pa.; also by four grandchildren, Tim Collins, Jennifer (Henry) Muhlenberg, Matthew (Ellen) Weis and Christopher Schmidt; and by eight great-grandchildren, all of whom were present to celebrate his 99th birthday last July! He is also survived by his niece Mary Martits, nephew Steven Martits, and nieces, nephews and a large extended family in Hungary.
The family would like to extend its most heartfelt thanks to Rudi's loving and dedicated caregiver, Vicky Tousignant, without whose fearless, determined care he would not have survived this long. No words are adequate to repay her many kindnesses.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Brown Funeral Home, 29 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901. A celebration of Rudi's life will take place in April at the convenience of the family, date and location to be announced.
Donations in Rudi's memory may be made to either Third Age Adult Day Center/SUNY Plattsburgh, 101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, or to the Samuel F. Vilas Home, 61 Beekman Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901.
Published on February 22, 2019
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2 posts

Courtney Duprey
Feb 21, 2019
Rudi's smile and sense of humor will be greatly missed at the Third Age Adult Day Center. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to have met him and to have heard some of his incredible stories, Helen was one lucky lady to have such a wonderful man in her life ❤
Feb 21, 2019