Special Thanks to the Family of Grace Schmid

Posted on: April 23, 2010

The family of Grace Schmid made a generous $10,000 donation to Engineers In Action from her estate this past month. The donation will go toward the salary and administrative costs of an engineer for EIA.

Grace Schmid lived an incredible life. Her parents were Swiss farmers who came to the US at the end of 19th century. Grace was born in the US in 1903 and passed away in January of 2009 at the age of 106!

Grace was born on a farm, but didn’t stay there. She went to college in the early 20s and graduated with a degree in social work from the University of Nebraska.  Grace later went on to the University of Chicago where she earned her Masters in social work. At the time of her death, she was the oldest living alumni of both universities!

She began her work in Wyoming with the Department of Social Services.  During WWII Grace worked on an Indian Reservation in Wyoming, providing care and support for the poorest and most desperately in need persons in the state.  Grace advanced in the ranks of the Department of Social Services and eventually was named the Director of the State Agency, a position she held until her retirement.

Retirement from the State of Wyoming didn’t mean she was going to slow down. As a single woman, she had the opportunity to travel – and she loved to travel. She had a passport in the 1920s and traveled the world before WWII broke out. When she retired in 1945, she and another single woman decided to drive the newly built Alaska Highway. The “highway” turned out to be a dirt/mud road cut through the Canadian Forest. In several places, GIs had to push them out and through the mud. Grace’s last trip to Alaska was when she was 94 years old. She didn’t stop driving a car until she reached her 101st birthday!

Grace was too active to stay retired. She did several other jobs and eventually bought and ran her own small apartment complex. She managed that apartment complex until she was 102 years old! At 102, she finally decided it was time to retire!

Grace obviously had a great heart for those in need. She spent the majority of her working life supporting and encouraging the neediest folks in Wyoming. She spent a significant portion of her resources helping family members to go to college.

Grace Schmid’s combined interests of helping those in need and her love of world travel inspired her family to share a portion of her estate with Engineers In Action to help improve the quality of life for the poorest people in South America.

EIA is honored to be the recipient of this generous donation from this remarkable woman.

Thank you to the family of Grace Schmid.