Roger O. Schmidt graduated from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science in June of 1940 and apprenticed for Albert Smith at Smith Funeral Home, Wittenberg, Wisconsin. He then purchased the Smith Funeral Home which was located on Webb Street. In those days, the only vehicle large enough for transportation to any hospital or clinic was the hearse. So whether you needed the funeral director or the ambulance, you would call Roger. After transporting the community for 25 years to local hospitals and clinics, the Wittenberg Ambulance Service was formed leaving Roger to focus on his family, funeral business and furniture store. In November of 1974, Roger underwent open heart surgery and unexpectedly died in Madison. This left his wife, Anita, and son, David A. Schmidt, to carry on with the funeral home and furniture store. David graduated from the Indiana College of Mortuary Science in 1971 and was working with his father at the time.
In 1940, the 1892 Victorian Home located on Main Street in the village of Birnamwood was transformed into a funeral home by A.J. Kopitzke. A.J.’s son, Ronald, took over ownership from his father and continued the family owned tradition of the funeral home. In early 1969, Ronald Kopitzke sold the funeral home business to Mr. Staus and the funeral home was renamed Kopitzke-Staus funeral Home. In 1975, Mr. Staus was looking at retirement and the funeral home was once again changing hands.
Michael A. Schulta of Wausau contacted David A. Schmidt and a partnership was formed. Together they purchased the funeral home in Birnamwood, as well as the funeral home and furniture store in Wittenberg. Thus the beginning of Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home and Furniture Store. Together, David and Michael grew their businesses and focused on reaching out to the community and providing quality services.
The funeral home is Wittenberg shared a space with the furniture store. Knowing they needed to expand the Wittenberg funeral home they decided to break the tradition of a funeral home furniture store combination which has been around for several years. In 1983, the Wittenberg funeral home moved to a brand new 4200 sq. ft. facility located at the intersection of College Ave and Harrison Ave which is where it is currently located. By moving the funeral home out of the Webb Street location, this left room for the furniture store to expand. After much thought and discussion with the community it was decided that Wittenberg could use a gift shop. The funeral home business was growing and demanded more of David & Michael’s attention. The furniture store and gift shop also required much of their attention. After working at the funeral home during the day, David and Michael would deliver furniture and measure for carpet and linoleum in the evenings.
In 1988, David & Michael made the decision to spend more time with their families. It was time to let the furniture and gift shop go and sell the building. This also gave them more time and energy to focus on the funeral home.
In 1992, David & Michael knew they needed to expand the chapel area at the Birnamwood location. How do you add an addition onto a 100 year old home? The design process took some time as the focus in the expansion was to keep the detail of the Victorian charm and to return original details from when it was built by B. B. Andrews. This expansion was much needed and added an 800 sq. ft. chapel.
Sadly in April of 1996, Michael Schulta died in an automobile accident. This was a great loss to the partnership of Schmidt & Schulta as well as his family and the communities he served. Fortunately, David A. Schmidt’s son, David ‘Benji’ Schmidt, was working at the funeral home and was also pursuing his degree in mortuary science which he received in May of 1997. In March of 1997, Benji’s wife, Jennifer, began working at the funeral home to manage the office and take care of families when pre-planning funerals.
With David reaching retirement in 2006, he and his wife Shirley transitioned Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home to their children, David ‘Benji’ Schmidt and Andrea Schmidt who acquired her mortuary degree. While David still assisted at the funeral home, the day to day operations were left to David ‘Benji’, Jennifer and Andrea.
In 2015, the Wittenberg funeral home location underwent construction to add on approximately 1440 square feet to the south side of the building. This addition houses a crematory and cooling facilities as well as a reflection room for our families to have private family viewings.
Wanting to spend more time with her family, Andrea’s shares of Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home were purchased by David ‘Benji’ and Jennifer in December of 2017.
Together with their staff, David ‘Benji’ and Jennifer strive to provide the highest quality of service they possibly can. Their main focus is on their community and the families they serve.
“When our funeral home is called upon to assist a family in need we feel honored to be included in such a difficult time in a family’s life. We are very fortunate to live in such a small community where we know so many families and also feel the loss that they have endured. We also understand that our employees play a big role in who we are as well. We are very lucky to have employees that share the same values and dedication that we have. Our funeral home family includes our daughters, Cora Eberius and Katelyn Schmidt, Ken Brinkman, Roger Wendler, Ken Blakewell and Robert Ecker. We look forward to seeing what the future brings and continuing to support the communities where we live and work.” - David ‘Benji’ & Jennifer Schmidt
Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home | (715) 449-2688
445 Main St., PO Box J, Birnamwood, WI 54414
Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home | (715) 253-2713
401 W. College Ave., PO Box E, Wittenberg, WI 54499