Benno Kurt Schmidt

benno schmidt

April 16, 1932 ~ April 4, 2020

Born in: Trojatschek, Poland
Resided in: Idaho Falls, Idaho

Benno Kurt Schmidt, 87, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, formerly of Pueblo and Pueblo West was delivered from
rapidly declining health on April 4, 2020 and brought home to the heavenly mansion prepared for him
by Jesus Christ, his trusted Lord and Savior. Benno was born April 16, 1932 in Trojatschek, Poland to
Friedrich and Lydia Schmidt. After four and a half years in a work camp following World War II, he lived
in East Germany where he was trained to be a mason. In 1957, he emigrated from West Berlin to the
United States, settling in Chicago where he honed his craft, met and married his travel agent, Elsie
Falkenstein, and started a family. In 1977, Benno moved with his family to Pueblo West, eventually
establishing a highly-regarded masonry business. Known for his exacting standards, Benno practiced his
craft into his eighties. He was an active member of Bethany Lutheran Church and the Pueblo German
Club. He could often be found on a summer evening sitting in the bleachers at Lovell Park, taking in that
night’s softball games. In 2018, Benno moved to Idaho Falls to be closer to family.
Benno was preceded in death by his parents, 1946 and 1988 respectively, his wife Elsie in 1996, and his
sister Ruth in 2018. He is survived by his children, Kurt (Elsa) Schmidt of Tucson, Arizona, Sean (Shannon)
Schmidt of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Vernon (Ellie) Schmidt of Bermuda Run, North Carolina; grandchildren
Emily, Alex, Christian, Megan, Maarten, and Annie-Catherine; and his sister Gisela Schultze of Grebs,
A memorial service and celebration of Benno’s life will take place later this year in Colorado. The family
suggests that donations be made in honor of Benno to: Christian Blind Mission International, P.O. Box
340, Wheaton, IL 60187-0340. Information about the organization can be found at


Memorial Service:

Room: Service will be announced at a later date

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Memories Timeline


  1. I’ll always remember Benno, first for his kindness & friendliness toward me, but also for ad-hoc recitations of rhyming German ditties: I should’ve followed him around with a steno’s notebook to take them down…

    • Francis,

      Thank you for your delightful remembrance of my Dad. I really appreciate you mentioning Benno’s ad-hoc recitations of rhyming German ditties. It reminds me of what I experienced on occasion when he would come up with some seemingly obscure German idiom to apply to a particular situation. My Dad’s expectation that I – with my sorely limited German speaking skills and undeniably limiting American cultural proclivities – was supposed to understand the meaning of these Deutsche Sprüche makes me smile. It was the sort of “Benno thing” that those who knew him well now have as unique memories for themselves. All that said, you and I are on the same page in realizing what we may have missed and will miss going forward. We should have written it down.

      BOILER UP!


  2. Our heart-felt condolences to all of Benno’s family. For the relatively few years that we had known him through the PGAC, he will always be remembered as a dear, kind friend. We wish that we could have known him longer. He will be dearly remembered and missed.
    Dietmar and Julie Kuehn

    • Dietmar and Julie,

      Thank you for your condolences. We sincerely appreciate you sharing your impressions of Benno. It is a comfort and a joy to know that your friendship with him, even if relatively few in years, had the kind of value you described. Quickly becoming a friend to others was one of our father’s greatest talents, so to speak. We’re pleased you had the opportunity to get to know him through the PGAC since the many relationships he had because of his involvement with it were so highly regarded by him.

      The Schmidt Family

  3. Kurt, Sean, Vernon and families:
    My sincere condolences in the loss of your dear father, Benno. The first time I remember meeting Benno was back in 1971 when my Mom and I came for a visit to Minnesota and we drove back with all of you to Chicago in your camper van. Benno and my Mom (being first cousins) had many phone conversations over the years and they visited each other whenever possible. My last most memorable time with Benno was when my Mom (at age 90), my brother Herb and I met Benno in Germany in 2013 and we did a road trip to Poland to see their roots. We could have never done that trip without Benno … he was amazing. My Mom was so happy that she took that trip and Benno was the only person who could persuade her to do so. I’m going to miss my chats with Benno. He was the most kindhearted, generous, caring, positive person I’ve ever met. His nickname “Gentle Ben” really suited him.
    I know he’s rejoicing in heaven with all his loved ones that have gone before him, but he will be missed by so many. May God comfort you and give you strength during this difficult time.

    • Dear Elizabeth,

      Words can’t fully express how much your post in honor of Benno means to us. Not only is it a welcome reminder of the kinship between your family and ours at a time when you and Herb are still grieving the recent loss of your brother Dave and we are now grieving the loss of our beloved father, it is a wonderful testimony of the constant love shared between your mother, Zilla, and Benno. Unquestionably, their enduring friendship over the courses of their long lives exemplified the sort of unbreakable bond formed by two people who understood the significance of being linked to each other through a cherished ancestry but, perhaps even more so, a common faith in a loving God who has made it possible for them to be together in a better place – the best place, actually – with all their loved ones who have gone before them. What a happy reunion is taking place!

      Kurt, Sean, Vernon and families

    • Katherine,

      The love and friendship you and your family extended to our father over the span of his sunset years will always be remembered for how it filled his days with needed companionship, fun, and adventure. Each of you held a special place in Benno’s heart.

      Kurt, Sean, & Vernon

  4. I met Benno in 1981 when I went to work for Summit Brick. It seems that we could not see each other without not just talk business (masonry)but somehow we would get caught up talking about the Chicago Cubs or as he called them “The Cubbies”. Always enjoyed visiting with him and his family

    • Ernie,

      On behalf of our family, I’m so glad you posted your remembrance of Benno. The entire Summit Brick family meant so much to us over the years but your constant friendliness towards the every one of the Schmidt Masonry clan certainly stands out. They say that in the end it is only family that matters. But what they don’t often tell you is that family is made up of a bigger circle than just our relatives. You and your colleagues at Summit Brick will always be considered part of ours.


  5. Beno, Gentle Ben was a very dear friend. He shall be missed. We know he is in a better place now with his wife.
    Our love and prayers go out to Kurt (thanks for calling us), Sean & Vernon and families in this sad loss. May God grant you
    strength to accept His will.

    Hugs, Beatriz & JOe

    • Joe & Beatriz,

      On behalf of the entire family, I want to say how much I appreciate the thoughts you shared about Benno. In speaking with you the other day, I couldn’t help but smile when you told me how you met my father and became friends with him. It was a reminder of the good people that he was surrounded by over his long and full life. Thank you for your generosity towards him.

      Kurt, Sean, Vernon, & the family

  6. “Selig sind die Sanftmütigen; denn sie werden das Erdreich besitzen.” Und wir auf Erden werden deinen sanften Geist vermissen.

    • Herr Professor Douglass,

      Wir drei Söhne von “Gentle Ben” schätzen sicherlich Ihre Hommage an ihn.

      Mit Respekt,
      Kurt Friedrich, Sean Schorsch und Vernon Benno Schmidt

  7. Rest in peace my dear friend. You will always be part of my memories,
    until we meet again in haven.
    My deepest and sincere sympathy to your family.

    • Theo (Ted)
      Dad really appreciated your friendship. Thanks for being there for him and getting to know him well. Thanks for thinking about us as you grieve yourself.

    • Theo,

      I’d like to echo what Sean said. Your friendship with our father was so treasured by him and by us.

      “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24

      You were that kind of a friend to our father.


  8. I met Benno in the Pueblo German American Club. He was always friendly and outgoing. My condolences to the family.

    • Sabine,

      Your memories of our father are cherished. It is a comfort to us that so many knew him just as you described him. It is our joy that you had a place in his life and that he had a place in yours through the Pueblo German American Club, as it is now known. It’s legacy is worth carrying on. May its “Alte Tradition in der Neuen Welt” be preserved and enhanced by the next generation of members.

      The Schmidt Family

  9. It was an honor to have known Benno and I greatly the appreciate the work he and Kurt did building my house. I remember all those years seeing him at the ballfields at Lovell Park and having known the family as some of the old timers in Pueblo West back in the 70s and 80s. He was definitely a hardworking man who took great pride in his work.

    • Greg,

      From one Pueblo West old timer to another, thank you for your remembrance of Benno. As I recall, the work we did together on your house was one of the first projects we took on after “Schmidt Masonry” was brought back to life following the passing of Elsie, wife and administrative assistant par excellence. It helped inspire our own home building endeavors. That said, it could very well have been the competitive atmosphere at those softball games on those cool summer nights that helped stir us back to life after a hard day’s work. I think it definitely did my Dad, who so enjoyed relaxing and cheering on the sportsmen who played in the Friendly Confines of Lovell Park and “Where Eagles Soar.”


  10. Sorry to hear about his moving on to be with his Creator. I am sure his leaving will leave a big void in all your lives. I always found it to be a pleasure to talk and work with your Dad. Seemed like he his relationship with the Lord dictated how he ran his company. Kurt you seemed to live your life by the example your Dad lived. I would think you all could say that it was a great privilege to have him as your Dad. I believe we will continue to work in heaven so I would think your dad is working on someones mansion.

    • Brother Phil,

      Thanks for your understanding post! It brought a real sense of joy to my spirit as I was reminded of how both my Dad’s work and my work in the construction business in and around Pueblo overlapped with yours and that of others from time to time. I can’t claim my Dad’s mantle in regard to the respect he earned within Southern Colorado’s construction industry but I am proud to be known as his son, sort of following in his footsteps. A couple of days before he passed away, we talked about the projects that Jesus, a Master Craftsman Himself, would probably have for Benno to do in heaven. It goes without saying how much that energized his thinking about what the Kingdom of God would be like.

      Brother Kurt

  11. Benno was a very caring person and also an exceptional
    member of the Pueblo German Club. My Condolences
    to Benno’s family !

    • Frank,

      Thank you for your kind words about Benno and for your condolences to the family. Yours is one of those many familiar names from Pueblo German Club lore that won’t be easily forgotten by us as we think back to our heritage in Southern Colorado. Without a doubt, the camaraderie that was experienced throughout the close-knit membership meant so much to the related immigrants from Chicago (Siegi and Wannie, Arnold and Erna, Otto and Margaret, and Benno and Elsie) who moved to Pueblo West and found themselves seeking new friendships in an unfamiliar land. God bless America and the Pueblo German Club!

      Kurt, Sean, & Vernon

  12. Benno was a wonderful and hard working man. We got to know him when he did all of our brickwork on our house in 1995. One day we all stood around eating our sandwiches together and talking about our families; what a kind man he was. He built all of our planters and fenceposts after that and our young children used to chat with him while he worked. His honesty and work ethic was rare. He will be missed.

    • Jon and Susan,

      We truly value your gracious tribute to Benno. I recall my Dad working on your house, the front veneer an the fence posts, as this work was performed at a time when I was helping out with his business. He put his heart and soul into his craft and definitely found joy in completing a project to the satisfaction of his customers. We’re glad he left behind such a legacy for you.

      The Schmidt Family

  13. Benno was a valued member of our family at Bethany Lutheran. He was a faithful participant in our BLBLC—Bethany Lutheran Birthday Lunch Club. I was just getting ready to send him a birthday card when I learned if his death. He has been greatly missed already by us in Pueblo, Colorado. But we know we will see him again in heaven—probably in a brick mansion! 😊 Kimberly, Randy & Caleb Whitney

    • Kimberly, Randy, & Caleb,

      In thinking of you, so many others come to mind – your parents, your brother, your daughter and the whole Bethany Lutheran family. Thank you to everyone for all the love and support you provided to Benno over the forty-one years he called Bethany his church home. The important roles God called him to – husband, father, friend, businessman, and brother in Christ – were all enhanced by the ways in which Jesus was lifted up by the people of God gathered at 1802 Sheridan Road.

      The Schmidt Family

  14. When we moved to Pueblo West in 1994, Benno and Elsie lived just down the hill. I had gotten to know Benno through my activities with the bricklayers union. I had taken a leave of absence from from my job to build an all masonry home as I was also a mason. Benno generously loaned me a mixer and saw while we built our home. He was a good neighbor who I had interaction with for many years. His generosity will always be remembered. We will watch Swallows to see when he is reunited with Elsie. Rest in peace.

    • Steve,

      Let me start out by saying, for myself and my brothers, that you were considered a good neighbor, friend, and fellow craftsman by our Dad. Without a doubt, in lending you his mixer and saw, he was pleased to have had a small part in helping you to build your masonry home up on “our” hill. A special place deserved a special gesture.

      It may be some time before we’re able to gather as family to bury our Dad’s cremains alongside our Mom’s at Swallows Cemetery. But we are looking forward to honoring the both of them in that special place.

      The Schmidt Boys

  15. Benno was good man, a man of integrity and an excellent masonry contractor. My best wishes go out to his family.

    • Jim,

      It’s good to read your words about my father. In the course of the ups and downs of growing and operating a small business, the McKinney Family, including those who worked for you and Owen, were of great support to my Dad and my Mom over the years. I know they both always appreciated the relationship they shared with you all, business and personal. Please know that McKinney Block was definitely a part of what made Benno Schmidt Mason Contractor what it was.


  16. Sorry to hear of the loss of Benno, I remember back in the mid 90’s When he came to fix a brick wall in my court yard after a strong gust of wind came up and blew it down he did a very good job. The wall is still standing after all these years.

    • Brenda,

      On behalf of our family, thank you for posting your remembrance. There is a symbolic and profound meaning for us in what you shared about the wall my Dad fixed for you still standing. Hopefully, so much of what he did for us and others will have that kind of impact.

      The Schmidts

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