This story is part of Loved and Lost, a statewide media collaboration working to celebrate the life of every New Jersey resident who died of COVID-19. To learn more and submit a loved one’s name to be profiled, visit lovedandlostnj.com.
Josef Schmidt was known as the “mayor” of the Clifton street where he lived for many years.
“He would go over and talk to all of the neighbors. If it snowed, Joe had a great big snowblower and used to go help all the neighbors,” said Kathy Schmidt, his wife of 22 years.
In warmer weather, Schmidt loved to go scuba diving. He was a longtime member of the Cedar Grove Divers Supply Group.
Schmidt was 72 when he died on July 18.
He worked as a mason and ran his father’s company, Adam Schmidt Construction, until 2010. He also made connections through his years in construction that would help others, his wife said. The priest presiding over his funeral service attested to that.
“The priest said at the service, ‘Mr. Schmidt always knew somebody. If I was looking for a plumber or a roofer, Mr. Schmidt always knew somebody that could come and help us.’ He was always a very generous person,” she recalled.
Schmidt’s son, Joseph, said he learned a lot from his dad about hard work, particularly when he was younger and would go out with him on various construction projects.
He also remembered him as an “all-around good person.”
“He took care of everyone and he cared about a lot of people. And the whole thing is a shock basically how he went,” his son said. “Basically, everything went down the tubes. We thought we were getting progress.”