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Alden mourns loss of cherished doctor

Published 9:25am Friday, March 15, 2013

Man served as mayor for 14 years, sent birthday cards

ALDEN — A former Alden physician who served as mayor for 14 years is being remembered as a kind man who loved the community.

Ruben Schmidt, 92, died Monday at Thorne Crest Retirement Community.

“He was just a real good pillar for the community,” said his former nurse, Barb Carlson, who worked with Schmidt from 1970 until his retirement in 1985.

Ruben Schmidt
Ruben Schmidt

Schmidt began his medical practice in 1947, after service in the U.S. Army in Korea, and became part of the Alden Mayo Clinic Health System satellite clinic before his retirement.

Carlson said Schmidt was a physician who encouraged precise note-taking among his staff and who was conscientious of his patients.

Though he worked at the clinic in Alden, he would also visit patients in their homes, she said.

“He taught me a lot of things,” she said. “I really respected him, and I learned a lot from him.”

She recalled him carrying a large black doctor’s bag. It was one of her duties to replace the supplies in the bag each time after he made house calls.

There were only three employees in the clinic — Schmidt, herself and a receptionist — and because of that they became good friends, Carlson said.

She recalled that the doctor would send her a birthday card each year up until the last year or two.

Mary Reyerson, wife of current Alden Mayor Jerry Reyerson, described Schmidt, known to many simply as “Doc,” as a “good, old-fashioned family doctor.”

“Any time of the day or night, you could make house calls and he’d be right there,” Reyerson said.

The July 26, 1963, edition of the Albert Lea Tribune stated one time Schmidt was asked to deliver a baby in a car on Main Street in Alden after a couple that had been headed to Blue Earth Hospital couldn’t make it any farther and needed the baby delivered.

Reyerson also recalled an instance she was pictured in the Tribune with Schmidt on May 23, 1955, as she was given the first Jonas Salk polio vaccine injection in Freeborn County.

“He was very caring, very friendly and very happy,” she said. “I don’t think he ever said a bad word about anyone.”

In addition to his duties as doctor, Schmidt served as mayor from 1953 to 1967.

Reyerson said Schmidt was instrumental in the installation of the Alden sewer system in 1963. Though there was controversy about the decision at the time, the project has since provided significant financial savings.

Carlson said Schmidt was also a strong advocate of making sure Alden had an exit off Interstate 90, and he was also active with the development of the Alden museum.

He could also be seen attending all the Alden football games and attending school events.

Schmidt’s funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Alden.