Ruben Schmidt, 92, Alden

Published 9:18am Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Memorial services for Dr. Ruben F. Schmidt, 92, of Alden will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Alden. The Rev. Greg Ofsdahl will officiate. Friends may greet the family one hour prior to the services at the church. Burial will be at the Alden Cemetery. Honors will be accorded by members of the VFW and American Legion Honor Guards. Online condolences are welcome at

Ruben Frederick Schmidt was born on Oct. 8, 1920, in Gresham, Wis., to Alfred and Irmgard (Rhubush) Schmidt. He attended country school near his home farm, elementary school in Gresham and graduated from Schawano, Wis., high school in 1937. Ruben received an undergraduate degree in science from the College of Letters and Science and a medical degree in family medicine and surgery from the University of Wisconsin in 1943. Although inducted into the Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps in 1939, while at the University of Wisconsin, he enlisted into the Army specialized training program on July 8 to Nov. 19, 1943. He was discharged at graduation and deferred during internship and residency. He began active service at the rank of first lieutenant in the Army Medical Corp in 1945, serving at numerous locations within the United States. His rank changed to captain when he was sent to Cheju Province, Korea, for 1 1/2 years as a public health and welfare officer. Prior to leaving for Korea he married Pearl Elinor Peterson who was fortunate to join Ruben in Korea during the last half of his non-wartime service in that country.

After returning from Korea in 1947, Ruben was discharged from the Army and began his medical practice in Alden (previous practice of Dr. T. M. Hansen). He and Pearl had three children, Rebecca, Rachel, and David Kim. In 1972, Pearl passed away after a battle with cancer. On Nov. 3, 1973, Ruben was united in marriage to Ila Joan Iverson at Silver Lake Lutheran Church. They lived in Alden where Ruben continued his medical practice and Ila worked as a nurse supervisor at Naeve Hospital.

Ruben Schmidt
Ruben Schmidt

Ruben was a shy and very private, yet principled, man who had a strength of conviction that led to action — always with a goal for betterment of the community. As a family practice doc, Ruben, known as ‘Doc Schmidt,’ was an insightful diagnostician and his dedication to his medical practice in the Alden community continued well into a second generation of patients surpassing, on more than one occasion, his goal to deliver a child to a mother whom he had also delivered. He served as Alden community mayor for 14 years (1953 to 1967) and kept the Village of Alden vital during his tenure. Two most notable accomplishments include: The conversion of ‘party line’ telephone service to ‘private’ self-dial telephone service; and installation of the Alden sewer system (1963) that provided considerable financial savings for the community before sewer systems were a state mandate. He was also active in the Alden Lions Club and Alden Area Development.

Ruben’s life of service also expanded beyond the Alden community. His appreciation for history led to his involvement in the development of the Alden Museum which contains history from the Southern region of Minnesota. His love of learning and dedication to accessible post high school education motivated Ruben to join a group of regional leaders, who founded Lea College, which evolved into Riverland Community College.

Ruben retired from medicine in 1985 after 37 years as a practicing physician. Prior to retirement, Ruben joined the Albert Lea medical center staff, and the Alden Clinic became one of their satellite clinics.

This ensured continued local medical care for the Alden community.

Ruben died on Monday, March 11, 2013, at Thorne Crest Retirement Community. He is survived by his wife, Ila; his brother, Claude Schmidt of Wichita, Kan.; daughter Rebecca (and Glenn) Taibl of St. Paul; daughter Rachel Bhattacharyya of El Paso, Texas; and son David Kim (and Margaret) Schmidt of Luverne. There are also six grandchildren and one great-grandchild: Erika Lynn Taibl (and Andrew Wilkowske with Annika Maj Wilkowske) of St. Paul, Rita Bhattacharyya of Raleigh, N.C., Nina Bhattacharyya of Providence, R.I., Isaac Schmidt of Inver Grove Heights, Aaron Schmidt of Golden Valley and Jay Bhattacharyya of Denton, Texas. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Pearl Elinor Peterson, and his father and mother.

Blessed be the memory of Ruben F. Schmidt.

Memorials preferred to Redeemer Lutheran Church Endowment Fund or Naeve Hospital Foundation.