Irvin Schmitke July 24, 1936 - December 26, 2020
Irvin Schmitke July 24, 1936 - December 26, 2020

Irvin Schmitke, Thief River Falls, MN, 84, passed away on Saturday, December 26, 2020, at Sanford Medical Center, Fargo, North Dakota.


Visitation and Prayer Service will be on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, with the Visitation beginning at 4:00 pm and the Prayer Service beginning at 7:00 pm at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls, MN.  Visitation will also be held Thursday one hour prior to the funeral service at the Free Lutheran Church of Roseau, Roseau, MN.


The funeral service will be Thursday, December 31, 2020, at 10:30 am at the Free Lutheran Church of Roseau, Roseau, MN with Rev. Lyndon Korhonen officiating.  Burial will be at 1:30 PM in Rindal Cemetery, rural Viking, MN. Masks are required and practice social distancing.


Irvin Marquis Schmitke was born July 24, 1936, in rural Stephen, MN, the son of Carl and Alvina (Baier) Schmitke.  He was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith, later he put his trust in Christ as his Saviour and Lord. He attended rural school for 8 years and Stephen High School for 3 years and then attended Newfolden High School, Newfolden, MN in his senior year and graduated in 1954.


He entered the United States Army, 11th Airborne Division in the fall of 1954 and served overseas for just under 2 years.  He received his honorable discharge in 1957.


On December 25, 1955, Irvin was united in marriage to Janice Hall at Rindal Lutheran Church (32 degrees below that night).  To this union were born three children: Gregory, Mark and Kristi.  After being discharged the couple lived in Biwabik, MN, where Irvin worked at Erie Mining Co. leaving there in 1958.   Irvin attended McConnell Airline School and was employed with Eastern Airlines at Midway Airport, Chicago, IL.  He was laid off due to a strike at Thanksgiving of that year and began working for North Central Airlines in January of 1959 in Thief River Falls. North Central became Republic Airlines in 1979. In 1983, the airline left Thief River Falls and Irvin transferred to Fargo, ND, where he worked until his retirement in 1993.  During his time in Fargo Republic and Northwest merged becoming Northwest Airlines.  Irvin and Janice moved back to Thief River Falls and Irvin was employed by the City as maintenance personal at the airport until April 30, 2009, when he retired.  Irvin worked more than 50 years in the area of aviation during his working career and Irvin also earned his commercial pilot’s license.

Irvin had a heart to serve God and was very active in the Lord’s work. He received his first license to preach and do ministerial work in the Fall of 1981. He served Bethlehem and Emmanuel churches for eight years besides doing interim and pulpit fill in the absence of the church’s pastors.  Irvin attended the AFLC Summer Institute of Theology completing the required studies for Ordination, graduating in May 2010. Irvin was ordained as Reverend on September 22, 2013, at the Free Lutheran Church of Roseau, where he received a call to serve the Free Lutheran Church of Roseau and Norland Free Lutheran Church of Salol, MN. He also held many offices in Our Saviour’s Lutheran Free Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls and St. Paul’s Free Lutheran in Fargo.


Irvin married Alice Lund on May 26, 2018, at Free Lutheran Church of Roseau.


Irvin is survived by his wife, Alice; sons; Gregory (Renate), Moorhead, MN, Mark (Kim), Thief River Falls, MN, daughter, Kristi Schmitke, Fargo, ND. 7 Grandchildren, and 8 Great-grandchildren.


Step-children Rachal (Douglas) Erickson, Roseau, MN, Larry (Carol) Lund, Warroad, MN, Gayle (Charles) Baxter, Ironwood, MI, Kathleen (Craig) Slick, Baudette, MN.

10 Step-grandchildren and 13 Step-great grandchildren.


sisters: Mildred (Emery) Horien, Thief River Falls, MN; sisters-in-law: Hedwig Schmitke, Chandler, MN, Joyce Schmitke-Prickett, Apache Juntion, AZ, Lenore Wold and Carol (Harlan) Halvorson, both of Thief River Falls, MN; brother-in-law: David (Dee) Hall, Pine Island, MN, and several nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends.




He was preceded in death by his wife Janice on December 9, 2016; his parents, grandparents, parents-in-law Olaf and Mayme Hall; siblings and spouses: Harold (Doris) Schmitke, Arnold Schmitke, Otto (Mary) Schmitke, Martin and Carl Jr. Schmitke, Freda (John) Varland, Agnes (Richard) Ostrem, Margaret (Clifford) Bugge, Betty (William) Waterworth and Amy (Elmer) Gutterud; brothers-in-law: Rueben Wold and Vernon (Doris) Hall.


Irvin was very active in life and his main concerns were for his family and for the work of his Lord Jesus Christ.  Matthew 11:28 Jesus said: “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


Memorials are suggested to AFLC “FLAPS (Free Lutheran Association of Pilot Supporters) Ministry” and the AFLC Home Missions.