From the Past . . . to the Present
Clem Reinders owned and operated a furniture store in Kewaskum for many years. In the early 20th century, it was common for furniture stores to also operate a funeral service. Clem served as the Washington County Coroner for many years. Clem Reinders was married to the former Florence Schmidt, who was an aunt of Leander Schmidt. In the late 1920's, Clem approached Leander about joining him in the business. Being that this was during the depression, and Leander had a job, he was reluctant to do so. After much persuasion, Leander went to school to become a funeral director. In 1931, Leander graduated from the Goodman School of Embalming and received his embalmer and funeral director licenses. He worked part-time for Reinders Furniture and Funeral Service until deciding that was what he wanted as his life-long profession. On May 1, 1934, the Schmidt-Reinders Funeral Home open its doors on north Main Street in downtown West Bend where the BMO Harris Bank is presently located. After Clem's death in November of 1934, Leander became the sole owner of the funeral home in West Bend, renaming it the Schmidt Funeral Home. In 1939, Leander purchased land and built a new funeral home on the corner of 7th Avenue and Cedar Street, the first building in Washington County designed solely as a funeral home. After graduating from high school, Leander's brother, Harvey, went to funeral service school and joined Leander in the funeral home business until he entered the United States Navy, serving during World War II. After his discharge, he returned to the funeral business until 1953 when he left to pursue a different profession. Our founder, father and grandfather, Leander, died on February 16, 2005. Today, the funeral home is still owned and operated in the same family traditions and values by Amy and Scott, along with our unlicensed staff of Julie Schmidt, Jeff Schmidt and Marilyn Backhaus. The Schmidt Funeral Home is proud of having been invited to membership in the Order of the Golden Rule, an international organization of leading funeral homes in the world. Membership in OGR is by invitation only, and we are proud of having been continually invited to membership since 1961. We also are members of the National Funeral Directors Association, the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association and the Lakeshore Funeral Directors Association. We are also active in the community. Local memberships have included the West Bend Noon Kiwanis Club, Early Riser Kiwanis Club, West Bend Noon Rotary, West Bend Lions Club, West Bend Jaycees, Downtown West Bend Association, West Bend Chamber of Commerce, Fr. Casper Rehrl Council 1964 Knights of Columbus, Loyal Order Of Moose West Bend Lodge #1398 and West Bend Germanfest Committee. We have also been active members of our local churches.