Crescent Electric

Countdown to 100 Years: Schmid Family - Who Are We?

Over the next year, we're celebrating the Countdown to our 100th Anniversary by sharing our stories from our past. The history of our founder, Titus B. Schmid, and all those that impacted him, play a vital role in the creation of Crescent Electric Supply Company. Join us as we take a stroll down memory lane in preparation for our Centennial celebration in April, 2019!


Story 11: Schmid Family-Who Are We?

Who are we? We are educators, medical professionals, business people, bankers, lawyers, volunteers, homemakers, Emmy winners (ok, we only have one Emmy winner but she has been nominated for an Emmy multiple times!), basically our family is composed of people who have chosen many different careers. We had four Schmids who worked (or still work) at Crescent from the third generation: Dick, Jack, Ti and Mike Schmid all built their careers at Crescent. We have one fourth generation family member working at Crescent in our Denver branch, Nick Rhomberg.

Like many families, we were taught from a very early age the importance of putting family and faith first in our lives. We had Schmid family reunions every summer and I have fond memories of 4th of July parties at my aunts and uncle’s homes in Dubuque. Everyone in my generation, the third generation, had the opportunity to spend time with our Grandpa and Grandma Schmid while we were growing up.  Grandpa Titus lived to age 90 and he spent plenty of time with each of us over the years, teaching us the importance of hard work, family and faith.

Titus B. Schmid lived long enough to attend the first 3rd generation wedding of Kathy Schmid to Chuck Munson!

Titus B. Schmid lived long enough to attend the first 3rd generation wedding of Kathy Schmid to Chuck Munson!

As our family grew and we became adults, we found it harder and harder to meet every year, but we kept in touch as often as we could. We now have a Schmid family reunion every three years that we all pitch in and plan. We wanted our fourth generation, and now our fifth, to experience the same strong sense of family that we benefitted from when we were growing up. It isn’t always easy to get everyone together but we all make it a priority…and are always glad we did!

It is fitting that my large, extended family still owns Crescent Electric Supply Company together one hundred years after Titus opened the doors to the first branch on Iowa Street in Dubuque. I imagine many of you have heard horror stories of family businesses that eventually tore families apart. Or you may have seen news stories about one family member suing another family member. We never want to be the “stars” of any of these terrible stories. We don’t want to dishonor our legacy. We have worked hard to be responsible stewards of the family and Crescent Electric, indeed we always knew this was expected of us.

While we don’t always agree we follow some family “rules” that helps us to have every voice heard and ultimately make decisions everyone can live with. We do this through a governance process we call the Schmid Family Council. Sometimes the decisions taken by the Family Council go the way I want them to do, sometimes they don’t. The important point is we respect each other’s opinions, make important decisions and move on as family members committed to each other and the extended Crescent family.


Our Schmid Family Vision, Mission and Common Values

The council is established to provide organization for our family, in service of our Schmid family vision and mission.

Vision

To be a strong, cohesive family whose core values encourage the development of competent, independent individuals who enjoy meeting and working together
to build a strong family, viable business enterprises
and healthy communities.

Mission

To build a strong and enduring Schmid family organization that promotes the family’s core values based on a foundation of:

• regular family gatherings

• education and development

• a sense of tradition in both family and business

• a commitment to giving back

Our Common Values

The council serves to uphold and promote the guiding values which we have received over generations, and which have kept our family strong and our business successful.

  1. Respect for our family heritage, including the sacrifice and hard work that provides greater opportunity for future generations.

  2. Commitment to seek our collective good, making it more important than seeking personal advantage.

  3. A sense of stewardship of our common assets, preserving and growing them for
    future generations.

  4. Active and committed family ownership that adds value to our enterprises.

  5. Ethical business culture that benefits our customers, employees and communities.


Strong Work Ethic

It was clear from the interviews and the collective thoughts of the family council that the values instilled in us from our parents and grandparents are values we still hold true today: a strong work ethic, family values and faith are the pillars that hold our family together.

Titus and Doden instilled in each of their children a strong work ethic. This video captures Bill, John and Janet talking about their childhood chores. Later in the video are old clips of the boys mowing the lawn, washing the car and Titus giving the car a thorough inspection.

When Tom was living in Bridgeport right after college, he sent this comic strip to his Dad, Titus.  We can only assume that Titus appreciated his humor!

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FAITH and FAMILY

Titus and Doden raised their children in the Catholic faith and their faith was very important to them.  As was seen in an earlier vignette, the children and grandchildren were taught to give back to their community and live their faith. In this video Janet, Mary and Bill speak of the importance of faith and the strong sense of family they were taught growing up.

 

Like all parents, Titus and Doden loved their children and grandchildren and cherished the time they had with them. In this letter to his granddaughter, Titus mentions how excited he is to have his grandchildren come to visit.

4/3/1971

…Mom and I love you all so very much and it means so much to us when any of you come and stay with us.  John, Bette and their five wonderful kiddies will be here this coming Friday and while we will be a bit crowded with 10 of us in the house, it will all be great fun.

 

As he got older, Titus became more vocal about his appreciation for his children.

12/13/1973

…From my standpoint passing Crescent to all of you is not only the practical action for me to take, but with it goes all the love in the world from mom and me to you all. You all have conducted yourselves in such a graced way in every way and when it comes time for mom and me to leave, I feel sure that every one of you will carry on in the future as you have in the past.

We have a great family and let us always keep it so…Mom and Dad

 

Titus often expressed his wishes for his children, but this holiday letter is particularly poignant as it was written shortly after his first-born son Tom had died from cancer at the age of 56.

12/8/1974

…Mom and I send to you all our great love...By now you all must realize what really substantial citizens you all are, and I want to issue a word of caution to each of you to use the best of judgment in your dealings in the future with one another.  Never forget that in unity, which I pray will never be anything but a fact, is a great strength, for the future of our great Company is really before you all.  And so, for another year live in health and happiness and with great respect for each other is the wish of your Mom and your Dad…


One of the letters Grandpa Titus sent to my siblings and me was “chatty,” but expressed his personal mantra of hard work. He reminded us to “study hard” and then we can enjoy our vacation time.

May 14, 1964

Dear Doug, Drew, Dave, Ti, Mary, Stephen;  

Now you know it was so nice of all of you youngsters to send Grandma and Grandpa such nice greeting and we sure appreciate your thinking of us…

…Well my dears, all have fun and study hard. During vacation you all have loads of fun.  

Love to you all from Grandpa 


Over the years while Crescent has grown so has the Schmid family. There are now 123 Schmid family members, including six (soon to be seven) fifth generation descendants of Titus and Doden, all committed to honoring Titus and Doden’s family legacy. 

The rest of this vignette gives a brief pictorial history of the Schmid family through the generations. 

The Schmid Family

Titus B. Schmid (founder of Crescent Electric Supply Company) married Josephine Anna Schroeder (nickname Doden) on May 8, 1917 in Dubuque, Iowa.

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One year later, in July of 1918, they welcomed their first-born child, a son Tom. Less than a year later, on April 15, 1919, Titus opened the doors to his first branch of Crescent Electric Supply Company. The Company and the Schmid family have continued to grow ever since!

Tom Schmid and his mom, Doden, on Armistice Day.

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This is a photo of Titus and Doden. (Circa 1919)

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Titus and Doden went on to have seven children:

Tom - July 1918

Mary - March 1920

John - February 1922

Jim - July 1923

Bill - March 1925

Jeanne - December 1927

Janet - March 1931

This 1934 photo shows all seven of the Schmid children.

This 1934 photo shows all seven of the Schmid children.

 

The family grew up in Dubuque, Iowa and lived most of that time on Hill Street. This is a photo taken in the backyard on Hill Street in 1942.

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Titus and Doden Schmid with their seven children. (Circa 1950)

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In 1952, Tom Schmid and his wife Libby welcomed the first of 36 grandchildren for Titus and Doden. By late summer of 1958, there were already more children than adults at the family reunion!

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On November 25, 1961, Jim Schmid married Mary Schwind.  Jim was the last of Titus and Doden’s children to get married.  This photo shows all the Schmid children with their spouses at Jim and Mary’s wedding.

Left to right: Jeanne and Bob Piekenbrock, Libby and Tom Schmid, Bette and Bill Schmid, Doden Schmid, Jim Schmid, Titus B. Schmid, Mary Schmid, Roger and Janet Rhomberg, John and Bette Schmid, and Mogens and Mary Christiansen.

Left to right: Jeanne and Bob Piekenbrock, Libby and Tom Schmid, Bette and Bill Schmid, Doden Schmid, Jim Schmid, Titus B. Schmid, Mary Schmid, Roger and Janet Rhomberg, John and Bette Schmid, and Mogens and Mary Christiansen.

 
Doden and Titus celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1967.

Doden and Titus celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1967.


The Second and Third Generations

Tom Schmid

Tom and Libby Schmid with their four children. (Circa 1970)

Tom and Libby Schmid with their four children. (Circa 1970)

 

Mary (Schmid) Christiansen

Mary and Mogens Christiansen. (Circa 1959)

Mary and Mogens Christiansen. (Circa 1959)

Mary and Mogen’s children. (Circa 1959)

Mary and Mogen’s children. (Circa 1959)

 

John Schmid

Bette and John Schmid. (Circa 1966)

Bette and John Schmid. (Circa 1966)

Bette Schmid with John and Bette’s five children. (Circa 1966)

Bette Schmid with John and Bette’s five children. (Circa 1966)

 

Jim Schmid

Jim and Mary Schmid with their five children. (Circa 1970)

Jim and Mary Schmid with their five children. (Circa 1970)

 

Bill Schmid

Bill and Bette Schmid with their seven children. (Circa 1968)

Bill and Bette Schmid with their seven children. (Circa 1968)

 

Jeanne (Schmid) Piekenbrock

Jeanne and Bob Piekenbrock with their five children. (Circa 1976)

Jeanne and Bob Piekenbrock with their five children. (Circa 1976)

 

Janet (Schmid) Rhomberg

Janet and Roger Rhomberg with their seven children. (Circa 1972)

Janet and Roger Rhomberg with their seven children. (Circa 1972)

 

The Fifth Generation

The family has continued to grow through the years.  We now have six fifth generation family members.

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This young couple is expecting the seventh baby in the fifth generation of Titus B. Schmid descendants.

This young couple is expecting the seventh baby in the fifth generation of Titus B. Schmid descendants.

 

Who has captured all these Schmid relative’s attention?

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Answer: Cousin Dick Schmid, of course.  Dick was the oldest of the 3rd generation cousins.

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Our large, extended Schmid family now includes:

Two second generation aunts, our beloved Aunt Mary Schmid (Jim Schmid’s wife) and Aunt Janet Rhomberg (the youngest child of Titus and Doden).

Fifty-two third generation siblings, cousins and in-laws.

Sixty-three fourth generation siblings, cousins and in-laws.

Six fifth generation siblings and cousins, with a seventh baby due in June.

All 123 of us are planning to attend a family reunion this summer to celebrate Crescent’s 100th Anniversary!

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About the Project as Explained by the Author:

Author Mary Schmid Daugherty is a third generation Schmid family member. Content for this Project, a historical narrative, was selected from the personal archives of many members of the Schmid family. The narrative itself required the author to cull and categorize hundreds of pieces of information (old newspaper articles, photos, interviews, movies and physical memorabilia). She then fit the pieces together to share this story of the Schmid family and Crescent Electric over the past 100 years. The resulting Project is a series of vignettes, of which this is one.  She hopes you enjoy reading and watching these vignettes.  

To learn more about the Author’s professional qualifications visit her website: https://www.stthomas.edu/business/faculty/directory/daugherty-mary.html

© Mary Schmid Daugherty May 2018


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Countdown to 100 Years: Civic Engagement

Over the next year, we're celebrating the Countdown to our 100th Anniversary by sharing our stories from our past. The history of our founder, Titus B. Schmid, and all those that impacted him, play a vital role in the creation of Crescent Electric Supply Company. Join us as we take a stroll down memory lane in preparation for our Centennial celebration in April, 2019!


Story 10: Civic Engagement

In an earlier vignette we discussed Titus Sr (1850’s), and his sons, Alphonse, Titus and Albert’s (late 1800’s) involvement in building business and civic relationships in the Dubuque community.  It is no surprise that this tradition of giving back to the community was carried on by Titus B. Schmid, Crescent’s Founder.

One of the earliest records we have of our founder, Titus, commitment to his community was this summary of a meeting held on December 1, 1934.The country was in the depths of the Great Depression.The Mayor of Dubuque asked Titus to Chair the Remodeling and Repairs Committee focused on helping families in Dubuque living on relief. 

December 1, 1934

December 1, 1934

A few years later in February 1936, Titus was elected President of the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce.

Titus was reelected President the following year: 1937 Chamber President, Titus B. Schmid.

The local newspaper decided to print the entire speech that Titus gave at the Chamber Dinner in 1937.  Titus gave a resounding speech on “Dubuque-Today and Tomorrow”.  In his speech he calls on all citizens of Dubuque to embrace his call to action.  The entirety of this article is included in the link below if you are interested in reading it.

1937 Dubuque Chamber of Commerce Meeting

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Titus received notes of congratulations upon his reelection to a 2nd term.

In 1938 Titus welcomed the National Chairman of all the U.S. Chambers of Commerce to Dubuque, Iowa for a formal visit.

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During his second term as Chamber of Commerce President, Titus lead a successful fundraising campaign to support the Chamber.  Maybe it was his rousing speech and the visit from the President of the National Chamber which helped the fundraising campaign beat its goal!

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Titus joined the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of Northeast Iowa in December, 1938.

During WWII there were many battles in the sky.  The use of aircraft after the war was beginning to be discussed throughout the country.  Titus served on a committee that worked to get an airport built in Dubuque.  This was no small task as resources for building were severely limited during the war.  Eventually the airport was built.

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Tom Schmid

Titus was not the only Schmid to be involved in the Chamber of Commerce.  Titus’ oldest son, Tom, joined the Chamber of Commerce in the mid 1950’s.  Tom’s role in the Chamber began as Chairman of the Industrial Expansion Committee and eventually led to him being elected President of the Chamber in 1959.  While he was Chairman of the Industrial Expansion Committee in 1957, Tom wrote a guest editorial in the paper asking the citizens of Dubuque to convey to all visitors the positive attributes of the city.  The city had recently invested in building an industrial park and were in the process of trying to attract new industries to locate in Dubuque.  We have included here Tom’s Guest Editorial:

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Below are Chamber President Tom Schmid’s comments in the Chamber news bulletins from July, August and September of 1959.  He sounds very similar to his father and shared the same hopes and dreams for the City of Dubuque.

July 1959

July 1959

August 1959

August 1959

September 1959

September 1959


Bill Schmid

Civic engagement and volunteerism are part of the DNA of the Schmid family. The commitment of giving back to the community was instilled in all of Titus and Josephine’s children.  In 2007, we captured Bill Schmid, youngest son of Titus, speaking of the importance of helping people in need.

 

Bill Schmid devoted 31 years to the Boys Clubs of America.

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Janet (Schmid) Rhomberg & Mary Schmid

Mary Schmid, Crescent Community Health Center employee, and Janet (Schmid) Rhomberg in front of the Crescent Community Health Center in Dubuque, IA.

Mary Schmid, Crescent Community Health Center employee, and Janet (Schmid) Rhomberg in front of the Crescent Community Health Center in Dubuque, IA.

Titus and Josephine’s daughter Janet, and their daughter-in-law Mary (married to Jim), have continued to carry the commitment to giving back in the city of Dubuque, Iowa.  Today they are still actively involved with The Crescent Community Health Center.

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Dr. Douglas Schmid

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Dr. Douglas Schmid, grandson of Titus, is shown here volunteering at the health center.


Eva Schmid

Eva Schmid, a fourth-generation family member volunteers at the Crescent Health Center.  In this video she explains the importance of the Center in meeting the health needs of patients.

 

Dick & Carrie Schmid

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Dick Schmid (deceased), eldest son of Tom and first-born grandchild of Titus and Josephine, developed and supported the Schmid Innovation Center which helps people with a hand up!

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National Mississippi River Museum

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The Dubuque River Museum is also a beneficiary of Schmid engagement in the Dubuque area. Jerry Enzler, retired president and CEO of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium said, “I remember when I was working on the very first campaign to establish the museum in about 1980, I first met Jim Schmid as we made calls together. The family and the company were very supportive of our efforts and we were successful in reaching our goal and establishing the museum.”  Since that time many of the Schmid’s living in Dubuque have contributed to the museum.  Last year the museum held a very popular exhibit on the history of brewing in Dubuque.  The Dubuque Brewing and Malting Company, owned by descendants of the Schmid family, was part of the display.  Did you know that beer was touted as a “health tonic”?


Special Spaces

The third, fourth and fifth generation of the Schmid family now live many places beyond Dubuque.  This means the commitment to giving back is extended well beyond the community of Dubuque.  Special Spaces is one of the many great cause supported by members of the Schmid family.  The Swain family and their Piekenbrock and Schmid cousins have made a difference in many children’s lives.  This video shows how Special Spaces has teamed up with Crescent to make a difference in a sick child’s life:


Solidarity Bridge

The entire Schmid family has been aligned on giving back to their communities in different ways.  Beyond the Crescent Health Center, Schmid Innovation Center, Dubuque River Museum and Special Spaces, individual Schmid family members are involved in many charities sharing their time, talent and treasure.  While we cannot cover all the charities in this vignette, the pictures below highlight some of the charities we support.

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Cousins Connecting In The Community

A picture board from a recent reunion, “Cousins Connecting In The Community”, captures some of the charities we are committed to serving.

We are very thankful that our ancestor’s role modeled for us the importance of sharing time, talent and treasure with others less fortunate. Our family continues to this day to encourage all family members to volunteer and give back. We are proud that members of the Schmid family are involved in many wonderful causes.

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About the Project as Explained by the Author:

Author Mary Schmid Daugherty is a third generation Schmid family member. Content for this Project, a historical narrative, was selected from the personal archives of many members of the Schmid family. The narrative itself required the author to cull and categorize hundreds of pieces of information (old newspaper articles, photos, interviews, movies and physical memorabilia). She then fit the pieces together to share this story of the Schmid family and Crescent Electric over the past 100 years. The resulting Project is a series of vignettes, of which this is one.  She hopes you enjoy reading and watching these vignettes.  

To learn more about the Author’s professional qualifications visit her website: https://www.stthomas.edu/business/faculty/directory/daugherty-mary.html

© Mary Schmid Daugherty May 2018


Click here to subscribe to future articles and stay up to date with Crescent Electric.

Countdown to 100 Years: Notre Dame Alma Mater

Countdown to 100 Years: Notre Dame Alma Mater

Many say Notre Dame’s fortunes in football begin with Knute Rockne’s first undefeated season in 1919, which ironically overlaps with the founding of Crescent Electric. It is little wonder, then, that Crescent’s founder, Titus Schmid, turned to Notre Dame to educate his sons, as both Crescent Electric and Notre Dame began to make headlines. 

Countdown to 100 Years: The Early Years

Countdown to 100 Years: The Early Years

In this countdown to our 100th Anniversary, we explore Crescent Electric as a family business and the Tom Schmid era. From the time Titus’ sons became involved in the business, to Tom’s promotion to President of the company in 1966; this article details the growing business that is still held by the family today. Join us as we take a stroll down memory lane in preparation for our Centennial celebration in April, 2019!

Countdown to 100 Years: Notes and Correspondence from our Founder, Titus B. Schmid

Countdown to 100 Years: Notes and Correspondence from our Founder, Titus B. Schmid

In this countdown to our 100th Anniversary, we learn that Titus was a prolific writer, sending frequent letters to family members regarding the business. This article details the challenges of business ownership in Titus’s own handwriting. Join us as we explore the notes and correspondence written by Titus from 1966 through 1982.

Countdown to 100 Years: Crescent Grows Through the Years

Countdown to 100 Years: Crescent Grows Through the Years

In this countdown to our 100th Anniversary, we look at the passion Titus had for growing the business. This article captures the first 50 years of Company history as told by Titus in his book, along with news clippings, and stories shared by his children. Join us as we explore the opportunities and challenges in the first 50 years of Crescent Electric Supply Company.

Countdown to 100 Years: Titus B. Schmid, Crescent Founder: Entrepreneur

Countdown to 100 Years: Titus B. Schmid, Crescent Founder: Entrepreneur

In this countdown to our 100th Anniversary, we explore the young entrepreneurial spirit of Crescent Electric Founder, Titus B. Schmid. From real estate investments in Canada, to farms in Minnesota and Iowa, Titus garnered a wealth of experience that finally led him to electrical sales and distribution. Join us as we take another stroll down memory lane in preparation for our Centennial celebration in April, 2019!

Countdown to 100 Years: The History Behind Crescent Electric

Countdown to 100 Years: The History Behind Crescent Electric

Over the next year, we're celebrating the countdown to our 100th Anniversary by sharing our stories from our past. The history of our founder, Titus B. Schmid, and all those that impacted him, play a vital role in the creation of Crescent Electric Supply Company. Join us as we take a stroll down memory lane in preparation for our Centennial celebration in April, 2019!