December 31, 1921 – June 26, 2021
Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine August/September 2021 online issue
Longtime Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) board member, Sylvester “Wes” Schmid, 99, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, passed away June 26, 2021.
Schmid was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on December 31, 1921. He was just shy of 20 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. He first served stateside in 1942 as a military police officer in Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania. He requested overseas duty and became an amphibious engineer attached to the 7th Infantry Division, participating in the invasion of Leyte, Philippines, in late 1944, and Okinawa, Japan, in 1945. After the war ended, he was assigned to occupation duty in Korea, returning to Oshkosh in December 1945.
Schmid attended college on the GI Bill, enrolling first at the Oshkosh Teacher’s College, followed by a year of college in Kentucky before earning his degree in Journalism at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Upon graduation, he began his career at Olson Publishing Company in Milwaukee, where he met Julie, who would become his wife. They married in 1953, and in 1956, they welcomed their first daughter, Kathi, followed by their son, Rob, in 1963, and youngest daughter, Mary, in 1967. He left Olson Publishing to start his own advertising agency, S. H. Schmid & Associates, where he worked until he retired at age 85.
Schmid met EAA Founder Paul Poberezny in the early 1950s and joined EAA where he served 33 years on its board of directors. He also served on the board of EAA’s Antiques & Classics Division; and held the position of Chairman of the Forums for 50 years at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. EAA dedicated the Forums Headquarters in his honor. In 2012, Schmid was inducted into the EAA Hall of Fame, Homebuilders Division. To watch a short video about his involvement in EAA, go to https://www.eaa.org/videos/1973932263001
Wes Schmid wrote hundreds of articles for various EAA publications and authored or co-authored numerous books about air racing and homebuilt aircraft. Licensed as a pilot in 1963, he owned two airplanes and built one of them.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Experimental Aircraft Association in his name (www.EAA.org).