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Gregory Palmer Schmidt ’69, age 69, former Secretary of the California Senate and Chief Executive Officer of the California Senate Rules Committee for 18 years, passed away on Aug. 24, 2016 surrounded by his family and friends in Citrus Heights, California.
He was born in Oakland, California on May 3, 1947 and attended Assumption School and Parish in San Leandro, followed by Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland. After one year at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, he attended Santa Clara University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in History in 1969. He then achieved his Master’s Degree from Berkeley in 1973. He also proudly served in the California Army Reserve "Fighting 91st" in Fort Ord and Sausalito.
As a young man, he was a consultant to Mayor Joseph Alioto’s campaign in San Francisco, Senator Bill Lockyer’s staff later as Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Assembly Committees on Human Resources, Labor and Employment, and Consumer Affairs. In his later years he served the Senators Pro Tem: Bill Lockyer, Don Perata, John Burton, and Darrel Steinberg. In every situation he was either a leader, a counselor, a classics scholar, a humorist, or a visionary. He was often the voice of reason in any given room.
In the latter part of his capitol career he enjoyed being the Chairman of the California International Relations Foundation and promoting historic preservation projects and commemorations on the occasion of California’s 150 birthday.
He was always an advocate for others, finding the best in people and promoting their good aspirations at every opportunity. He was truly a friend of mankind and never missed an opportunity to help people become the best they could be. His humor, wit, and kindness were legendary and will be sorely missed.
His family meant the world to him, beginning with his children Jeffrey Schmidt (Sara), Dr. Korina Tanner ’93 (James) , John Schmidt (Beth), Thomas Schmidt (Allison) and his 11 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife Charlotte Schmidt, and lovingly remembered by his companion, Cathleen Gardella who provided such good care for him during his final days and was the joy of his life in his final years.
He will be forever cherished by his brothers Paul Schmidt ’72 (Gloria), Brendan Schmidt (Denise), and their children, his childhood friend Steve Costa of Inverness (the unofficial fourth brother), and the larger Schmidt, Palmer, Haynes, and Cunningham families, as well as numerous friends and associates throughout the state.