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Rod L. Schmidt
Roderick Lawson Schmidt, epigrapher, anthropologist, hang-glider pilot, motorcycle racer, surfer, beloved father, grandfather, son, brother and friend was a longtime resident of Lone Pine.
He was born Dec. 12, 1945 in Montclair, N.J., and came with his family to Whittier, in Sept. 1951 when he was only 5 years old. Raised in Whittier, he attended St. Mary’s grade school, Pioneer High School, and then Fullerton Junior College. His family remembers his early adulthood when he became a proficient surfer, and his spending a tour of duty in the U.S. Army. It was while he was stationed in Germany that his wife gave birth to his eldest daughter. Returning to the States after his service, he took up motorcycle racing, attended Rio Hondo Junior College and fathered his second daughter.
Always loving a challenge, he then began hang-gliding. He often told stories of the many times he soared over Mount Whitney. He took interest in the pre-Columbian petroglyphs (or rock carvings), at the INY-272 archaeological site in Inyo County, and spent the next few decades deciphering them, protecting them, writing about them and sharing their message. He received his degree in Anthropology at California State University San Bernardino in 2008, and returned to Lone Pine and his self-appointed task of protecting Inyo’s pre-Columbian heritage. His gift to the ages is the equinox-project.com website and its message. His greatest wish would be that people remember and protect the INY-272 site for posterity.
Rod perished April 14, 2012 when his residence on U.S. 395 caught fire.
He is survived by his mother, Marie Schmidt; his brothers, Robert Paul, David Glenn and Michael Quentin; his sisters, Patricia Marie and Diane Lucile; his daughters, Lisa Michelle and Jennifer Lee; his grandchildren, Alexander Robert , Melanie Lynn and Andrew Curtis; and a host of cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Memorial services were held Friday, May 4, in the Lone Pine Park with Rod being interred at the Mt.Whitney Cemetery. There will be a celebration of life picnic from noon-6 p.m. Sunday, June 10, 2012, at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea.