Shrewsbury – Harry P. Schmidt, 94, of Shrewsbury MA formerly of Manhasset, NY and Cromwell, CT passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 7, 2023. He was predeceased by his wife of 63 years, Beverly (Watson).
He is survived by his son, Greg and his wife Sharon of Harvard, MA and his daughter Carol Swegle of Scottsdale, AZ, and grandsons Matthew and Jon Schmidt, and Scott (and wife Maddy) and Jeff Swegle.
Born June 1, 1928 in Brooklyn to Henry and Marie (Schindl) Schmidt and raised in Yonkers, NY Harry graduated from RPI and received an MBA from the Wharton School. During the Korean War he served his nation as an Air Force fighter pilot stationed in Okinawa and in Korea. After the war he became a test pilot for Pratt and Whitney and held the unofficial world speed and altitude records in the McDonald Douglas F-101 “voodoo.”
After leaving the flying world behind him he went on to become an aviation consultant. Over the next 35 years he became highly sought after by airlines and governments. He helped plan and design airports around the world. He conceived of and was co-designer of the FAA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), the system widely acknowledged as responsible for the drastic reduction of aviation accidents. He also designed and patented “the Airport Takeoff Window,” another airport safety program. He was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Wings Club, the latter presenting him with the “annual achievement award” in 1992.
In retirement Harry devoted hundreds of hours to serving his local church. Calling themselves “the Pew Crew” he and a few other retired men repaired and repainted much of the historic building of the Rocky Hill Congregational Church.
Harry did not hold back from sharing his opinions and was a frequent contributor to the letters to the editor of the Hartford Courant. His greatest joy, however, was spending time with his family. He and his wife traveled around the world and enjoyed their retirement to the fullest. He leaves a legacy of honesty, integrity and generosity.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
The Anderson Funeral Home, 250 Main Street, (Rte 119) Townsend Center, is assisting the family with arrangements.