July 4, 1973 – July 1, 1993

Stephanie had a contagious laugh that brought joy to everyone around her. She had a delightful child-like spirit. Even in her late teens, she still enjoyed watching cartoons, especially The Simpsons. She believed there was always an occasion to go out for ice-cream. Her favorite flavors were chocolate and coconut, which she enjoyed as a double scoop in a waffle cone! Stephanie loved music and dancing. She was especially fond of  80’s pop, REM, Jimmy Buffett and Garth Brooks.  

Most of all, she loved spending time with her friends and family.  She looked forward to getting married and having a family of her own. She always spoke up for those in need. She sang like no one was listening. She danced like no one was watching. Stephanie lived and loved like there was no tomorrow.

Stephanie was a student at Pittsburg State University. Ironically, months before she was killed, Stephanie wrote the following influential reflection for her psychology class.

 “Death makes me realize how much I value life, but more specifically, my parents, friends, family, and most of all – love. I try to treat everyone as if there is no tomorrow because you never know if there is.”

The picture of the above sunset was taken on the day authorities found Stephanie. The owner of the property looked out her window after watching the news and captured this beautiful image. It reminds us of Stephanie’s peaceful, bright spirit. 

Video Link: “If I Had Only Known”  – This video was created on a VHS tape in 1993 in Memory of Stephanie Schmidt. Reba McEntire gave the Schmidts permission to use this song. As a result, Stephanie’s parents had the chance to meet Reba after a concert and share Stephanie’s story with her.