Jim was among the world’s foremost growers and collectors of Japanese maples. His nursery in Boring, Ore., was featured (PDF) in the January 2009 State of Perfection issue of Digger magazine. He purchased the nursery from his parents, Don and Helen Schmidt, in 1974. Over time, he amassed a collection of more than 350 Japanese maple cultivars – probably a lot more. He stopped counting after he reached that number. “I started out with just a few, and then I started collecting them, and then they started collecting me,” Jim said last year.
More recently, Jim was featured as a source for an article on Japanese maples (PDF) that appeared in the July 2009 issue of Digger. In addition to the maples, Jim grew several varieties of flowering cherry and dogwood, including the Heart Throb dogwood, which he patented.
Jim served as president of OAN’s Mt. Hood Chapter. His family connections to the nursery business ran deep. He was the nephew of the late J. Frank Schmidt, founder of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Nursery in Boring, Ore.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7 at Bateman Carroll Funeral Home, 520 W. Powell Blvd., Gresham, Ore. (directions). A reception will follow at Wink’s Restaurant, 3240 S. Troutdale Road, Troutdale, Ore. (directions). For a more detailed obituary, see the Bateman Carroll Web site. Another obituary appears on the Gresham Outlook Web site (scroll down).
In a State of Perfection Video from last year, you can see Jim talking about one of his favorite Japanese maples: Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’.