Christian J. Schmitt, MD
August 11, 2023
Dr. Christian "Chris" J. Schmitt, a dedicated doctor and founding medical director of the Puget Sound Kidney Center in Everett, died August 11 with his immediate family by his side. He was 86.
Chris was born in 1936 and raised in Oldenburg Germany, where World War II greatly influenced his childhood with irregular school sessions, hours spent in farmers' fields gathering produce for the family and raising chickens in his parent's backyard. He developed resilience and ingenuity, traits that would guide him throughout his life.
Chris was inspired to study medicine by a relative who was a surgeon and shared his enthusiasm for the profession. He attended medical school in Freiburg, Germany and later came to the United States to further his medical career in nephrology, the study and treatment of kidneys. During his residency in Honolulu he met his wife Karin, also a physician.
While in medical school Chris learned he had kidney disease from a hereditary illness and was told he would likely not live past 30. That sobering diagnosis furthered his personal and professional interest in kidney treatment.
After completing his fellowship at the University of Washington, Chris and his young family moved to Everett where they became longtime residents. He soon realized there were few possibilities for his patients to receive treatment locally and set out to establish kidney dialysis treatment in local hospitals and eventually a dialysis center, which opened in 1981. He and Karin also founded the Everett Kidney and Arthritis Clinic, where they worked for nearly 40 years.
Chris was a passionate physician dedicating much of his life to the care of his patients whom he often looked after for years and sometimes decades. He was always grateful to the many people who supported his plans and visions.
He was also someone who liked to dream big and pursue adventure, always with an upbeat attitude. His adventures included hitchhiking from Germany to India and back, a bike trip from Germany to Finland, and moving from his home in Germany to relocate in the United States.
In 1989 Chris needed kidney dialysis himself. With Karin's help, he was treated at home and continued to work full time. He received a kidney transplant in 1990.
Chris is survived by his wife Karin, his sons Dan and Frank, his brother Wilhelm, sister Elisabeth and several nieces and nephews in Germany.
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