Celebration of life for three fatally shot at Maquoketa Caves State Park

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 10:23 PM CDT
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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KCRG) - Tuesday evening was the Celebration of Life for Tyler, Sarah, and Lula Schmidt.

The three family members were shot and killed in their tent at the Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground on July 22. 9-year-old Arlo Schmidt was also camping with his family. He survived.

Tuesday evening, more than 100 people gathered in Overman Park to hear stories and details about those killed.

Brian and Theresa Carr lived about five blocks from the Schmidts and described themselves as “smitten” with the family. “Tyler and Sarah possessed the superpower of truly seeing people and helping people to feel seen and heard,” said Theresa Carr.

The Carrs first got to know the Schmidts during the pandemic, when they posted a joke of the day on a chalkboard on their porch. They also had a notice for people using the sidewalk: “you have entered the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Silly Walks. Commence silly walking immediately, with credit to Monty Python.” Carr went on to say, “The first time I saw someone obeying the sign with a silly walk, I stepped outside to cheer them on and was further rewarded with a joke to put on the chalkboard for the next day. I kept a journal of those early joke ideas from neighbors and that day’s entry was ‘from little blonde silly-walking girl.’”

Kate Flather, a friend of Sarah Schmidt, said the family was like a thread connecting people from all walks of life in Cedar Falls. That was evident from the stories shared Tuesday evening. A group of readers presented letters from friends, co-workers, old classmates, even the family’s mail carrier. All of them shared memories and the details that made each family member special.

Dr. Renita Schmidt is Tyler Schmidt’s aunt. She shared details about her nephew, including his love of board games. She then shared a message from Tim and Debbie Schmidt. “Our hearts are beyond broken, and our lives shattered to pieces. We go on for Arlo, to love and support him.”

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