Erica Cheryl “Ricki” Schmutz passed away peacefully on May 16, 2023, in Overland Park, KS, after a lengthy illness. Born on October 31, 1949, in Topeka, KS, to Ken and Lynne Swedberg Schmutz, she was nicknamed “Ricki,” as she remained lovingly known by family and friends.
After the family moved to Overland Park in 1958, Ricki entered the Shawnee Mission School District “for life,” starting in elementary school at Tomahawk and graduating in 1967 from SM West High School. She joined Alpha Chi Omega sorority in 1967 at Baker University, transferred to Kansas University her sophomore year and affiliated with the KU chapter of AXO, where she made lifelong friends. After graduating from KU, she returned to SMSD as an elementary school teacher in 1971, fulfilling her life’s goal. In 1996, she received recognition from KU for 25 years as an elementary school teacher. Obtaining her Master’s degree in Secondary Education at UMKC in 1996, she retired from teaching Social Studies at Westridge Middle School in 2014.
Ricki was first and foremost a teacher, her proudest achievement. A caregiver by nature, her students were the “children” she personally never had, along with a much-loved niece and nephew. She was loved by students and parents alike and was a loyal friend to many. She took care of her inspiration, her beloved “Gram,” and her own parents as they aged and was close to great-aunts and uncles. She was very sentimental about family, furnishing her homes with beloved family heirlooms. She was an active member of Leawood UMC for as long as possible.
Ricki is survived by her brother Kent Schmutz of OPKS, sister Suzy and Glen Wilson of Houston, TX, niece Sarah Schmutz of Scottsdale, AZ, and nephew Bryan Schmutz of Perth, AUS. She will always be part of our hearts.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Leawood United Methodist Church or the Dementia Society of America.
To view Ricki’s Memorial Service, through livestream, please visit the link below: