Ed Schmitt: Where is Michelle Schmitt’s Dad Now?

Jon Gunn’s drama film ‘Ordinary Angels’ chronicles Ed Schmitt’s struggles to look after his daughter Michelle, who has been suffering from a severe liver condition that threatens her life. After the death of his wife, Theresa, Ed gets immersed in hopelessness and debt, only for Sharon Stevens to lend him a helping hand. Together, they try their best to ensure that Michelle will survive her illness. In real life, Ed went to extreme lengths to lead Michelle to a healthy future with the help of Sharon, his family members, and the residents of Louisville, Kentucky. Years later, he remains in the city that holds the memories of his wife and daughter!

Who is Ed Schmitt?

Ed Schmitt’s life turned upside down when his wife, Theresa, died in 1992 due to a rare condition known as Wegener’s disease at the age of 29. After her demise, Ed had to look after his two daughters, Ashley and Michelle, with the help of his mother, Barbara. The two siblings were suffering from biliary atresia, a rare liver disease. By the time of Theresa’s death, Ashley had already undergone a liver transplant surgery. In the next two years, Michelle’s health worsened, only for him to realize that his second daughter wouldn’t survive for long if she couldn’t undergo a similar transplant surgery.

Meanwhile, Sharon started helping Ed financially in whatever way she could. When Michelle’s doctor revealed that a private aircraft was needed to take the former to Omaha, Nebraska, right after a donor was found, Sharon arranged it as well. In 1994, Ed saw a ray of hope when he was informed that a 7-year-old Kansas boy named Brian Friesen was selected as the donor. The ray didn’t last longer, especially due to a heavy snowstorm. While Ed got stuck, Sharon emerged once again to his rescue. She contacted influential figures to raise awareness concerning the significance of Michelle’s surgery.

Sharon’s efforts motivated hundreds of Louisville residents to step out and clear the parking lot of Southeast Christian Church for a helicopter to land and take Michelle and Ed to a private aircraft that was arranged to take them to Omaha for the surgery. “It tore me apart. I fell to pieces. It touched me deeper than I’ve ever been touched in my entire life,” he told The Courier-Journal about seeing the city’s residents working tirelessly for his daughter. “I don’t know why things went the way they did, but I know God had a big hand in it, and their mother did. I believe their mother has been their angel, for both them girls, all these years,” he added.

Ed Schmitt Lives With Ashley Now

After Michelle’s surgery, Ed continued his outdoor work while the former and Ashley moved forward with their education and career. During the early years, Ed struggled with his faith, especially due to Theresa’s death and Michelle’s life-threatening illness. Even when Ashley and Michelle were baptized, he felt uncomfortable around a large congregation. His relationship with God changed when his daughters attended Adventure Christian Church. Together with his daughters, “Ed attended and felt at home in this little church, enjoying the pastor’s sermons as he began to attend Sunday mornings with his daughters. After so many years, he seemed to have found a way to reconnect with his faith,” reads Sharon Stevens’ memoir ‘Ordinary Angels.’

Ed walked Michelle down the aisle in 2015 for her and David Cobble Jr.’s wedding. In May 2021, Ed had to bid adieu to Michelle. She passed away due to a stomach aneurysm. When her doctor informed Ed, David, and Ashley that she didn’t have brain activity and that her organs were shutting down, the family decided to take her off of life support. “Your death has left me heartbroken. […] Honey, I am so proud of you and I will miss you desperately until we meet again. To others, you were the Snowbaby; to me, you were just MY BABY,” Ed wrote in a letter that was read at Michelle’s funeral.

Ed never remarried after Theresa’s death. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with Ashley, who bought her and her father a new home. Ed is engaged with his lawn care business. Even though he distanced himself from his faith for a while, Ed eventually started to attend a new church with his daughter. He remains in touch with Sharon, and they attended the ‘Ordinary Angels’ premiere together. Although he had to recollect the deaths of his beloved wife and daughter in front of the media, the attention Sharon’s book and its film adaptation received made him understand the depth of Michelle’s inspiring life story and its significance.

“She [Michelle] liked this stuff. She liked the limelight,” Ed told WLKY about the film based on his daughter’s life. Ed mainly spends his time with Ashley. She takes him to Rupp Arena to watch the Kentucky Wildcats and they cheer for their favorite basketball team together.

Read More: Ordinary Angels: Where Was the Inspiring Movie Filmed?