Boca’s Dick Schmidt finds muse, writes first book

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BOCA RATON, FL – Dick Schmidt, a Boca Raton businessman, sports enthusiast, pilot and philanthropist, has discovered his literary muse. At age 72, he has published his first book, “The Boy and the Dolphin,” a novel about an orphaned 13-year-old who befriends a dolphin and finds a companion in the finny aquatic creature.
Florida Atlantic University President Dr. John Kelly and wife, Carolyn, recently hosted a book release reception and signing at the Baldwin House, the official home of FAU’s chief executive. The Schmidt family has donated vast amounts of money to the local university. Two of FAU’s colleges, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, are named for Dick’s parents.
The Schmidt Family Foundation just donated $16 million to promote academic and athletic programs at the university.
All proceeds from the sale of the book will be given to the Kelly Family Scholarship Fund created by John and Carolyn Kelly.
“Most of us have said, ‘I have a book inside me,’” Dick Schmidt told the crowd before reading several passages. “Doing it is a daunting task, which is why we don’t get started.”
He said he’s had the idea for a novel about a boy and a dolphin for some 10 years. He finally wrote a chapter and sent it along to friend and presidential biographer, Doris Kearns Goodwin. “She contacted me and said, ‘You have to write this book.’ That was all I needed to hear,” said the newly minted author.
Schmidt said the book took about three months to write. Goodwin gave it a second read and promptly offered this assessment: “Fascinating, heartwarming and absorbing from beginning to end.”
Because he wanted to get the book to market expeditiously, he chose to self-publish it.
As he told the audience at Baldwin House, Schmidt’s book begins in 1956 after a boy named Toby loses his parents in a plane crash. He goes to live with his grandparents at their inn on an outer island in the Bahamas. “He spends a lot of time in the water, and, one day, he hears a commotion coming from the lagoon.”
“Toby develops a deep and lasting friendship with an unlikely companion: A bottlenose dolphin.”
Dick Schmidt is not the only author in the family. His wife, Barb, penned the international best seller, “The Practice.” In 2011, she founded the non-profit organization, Peaceful Mind, Peaceful Life, and currently offers classes and workshops through FAU as part of the university’s Peace Studies Program’s community outreach. Her book is a companion volume to her teachings.
The new author said he “drew heavily” from his own underwater experiences, including a run-in with JoJo, a famous dolphin known to inhabit the waters of the Turks and Caicos. “He came up from behind me, started screeching and scared the hell out of me.”
President Kelly praised Dick and Barb Schmidt as “stellar members of the community.” Based on incentives from their recent donation, he said, coaches at FAU have been able to raise the grade point average of all sports teams.
Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of “The Boy and the Dolphin” can go on the link, http://fau.edu/dickschmidt.