Clarissa Patricia (Payton) Schmidt, 61 of Niwot, CO died on August 14, 2021 at her home surrounded by her loving
family and friends.
Clari was born at Rose Memorial Hospital in Denver, Colorado on November 11, 1959 to Patricia and Ramon Payton.
She grew up in Arvada with her brothers Ray and Mike and was proud to be a Colorado native. She graduated from
Arvada West High School in 1978 and Metropolitan State in Denver with a BA in fine arts in 1988. Clari served in the US
Marine Corps from 1980 to 1984 and was honorably discharged as a Sargent.
She married Michael Schmidt on June 21 1997. Clari loved being a mom to her two sons, Levi and Sam. She was fond
of road trips with her boys, taking the windy, off-the-beaten-track roads. Rather than hurry to a destination, they would
stop along the way at an interesting little museum or historical marker. She was always their biggest supporter,
advocate and confidante. No matter the struggle, she was always there without judgement and with loving arms.
Clari carried her open heart and presence into her working life. When her son Sam was young, she created Sun
Garden Preschool which she ran for fifteen years from home. She loved her preschoolers and their families and said,
“Sun Garden was a great job for me. I could watch children play all day long.” Under her gentle care, dozens of
preschoolers and their families experienced the wonders of nature, the joy of play and the beauty of community. After
she closed her preschool, she taught Handwork at Boulder Valley Waldorf School for four years introducing students to
knitting, crochet, woodwork, machine sewing, and sculpture.
Clari surrounded herself and her loved ones with beauty in all forms. She was a lifelong artist, working in many different
media: ceramics, knitting, felting, quilting and fabric collage. For several years, she sold her work at holiday craft fairs at
local Waldorf schools.
Her garden was a riot of color and texture, flowers and vegetables nestled side by side. She said her garden brought
her hours of solace, nurturing and peace as well as “lots of good, dirty work.” Clari was known to bring beautiful
bouquets of flowers from her garden to brighten any occasion or visit with a friend.
Clari brought art, beauty, and compassion into the lives of those “friends of Bill,” and the communities in which she
danced, meditated, played, walked, gardened, and in which she served as mentor, teacher, friend, wife, mother, sister
and daughter. Her involvement with so many diverse communities was one of service- both giving and receiving with
grace and humility.
Clari is survived by Michael Schmidt, of Longmont, CO; sons Levi Schmidt (Tori Stratford) of Victoria, Australia, Samuel
Schmidt of Fort Collins, CO, grandson Arlo Payton Strattford, mother Patricia Graves, brothers Ray Payton (TJ), Mike
Payton (Rebeca) and many nieces and nephews.
She is predeceased by her beloved step-father Donald Graves.

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