George F. Schmidt, founder of Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant, died April 8.

George F. Schmidt, founder of Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant, died April 8.

Schmidt, 91, was known as an astute businessman, tough negotiator and philanthropist.

In July 1967, Schmidt founded the popular Schmidt's restaurant in German Village. The restaurant has received national acclaim and media attention, including The Food Network's Best of Ohio and Travel Channel's Man v. Food.

Schmidt's Restaurant & Sausage Haus began as a meatpacking house in 1886 and in 1914, J. Fred Schmidt's son, George L., opened a stand at the Ohio State Fair that has since become one of its oldest and most popular concessionaires. On his 10th birthday at the 1932 Ohio State Fair, George F. was first serenaded by the Ohio State Fair marching band, a tradition that continued through last year.

He also established the German Village Oktoberfest in 1967 and was the first member to be elected to the Columbus Oktoberfest Hall of Fame in 2011, an award established in his honor that annually recognizes support and dedication given Columbus Oktoberfest.

Schmidt volunteered for several organizations such as the Northwest Kiwanis, Charity Newsies, Columbus Maennechor and March of Dimes. In addition to being part of the Schmidt's family enterprise and his philanthropic activities, George F. was also known as a self-taught watercolor artist.

George F. Schmidt lived in Worthington for the last 17 years. He raised his family in Upper Arlington.

He is survived by his wife of 17 years, Patsy, and six children. As of Monday evening, the Schmidt family was finalizing funeral arrangements.

--Gary Seman