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Haven in the Pines

The expansive view overlooking the interior of Haven in the Pines, looking west. There is a swimming pool just beyond the patio doors.


By Joe Gschwendtner; photos courtesy of J. Schmidt

For many in Castle Pines Village, the large gated driveway below the I-25 intersection with Happy Canyon Road is a curiosity. From Country Club Parkway, one sees, well, maybe a mansion. I visited with John Schmidt, the owner, last month to get the whole story.

His family journey is best-seller material. Both parents were displaced persons, having fled Russia and Romania to other war-devastated states after World War II. Maria, John’s mother was born in Minsk; his father John Senior, in Romania, both of German heritage. With no notice and in the night, each abandoned homes and farmsteads their families had owned for generations for a better life.

On separate journeys, both wound up in West Germany, Maria in Dinkelsbuehl and John in Stuttgart. Petitioning for immigrant status, both emigrated to Denver in 1951. But the hardships were not over, as employment opportunities for unskilled labor were neither plentiful nor well-paying.

Having lived miserably under the jackboots of Communism, John blossomed in the Rocky Mountain high. By dint of newfound freedoms, capital availability and personal grit, he taught himself structural steel engineering. From virtually nothing, John Senior flourished beyond anyone’s dreams, in the process also patenting a water purification device. Maria was every bit his complement, raising their four children with old world values and new world optimism.

Exterior View of Haven in the Pines, from private drive, looking northwest.

The hardships and seemingly interminable obstacles faced by his elders were not lost on their second oldest of four children, son, John Junior. Beyond the mere absorption of his epic immigrant history, John succinctly grasped the good fortune of landing in these United States. Were it not for helping, compassionate hands everywhere along the way, their journey might have otherwise ended tragically.

As John became successful in technology financing, he and his wife Angela’s gratitude became the cornerstone of an expansive vision of reciprocity. When the Schmidts viewed the Haven in the Pines property adjacent to Castle Pines Village in 2013, everything came together; John knew spiritually and in an instant that this was “the place.” The facility that evolved is indeed a haven for kindred minds and people with hearts committed to serving others, especially the most vulnerable among us.

Haven in the Pines is an all-events venue of 18,000 square feet, including run of the house with its attractively appointed grounds. It is available free of charge for a day to those whose organizational aims dovetail with the family’s mission – to help those disadvantaged among and around us. Used for fundraisers, celebration of those who minister to others, or day-long retreats with a charitable purpose, the Haven event venue is intended to be a catalyst to action. At a minimum, John hopes events will trigger a new awareness of others less fortunate; at best it will yield a unique, intimate experience leading to new decisions of the heart.

The Schmidts’ kindness does not stop with the venue, however. Food, beverages and entertainment are provided gratis to the hosting organization, allowing 100 percent of the proceeds to go to the charitable organization. Should you be so fortunate to attend an event at Haven in the Pines, consider shaking John’s hand while there. He tends bar discretely, his way of seeing the impact of his gratefulness.

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