Mary A. Schmidt, our sweet, beautiful mother, passed away Thursday, January 28, 2021, at Brookside Retirement Community, Overbrook, Kansas.
Mary was born of Volga German descent in Hays, Kansas, the oldest of five children, to Joe and Sophie Scheutz Gerstner on October 28, 1925. She married her beloved husband, Harold P. Schmidt, in 1949 and together they raised a family of five children in Topeka, Kansas. They were married 63 years.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold; her mother and father; two brothers, Dennis and Leroy Gerstner; and her dear daughter-in-law, Joy Schmidt.
Mary is survived by her five children, Debbie (Jim Wasko), Paul (Joy Schmidt, deceased), Bruce (Brenda), Jason and Rodney; as well as seven grandchildren, Nathaniel (Nicole), Simon, Philip, Madalyn (Jayant Chandhary) and Joseph, Anna (companion, Jared Petefish) and Sara (Jake Machnov).
Other survivors include her sister, Lillian Rohr and brother, Jim Gerstner. She was well loved and will also be missed by many nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors and former colleagues.
Mom began her long work career devoted to helping children stricken with the polio virus. Her stories conveyed to us the love she poured into helping these children walk again. She worked relentlessly using the world famous, Sister Kenny treatments, involving long massages and warm baths.
Mom was smart and creative. She devised her own method of shorthand to land a good job at the Walker Army Airbase, 58th Bombing Wing, as a clerk, ordering parts for the B-29 through the Pentagon. He sales ability was outstanding. She was the often sought after clothing and bridal consultant for JC Penney for many years.
Mom always found time for her husband, five children, seven grandchildren and activities involving church, school or volunteering. She stayed active in the news and loved politics and read voraciously. Her love for veterans lead her to a volunteer librarian position at the VA Hospital. She loved the arts, attending many theatrical productions, ballets and musicals. Mom was fun, rarely turning down a trip to the casino with Joy. She traveled extensively with family and was a skilled seamstress and painter. Her smile
was big and her blue eyes sparkled. She was strong but soft in heart.
Most of all Mom loved her family. She instilled in each of us strong values, good education and our faith. She was an excellent cook and a master of Volga German cooking, always stressing the importance of our Saturday night meals together.
Mom loved her church, Most Pure Heart of Mary, where she and our father were original founding members. Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday, February 9, at 10 a.m. at the Church. Prior to that, visitation will be from 9 to 9:30 followed by praying the rosary at 9:30, all at the Church.
Burial will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery.
We thank our brother, Jason, for taking care of Mom so lovingly so she could remain in her home. We thank Paul for his constant show of love, visiting Mom daily and bringing Holy Communion to her at Brookside.
Our family deeply appreciates the love, friendship and beautiful care she embraced at Brookside. We are deeply grateful to Brookside Hospice who cared for Mom with such compassion to the end. Mom had deep spiritual faith; we rejoice knowing she had no fear but the greatest anticipation of God's beautiful promise. We celebrate this and it gives us great peace.
Memorial contributions may be made to Brookside Retirement Community (the Joy Fund) or to Most Pure Heart of Mary Church and sent in care of Kevin Brennan Family Funeral Home, 2801 SW Urish Road, Topeka KS 66614.
Condolences may be sent online to www.kevinbrennanfamily.com.
Published on February 03, 2021