GROVELAND - Mary E. Draeger Schultz, M.D., 52, of Groveland died at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, after a brave and valiant four-year battle with colon cancer.
She passed away at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, surrounded by her family.
Born Oct. 17, 1961, in Madison, Wis., to Donald S. and Kathryn A. (Kurth) Draeger, she married Donald G. Schultz Jr. on May 25, 1991, in Morton. He survives.
Also surviving are three children: daughters, Elizabeth and Emily, and son, Ethan Schultz, all of Groveland; five brothers, Rich (Stephanie) Draeger of Peoria, Keith (Debbi) Draeger of Morton, Paul Draeger of New Lisbon, Wis., Kurt (Lori) Draeger of Morton and Jeff (Amanda) Draeger of Washington; and one sister, Johanna (Jeff) Lawless of New Berlin, Wis. She also is survived by nine nieces and nephews. She was honored to be the godmother of Stephen Draeger, Adam Jaeger, Eamon Lynch and Ryan Draeger.
She was preceded in death by her father, Donald in 2002; her mother, Kathryn in 2008; and twin brothers, John and Lawrence Draeger in 1962.
She was a graduate of Morton High School and Bradley University in Peoria. She then earned her doctorate from the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Maywood, Ill. She completed her pediatric residency at Stritch School of Medicine. An educator at heart, in 2013, she earned her master's degree in Patient Safety Leadership at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Mary began her medical career in private practice at Morton Pediatrics and then spent 23 years at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and the Children's Hospital of Illinois. She held various positions over those 23 years, including as clinical director of the Sisters Clinic. Most recently, she was the Patient Safety Officer at the Children's Hospital of Illinois, attending physician and the Medical Director of the newborn hospitalists services and a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
Mary's work and dedication were noticed and recognized by her peers and the community. Her recognition included two Pediatrician of the Year nominations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1996 and 1997 and a six-time recipient of the Pediatric Faculty Teaching Award. She also was recognized with the Bill Houlihan Professional Advocacy Award in 2012 from the Children's Hospital of Illinois, the 2014 OSF Saint Francis Medical Center "Leader of the Year" Award and the 2014 Business & Professional Woman of the Year Award from the Women's Fund of Central Illinois.
She was an active member of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Morton and formerly served on the Education Commission for Blessed Sacrament School. She also was a member of the Parents Board of Directors at Bradley University and an avid fan of Bradley basketball. Mary was gifted with a beautiful singing voice and loved sharing it with others. She also enjoyed scrapbooking and her special girls' weekends in Wisconsin and elsewhere. A lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, she enjoyed attending the Packers' Super Bowl win in Dallas in January of 2011.
She dearly loved and cherished her husband, Don, and their children, and was often referred to as "Mama Schultz" by teammates of her kids. She enjoyed following their athletic careers and spent time as the official scorekeeper for the Morton Potters girls' basketball team for several years. She loved attending Ethan's basketball games at Blessed Sacrament and both her daughters, Elizabeth and Emily, as they played basketball at Morton High School. She was equally proud of their academic achievements at school.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. today, Aug. 27, 2014, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Morton, where a recitation of the rosary will be at 3:30 p.m. Further visitation will be from 9 to 9:45 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, followed by a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, with Monsignor Gerald Ward and Father Kyle Lucas officiating. Burial will be at Hillcrest Memory Gardens in Morton.
Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Morton is handling arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria.
To view Mary's video tribute or to leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.knappjohnson.com.