Mary L. Schaefer, nee Neff, 103, formerly of Patterson, Conn., and the Grand Court in Belleville, Ill., went to be with her Lord and Savior on Dec. 20, 2015, at St. Vincent's Nursing Home in Quincy, Ill., where she had resided for the last four years so she could be near her son and daughter-in-law, Roger and Karen Schaefer.
Mary was born Aug. 2, 1912, near Paderborn, Ill., south of Belleville, Ill. She graduated from Belleville Township High School in 1929 and then attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., to obtain her teaching certificate. She taught school in a one-room school house in rural St. Clair County and then taught at Cathedral Grade School in Belleville, Ill. She also worked for many years as a clerk at Keil's Hardware in downtown Belleville.
Mary had been a lifelong member of Cathedral Parish in Belleville, Ill., and an active member of the Cathedral Mothers' Club and Perpetual Help Society prior to moving to Quincy, Ill. She was also a member of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union.
She mastered the arts of tatting and crocheting and spent many hours making items for others. She loved to play bingo and was always very lucky at it. She was always a teacher with her children and grandchildren, always stressing the importance of reading and higher education.
During her years at St. Vincent's, she was loved and respected by residents and staff. Many called her "grandma" and looked after her. Again, she was always a teacher, asking the younger staff what their goals were and encouraging them to further their education.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband of 17 years, William "Bill" Schaefer, whom she married on May 30, 1940, at St. Peter's Cathedral Catholic Church, Belleville, Ill., and who died on Dec. 18, 1957; her son, James Schaefer; her parents, Joseph and Lavina, nee Buehler, Neff; her sister, Eleanor Munier; and a brother, Clarence Neff.
Surviving are her son, Roger (Karen) Schaefer of Quincy, Ill.; her daughter, Mary (Skip) Eaton of Sarasota, Fla.; a daughter-in-law, Rosemary Schaefer; eight grandchildren, Barb (Bill) Mossinghoff of San Diego, Calif., Jim (Amy) Schaefer of Norfolk, Va., Steven (Laura) Schaefer of Warrenton, Mo., Christine Hedges of St. Peters, Mo., Michael (Erin) Schaefer of Quincy, Ill., Matthew (Melissa) Schaefer of Colona, Ill., Mark (Bridget) Butler of Florida, and Scott (Heather) Butler of Florida; 16 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; a sister-in-law, Arlene (Paul) Schaefer of Smithton, Ill.; a brother-in-law, Clem Wittenauer of Red Bud, Ill.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to St. Vincent's Nursing Home Activity Fund, 1440 North 10th Street, Quincy, Ill., 62301, or to Notre Dame Academy (formerly Cathedral Grade School), Belleville, Ill. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may visit with the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, and from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, Ill.
Funeral: Funeral procession will leave at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, from George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, Ill., for an 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Peter's Cathedral Catholic Church, Belleville, Ill., with Msgr. John Myler and Father Eugene Neff concelebrating. Burial will be at Green Mount Catholic Cemetery, Belleville, Ill.
GEORGE RENNER & SONS FUNERAL HOME, Belleville, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on Dec. 27, 2015