Mary Rosalie Schmidt 1918 - 2014

Mary Schmidt           Mary Schmidt-2

A Eulogy delivered by eldest child and daughter Deborah Malone

Mary Rosalie O’Sullivan-Sampson Schmidt’s journey began in Brookline, Massachusetts, in the spring of 1918. Mary was born to Mary Jane and Abraham Sampson. Her brother Joseph was 10 years old at her birth. Far too few years later, Mary’s adored big brother drowned in a river in China and her father had deserted them. Thus began the formulation of the fiercely protective, loyal woman that she was to be.

Mary remained in Boston, attending St. Aidan’s School and Regis College until one evening when she met the handsome Lt. Schmidt at a Red Cross Dance at Harvard. It was love at first sight and she and Ray were married 8 months later. Their journey took them to Texas, his home, but her first journey away from her home and her beloved mother. It might as well have been a foreign land for Mary. She spoke another language, strict Bostonian, and customs were very different. Their first child, Deborah, was born there in a quonset hut on the University of Texas grounds. Within the next nine years the teacher and her lieutenant journeyed from Austin, Texas, to Schenectady, New York, to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to finally San Jose. Their family had grown to four with the addition of three sons. San Jose was to remain Mary’s home for the next 57 years.

Even though she was my closest friend and confidant, it is impossible for me to provide a summation of the spirit of Mary in words. I might attempt to with words such a grace, compassion, intelligence, generosity and integrity, but I also might best be able to explain Mom by expressing what she, the consummate teacher, taught us.

She taught us about FAITH. By example she taught that it was merely not enough to call ourselves “Catholic” and to attend Mass, but we were compelled to also be generous and kind in spirit, to assume the best of everyone, and to treat all with dignity, to the best of our abilities.

She taught us about CHARACTER, about moral fiber, about integrity; that character was often found in quiet acts of personal giving and kindness, that it did not “happen” and that it had to be built; that character mattered even if no one but ourselves knew, that those with character would always live a good life. Respect for ourselves and one another is paramount.

She taught us about FAMILY, that nothing mattered more and that family deserved our very best, whether that be in how the table was set or in the amount of patience and support we provided one another. She taught us that God’s greatest blessing was one another and that nothing ever would give her more pleasure than having her family surround her, having her family love, and if necessary, forgive one another. Family was to be protected above all else.

She taught us about INTELLIGENCE, that it too was a gift that carried responsibility, that it needed to be maintained through constant challenge and growth. Read. Learn. Question. Study. Use that intelligence to be a good citizen. Until her dying day, by example, Mom cared about world and local events, about ideas, and new concepts.

She taught us about HONOR…and this is where I speak for Mom, from Mom. She wanted certain people in her life honored, although there are far too many to mention all who she loved.

Mom has a special friend of 25 years, Pat Daoud, who Mom loved dearly. She wanted Pat to know that her friendship was one of her greatest blessings and joys.

She wanted her son, John, to know that she loved him dearly and from the bottom of her heart, recognized all the endless hours he gave in managing her finances and maintaining her home with love.

She wanted her beautiful granddaughter, Erin, to know that she knew that no one loved her like Erin did. Mom knew that Erin threw away her own personal calendar, her personal goals months ago and became an extension of her Gran…

And finally…“Bright Eyes”, her granddaughter Lauren, who once told her Auntie that she had now been taught unconditional love, when in actuality, it was Lauren and her daily support and care of her Gran, who taught her Auntie unconditional love.

To Mom, everyday acts had meaning and purpose and needed to be done well. For the last two weeks of her life, Mom would ask, “Am I doing it well?” and I would ask, “What Mom?” “Dying, Deborah, dying.” “You did it perfectly, Mom – EVERYTHING”.
These are some of the lessons of our greatest teacher, Mary Rosalie O’Sullivan-Sampson Schmidt. She taught us well. The question becomes, DID WE LISTEN?????


memorial Mary Schmidt

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