Monday, January 3, 2022 11:11 pm
Elaine Marie Schmitz (nee Donlan) was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to a large wonderful family that she greatly loved and adored.
Elaine, also known as The Boss amongst her four boys, was born on Jan. 25, 1938 in Decorah, Iowa, to Francis and Nellie Donlan.
After a humble beginning on the family farm in Bluffton, Iowa, Elaine began her amazing adventurous life by attending St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Rochester, Minn. While working as a nurse at the Mayo Clinic, she received a telephone call from New Delhi, India from her future husband Ken (who also came to know her as The Boss) who floated the idea of getting married. With great enthusiasm and a little small town wariness, Elaine and Ken married in 1965 in Cresco, Iowa. It was a wondrous affair capped off by the bride and groom riding in a manure spreader (I guess it’s a farm thing). Over the next 20 years Ken and Elaine travelled the world. They started in Manassas, Virginia, went to Tehran, Iran, moved to Fort Ord, California and then to Athens, Greece and finally landing in Maryland. During these adventures Elaine raised four boys: Joseph, Robert, Michael, and David (I shudder to write out the full names because when The Boss called for Joseph John or Robert John or Michael John or David John, everybody knew to run for cover).
During her entire life, Elaine’s foundation was her Catholic faith and her family. Everyone who came to her house quickly learned that if you wanted some of Grandma’s cookies or a snack all you needed to do was open the dishwasher. That’s where the secret stash was kept. She was always ready to greet anyone with a cup of coffee and some cookies. The neighborhood pets even knew they could stop by her garage for a treat as she kept a wide variety of treats for them, despite the fact that she didn’t even have a dog of her own. That was just her caring nature. She loved to share with friends and family her stories of her time on the farm and of her travels around the world. And at family gatherings, you might find Elaine on the piano, accompanied by her cousin, Caryl Finnerty, on the accordion, leading a sing-a-long. All of these things meant the world to Elaine and she treasured every family moment.
Elaine adored all of her daughters-in-law; Erin Schmitz, Antoinette Schmitz, and Anastasia Schmitz, as well as her eight grandchildren: Rose, Ben, Kyle, Colin, Jessica, Tyler, Kailyn, Ryan; and two great grandchildren: Maggie and Annie.
She attended all the dance recitals, concerts, school plays, rugby games and anything else the grandkids were involved with. As the grandkids became older and went on to college, she looked forward to those times when the whole family got together for “burgers and beers” or even a crab cake. It brought her great joy that her family was so close and that they regularly got together for meals. Her greatest happiness in life was being surrounded by her family and friends and being a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. Although she may not be physically with us anymore, her spirit, her zeal for life, and her compassion will live on in all of us that were blessed enough to have known her.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Vincent de Paul, 110 Olde Greenwich Drive, Fredericksburg VA 22408
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