(June 28, 1927 – June 21, 2011)
Patricia M. Schimmelman, 83, of Midland, died Tuesday morning, June 21, 2011 at home surrounded by her loving children. She was born June 28, 1927 to Homer and Millie (Shurter) Mathews in Thompsonville, Michigan. As a teenager, she move to Midland with her family, and graduated from Midland High School in 1945. Pat accomplished her goal of graduating from college, too, receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from Central Michigan University while in her fifties, after raising three children. Her children, step children, and grandchildren can all attest to the importance Pat placed upon education; something each and every one of us is grateful for. Pat led a full and interesting life, having lived both in Johannesburg, South Africa and Zurich, Switzerland during the 1960’s. Pat always considered Midland to be home, though. It is here that she cultivated many wonderful lifelong friendships, as well as being very active in her community and church. After returning from Switzerland with her three children in the late 1960’s, she met a wonderful man who was to become her husband, the late Carl H. Schimmelman. Pat and Carl married in 1971, bringing together a union that included her three children from her previous marriage, as well as Carl’s five children from his previous marriage. Needless to say, holiday and family gatherings were anything but dull. Bringing together family and friends was one of Pat’s greatest joys, and gave all of us the chance to marvel at and enjoy her wonderful cooking and baking skills. When Pat returned from Switzerland, she was faced with the daunting challenge of raising three young children alone. Pat, never one to give up or complain, rose to that challenge, becoming an Administrative Assistant to some of The Dow Chemical Company’s top Legal Department attorneys at the time. Her strong work ethic, even while raising three young children, was and always will be admired by those who worked with her and knew her. It was while at Dow that she met her second husband, Carl Schimmelman, who predeceased her unexpectedly on March 31, 1979. Pat has always made sure that our family remained together and close. It is her wonderful sense of “family” and her never ending love for all that has kept us strong and together to this day. Even up until a couple of weeks before she passed away, Pat demonstrated her great cooking skills at family Sunday dinners. When she was in better health, Pat also enjoyed numerous hobbies. She was an excellent seamstress, even owning a fabric shop at one time. Pat enjoyed various crafts, as well, making many of the decorations that adorn her home during the holidays. Quilting was another hobby she greatly enjoyed, and was something she had enjoyed with her quilting circle, stopping only after her rheumatoid arthritis kept her hands from doing so. Her love of nature is evidenced by the numerous bird feeders placed throughout her yard, as well as all the beautiful flowers she grew over the years, and that continue to flourish to this day. Along with numerous hobbies, Pat enjoyed traveling with family and friends. In addition to having lived in two very exciting overseas locales, Pat had the opportunity to visit many wonderful countries throughout Europe and Africa. Upon returning to the United States, Pat traveled extensively across our country. Although all her adventures had interesting moments and highlights, one of her favorite vacation memories was when she and her three children, Tom, Martha and Andrea spent nearly a month touring the Western U.S. by car, visiting nature’s wonders from Glacier/Waterton Peace Park in Montana and Alberta, to Arizona’s Grand Canyon in the south. Many, many fond memories of that trip exist today, and is something that will always be remembered. Despite beating cancer twice during the late 1970’s and being diagnosed with crippling rheumatoid arthritis over twenty years ago, Pat never complained about her lot in life. She visited Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, several times as well as the University of Michigan Hospital for surgeries related to her rheumatoid arthritis. Although Pat suffered through incredible pain from arthritis, she never once sought pity from others. Grace and selfless dignity in the face of incomprehensible pain and health problems was how she lived. Never one to create drama, the elegant, yet down-to-earth demeanor she exhibited through her entire live was and still is something that friends and family have always admired. Five years ago, Pat suffered a heart attack, requiring extensive bypass surgery. Follow-up visits to her doctors showed that Pat had cancer, which had metastasized to the bone. That wasn’t enough to stop a woman whose, strength and determination through many of life’s trials and challenges, kept her moving forward when many would have simply given up. She was a woman who simply did not know the meaning of “quitting”. And, one of the greatest things that she will be remembered for is the unselfish generosity and kindness she showed others, even when the chips were down and her physical health was diminished. She truly demonstrated to all of us the intangible reward of giving of one’s self, and placing the welfare of others before her. Respect for humanity, and an appreciation for people of all cultures and backgrounds, are values that she instilled in her kids and grandkids, and will continue as an important part of her legacy. Surviving are her son, Tom Myers of Midland; daughters, Martha Myers and Andrea (Michael) Jarema of Midland; grandchildren Jessica, Jennifer and Matthew Jarema, all of Midland; stepsons, Mark (Nancy) of Emeryville, CA, John (Lucie Routhier) of Madison, WI, Steve (Mary) of Seattle, WA; stepdaughters, Kay (Wayne) Robart of Austin, TX, and Susan Defazio of Yacolt, WA, as well as many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, too. In addition to her late husband Carl Schimmelman, Pat was predeceased by her parents Homer and Millie Mathews, brothers, Don and Ben Mathews, and sisters Thelma Wallaker and Maxine Beden. A Funeral Service will take place at 11:00 am on Friday, June 24, 2011 from the First United Methodist Church in Midland, with the Reverend Pamela Buchholz officiating. Burial will take place at the Midland City Cemetery immediately after the service, followed by a luncheon back at the church. Patricia’s family will receive friends at the Smith-Miner Funeral Home, 2700 W. Wackerly, Midland on Thursday, June 23 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and at the church on Friday, from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the First United Methodist Church of Midland, the Arthritis Foundation, the American Heart Association, of the donor’s favorite charity. Online condolences can be given at smithminer.com.