Mary Frame (Rae) Schulz died peacefully on March 21, 2021 after courageously accepting a recent diagnosis of aggressive cancer. Special thanks to the staff at Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital for their kind support of Mary and her family while she was in palliative care. Mary leaves behind her beloved husband of almost 47 years, Karl Schulz; daughters Evelyn Lotfy (Paul) and Christine Bergsma (Roger) and grandchildren, Tarek, Jake and Skyler; siblings Colin Rae (Lorraine), Elizabeth McAteer (Michael) and best-friend Phyllis Pinney (Victor, pre-deceased) and their families; and countless friends who, like her family, were drawn to her kindness, generosity and ‘joie de vivre’. Mary was the youngest of four children born to William and Muriel Rae, pre-deceased, whom she described simply as amazing parents. She was born in Stouffville, delivered by family neighbour Dr. Button, and was blessed with a happy childhood. Her parents raised her with love and taught her about God, who is Love.
A keen and capable student, Mary graduated from high school early and entered Lakeshore Teacher’s College at the age of 16 to complete a two-year teacher training program. As part of her training, Mary practice-taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Alliston. Her first teaching job was at Elmlea Public School in Etobicoke, where she taught for nine years and benefited from the mentorship of board kindergarten specialist Helen Gaston. It was in Etobicoke that Mary met her dear friend Bonnie Elliot, who excitedly celebrated the beginnings of Mary’s relationship with Karl. For their first date, Karl took Mary to Palais Royale, a famous Toronto bandstand on the Lakeshore, where he introduced her to jazz. They married in 1974 at Stouffville Baptist Church and their reception was held in the garden at the home where Mary was raised. Through marriage, Mary gained an instant family with Karl’s two daughters, Evelyn and Christine, and beautiful relationships developed as they grew into womanhood. She appreciated the calm spirituality of her daughters developed through practices like yoga and reiki. While teaching in Etobicoke Mary started taking education courses part-time so that, once she registered at Wilfrid Laurier University, she needed only a handful of courses to obtain her B.A. with a major in psychology.
After the family moved to the Orillia area, initially to a home on Bass Lake and ultimately into their dream farm on Telford Line, Mary worked initially at Marchmont as a supply teacher, then as full-time kindergarten teacher at Mount Slaven and Warminster Public Schools consecutively. She was privileged to work with wonderful staff at all the schools where she taught, and she brightened the lives of many kindergarteners who had the privilege of being her students. Once Mary and Karl were mortgage-free, they started to travel, always to visit Karl’s mother in Germany and then to adjoining European countries such as Poland, Austria, Switzerland and France.
Because Mary started teaching at such a young age, she was able to retire at a young age, and she found numerous interests during retirement that enhanced her joy. Mary and Karl’s travel adventures continued, and snorkeling was often part of the itinerary. When her niece and nephew, Jennifer Pinney-Rodger and Stephen Pinney, moved to Orillia with their families, Mary frequently helped look after their children, Weston, Jonas, Tristram and Eliza, using her years of experience as a kindergarten teacher to provide her great-nephews and great-niece the utmost care and fun and learning. A favourite retirement activity was being a School Belle, an involvement Mary continued for 17 years. Mary proclaimed their Monday music-making was the best way to start each week, and beautiful friendships developed. Mary also enjoyed great friendships through the Retired Women Teachers of Ontario and the Retired Teachers of Ontario groups. In more recent years, Mary also joined the Seniors Club at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, a fun weekly event out of which developed more amazing friendships and the walking group that came to be known as the Whacky Women Walkers & Friends. This latter group frequently enjoyed teas in Mary’s beautiful, colourful garden, a garden that reflected the beautiful, bright personality of its gardener.
When Mary was given her cancer diagnosis less than a month before her death, she reflected deeply on the faith roots of her childhood and became profoundly thankful for her Christian upbringing that enabled her to have peace and love in her heart, a supernatural peace and love, as she faced death. She knew with assurance in her final weeks of life on earth that God was waiting to welcome her to heaven and that she would be reunited with her parents in her eternal home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Mariposa House Hospice or the Canadian Cancer Society would be gratefully appreciated. Messages of condolence are welcomed at www.mundellfuneralhome.com
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Canadian Cancer Society
Mariposa House Hospice
1140 Brodie Drive, Severn ON L3V 0V2