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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Margaret Schmitt was a blessing in the lives of everyone she met. Guided by her unwavering faith, it was her greatest desire to selflessly give to those around her. Margaret was a loving wife and mother who effortlessly kept her household running while also tending to the needs of her husband and children first and foremost. Although she loved being a wife and mother, she just might have argued that being a grandmother was her richest reward. Life will never be the same without Margaret here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
It was great to be an American during the decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Jazz music was hot while ballroom dancing was among the latest crazes, and with the mass production of cars on assembly lines they were more affordable for the average American. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1924 when Chauncey and Helen (Wood) McMichael were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Margaret Mary on June 9, 1924, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born prematurely, she only weighed a couple of pounds when she was born so a shoebox became her bed. There was one time that Margaret’s parents left her on the running board of the car in her shoebox and started driving down the driveway. Luckily, it wasn't long before they remembered, and they rescued her! The older of two girls, she was very close to her sister, Mary Jean, who was just a couple of years younger.
Raised in the family home alongside her sister, Margaret grew up in the family home on Kalamazoo Avenue. There is now a hot dog stand standing in place of her childhood home. Because her mother worked many hours, Margaret was primarily raised by her grandmother. She attended elementary and graduated from St. Augustine Catholic Schools. She then worked at a credit union for a time.
New and exciting changes were in store for Margaret when she met the man of her dreams. His name was Donald Schmitt, and they soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Margaret and Don were married on June 28, 1947, at St. Augustine Catholic Church. After a honeymoon at Niagara Falls, the couple returned home and settled into married life. Margaret worked as a young newlywed, but once children began arriving she left the workforce to focus on raising their seven children,Don, Jean, Michaelene “Mickey,” Jim, Tim, David, and Margaret.
From the time she became a mother Margaret took her role to heart. She wasn't strict with her children, and she didn’t need to be as she knew how to communicate with them, which made them want to respect and honor her. Margaret also took plenty of time to goof around with her kids. She was resourceful and so smart when it came to keeping her house clean as she had the boys stand on wax paper and scuff around the kitchen to wax the floor. When her children were younger they made frequent trips to the fabric store as she was an amazing seamstress. Margaret was always looking for patterns of the latest trends, and while the clothes were primarily made for Jean, Mickey received them as hand me downs. The girls also patiently waited in all the stores while Margaret was finding the best deals to dress her children on a budget. She regularly made chicken and mashed potatoes, and Sundays found her in the kitchen all day she started with fresh donuts in the morning, made a big Sunday meal, and then had popcorn during The Wonderful World of Disney at night. In everything she did, Margaret was attentive to the special needs of her children. She always went over and above on the holidays as she established and maintained such special traditions including coffee cake and chocolate eggs at Christmas as well as homemade Kahlua, fudge, and divinity. Margaret was also involved with the school lunch programs while her children were at St. Mary’s.
In addition to caring for her family, Margaret kept busy in other ways. She started working in security for Meijer after her children were grown, and she remained there for 10 years. Margaret was on a bowling league that even did some traveling at times. She was very gifted in ceramics, even teaching classes in her basement for a time. Margaret also made her children various ceramics for Christmas including things like nativity sets, Santa Clauses, and porcelain dolls. She was also amazing with silk flowers and did some for weddings and also made wedding cakes. Margaret loved to dance, and she was able to country line dance, dance the polka, and more. She loved Shirley Temple and had every one of her movies, and watching her soap operas in the afternoon was her break from housework. In her church Margaret was active with Loaves and Fishes, and she was also part of a ladies group that put on numerous fundraisers. The groups also arranged luncheons for the kids.
Margaret was thrilled to become a grandmother, and she spent a lot of time with her grandchildren. She was so attentive toward them, and one of the things they loved most were the special lunches she made them. Margaret never missed any of their sports and activities. In fact, Tracy’s entire softball team called her “GG” because she never missed a game! Watching so many of their games made a sports fan out of Margaret as she later enjoyed watching football and baseball on television. Margaret knitted and crocheted, and she made sure that everyone had hats and scarves. She also made all of her children and grandchildren quilts and showered her grandchildren with ceramics, too. Because she loved to travel, she went all over after the death of her husband including a trip to Hawaii, a cruise, and trips to see her grandchildren in Phoenix, California, and Atlanta. During her later years Margaret was appreciative to be on the receiving end as others tended to her needs. She kept her kids pretty busy by sending them to the store to get her favorites!
Truly beautiful on the inside and out, Margaret Schmitt was a blessing in the lives of everyone she met. She was vivacious and fun-loving with a spirit of generosity that had no equal. Margaret was too healthy to get sick, and there wasn’t much she couldn’t do. The matriarch of her family, Margaret was the most amazing wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother that anyone could ask for. She will be deeply missed by all who were within her reach.
Margaret M. Schmitt died on December 27, 2016. Margaret is survived by her children, Jean (Jim) Shephard, Michaelene “Mickey” (Ed) Frasier, Jim Schmitt, Tim (Cathy) Schmitt, David (Liz) Schmitt, Margaret (Brad) Hatfield; 13 grandchildren; and several great grandchildren. Margaret was preceded in death by her parents, Chauncey and Helen (Wood) McMichael; sister Mary Jean Stephenson; husband, Don Schmitt; and a son Donald M. Schmitt. Visit with friends and family on Friday from 5-7 p.m. at the funeral home. Please visit Margaret’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made for Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.