Jeanette Mae Schmitz

Jeanette Mae Schmitz, 85, passed away peacefully on December 11, 2020, from Alzheimer’s.

Jean was born May 11, 1935 in Marshall, Minnesota to Walter and Evelyn (Schurz) Swenman. She graduated from Marshall High School in 1953 and continued her education for three years at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. She met John Schmitz while at their family cabin on Lake Villard; John and Jean married in September 1956 and lived on a dairy farm near Villard, MN. They had four children-- Michael, Jill, David, and Patrick.

Moving from Marshall, where her father owned a paint store, to the farm was an adjustment Jean made with love and determination. Creating a warm, inviting home was very important, like having placemats at each meal. She was hard working, methodical and punctual. Without complaint as she raised her family, cleaned, and cooked. Preparing and delivering meals twice a day to several fields consumed her summer.

When John and Jean separated in 1976 Jean immediately enrolled at the University of Minnesota, Morris to attain her teaching degree. Jill, a freshman at the same college, was not thrilled about her mom leaving notes on her dorm room white board. Jean was blessed to work as a second grade teacher in Villard. She deeply loved her students and many nights could be found in her classroom preparing a bulletin board. Her students loved her in return. She received a thank you card, twenty years later, telling Jean she was the one person she knew truly cared about her.

In 1985 she took a sabbatical to teach in St. Petersburg, FL and remained there until she retired in 2005, at age 70. Her last position was teaching reading at a school for severely emotionally disabled (SED) children. Jean moved to Alexandria in 2010 due to memory issues.

Jean will always be remembered for her quick smile, boundless energy, kindness, forgiving heart, positive outlook and deep faith. She remained steadfast in her faith in spite of tragically losing two of her sons, Mike and Patrick. She often compared herself to Job in the Bible.

She loved dancing, swimming, the sunny, warm Florida weather, walking on the beach, and visiting with family and friends. Jean’s love of life remained strong even though she couldn’t talk, walk or recognize her loved ones-- you could always count on her smile and laugh.

Jean’s last breath was taken at Diamond Willow Assisted Living with her children by her side, Jill (Gary) Blashack Strahan of Alexandria and David Schmitz of Alexandria. She leaves behind six grandchildren, Christopher Schmitz, Cory Schmitz, Zachary Blashack, Travin Schmitz, Valerie Schmitz, and Anthony Frederick; four great grandchildren, Tristan Schmitz, Phoenix Schmitz, Peyton Schmitz, and Jeremiah Frederick; brother, Walter Swenman of Seal Beach, FL; and a niece Lisa Hubbard. She was preceded in death by her parents, sons, Michael and John Patrick, and son-in-law, Steven Blashack.

A celebration of Jean’s life will be held later in 2021. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Villard Methodist Church. Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory.

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