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Mary Ellen Schmit

Loving wife and mother, ballroom dancer

Mary Ellen Schmit, a longtime Claremont resident, died at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center on February 8, 2017. She was 81.

She was born Mary Rogers on May 27, 1935 in Paget, Bermuda, the youngest daughter of Marshall Rogers and Elsie Mae (Cassidy) Rogers. She lived her childhood in Bermuda until she married Kenneth Schmit in 1955. Shortly thereafter, the couple moved to Orange, California to begin their family.

The Schmit family lived in several southern California cities, including San Diego, Highland and Mission Viejo. For a period of time, the Schmits lived in Basking Ridge, New Jersey before settling in Claremont in 1977. 

Mrs. Schmit spent many years as a stay-at-home mother before embarking on a career that included working as a licensed realtor, a mental health support staff member and as academic coordinator in the psychology department at Pomona College. Throughout her active life, Mrs. Schmit was involved in volunteer work at church, schools and hospitals, including Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. 

Mary enjoyed travelling, socializing, knitting, ballroom dancing and swimming. In her earlier life, she taught ballroom dancing at the Arthur Murray Studios. She also taught swimming and later developed a swimming program at the American Red Cross in San Diego. 

Among Mary’s greatest loves was hosting gatherings and cooking for her family and friends. She and her husband were well known for their generosity, and they loved having fun get-togethers with friends, neighbors and co-workers. Mrs. Schmit was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth George, in 2005 and her son, Barry Marshall, in 2013. 

She is survived by her daughters, Dana Wood and her husband Steve of Rancho Cucamonga, Brenda Schmit of Claremont, Karen Garay and her husband William of Rancho Cucamonga and Cynthia Schmit of Redondo Beach as well as a son, Glenn Schmit and his wife Melissa of Adairsville, Georgia.

Mrs. Schmit is also survived by her grandchildren Shawn Wood, Aaron Wood, Ryan Wood, William Garay Jr., Jennifer (Wood) Bennett, Julie (Wood) Bahmani, Stephanie Garay, Aubrey Garay, Elizabeth (Schmit) Kelsoe and Matthew Schmit, and by her great-grandchildren Sarina Wood, Roman Wood, Peighton Hedy, Bailey Bennett, Bahaar Bahmani, Tahla Bahmani, Delilah Bennett and Olivia Kelsoe.

A funeral mass for Mary Ellen was held on Thursday, February 16 at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Claremont. Mrs. Schmit was intered at Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont.

Memorial donations may be made in her honor to Community Senior Services/Enrichment Center, 141 S. Spring St., Claremont, CA 91711.