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Mass of Christian Burial

Monday, March 22, 2021

1:00 PM

St. Francis Catholic Church

404 N. Ninth Street, Brainerd

Livestreamed via

Celebration of Life

Saturday, September 18, 2021

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

North Dale Recreation Area

1414 St. Albans Street, St. Paul​

Mary M. Schmidt

March 10, 1931 - March 30, 2020

Mary Schmidt, Super-Mom, Super-Nana, Super-Great-Nana, and second grade teacher extraordinaire has retired her cape and moved on. She demonstrated for us a life well-lived, in all its beautiful, difficult, happy, sad, joyous, messy glory. She did it with style, grace, and with an extraordinary, enduring optimism.


Margaret Mary Ryan was born and raised in Brainerd, Minnesota to Donald and Eileen Arneson Ryan on March 10, 1931.  She and Donald Schmidt, her husband of 60 years, started their married lives together in 1951 pursuing Don’s naval career. When Don came back from Korea, they settled in the Twin Cities, finally landing in Como Park, where she was Super-Mom to her own seven children, neighbor kids, wayward teenagers, and other critters dragged in. 


In 1970, Mary returned to her teaching career at St. Andrews and Maternity of Mary Schools where she was an institution. She touched more than 600 young lives over almost 30 years. She cared about the kids, all their families, the love of learning, and was the inspiration for hundreds of other lives well-lived.


A lifelong reader, bird watcher, devout Catholic, and a superb cook, she devoured all books and loved action movies. Mary was a night owl who never refused a slice of lemon meringue pie. Doughnuts made her giddy.  Her quest for thrilling rides is the stuff of family legends. Her earring collection, a passionate love story. Mary's haute couture was a beaming smile and a sunny disposition. She found solace in the north woods in the cabin overlooking Bass Lake. Mary was a consummate Minnesotan - where she was born, where she loved, and where she made the world a kinder place.


Mary is reunited with Don, her parents, and her brothers Michael and Thomas. She proudly leaves behind all seven children, Donald Mark, Mary Eileen (Molly), Terence John, Timothy Paul, Richard William, Ellen Jane, Zeila Katherine, fifteen grandchildren, and umpteen great grandchildren. 


A memorial Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, March 22, 2021 at 1:00 PM at St. Francis Catholic Church, 404 N Ninth Street, Brainerd, MN. The Mass was livestreamed via the church’s website at

A celebration of Mary's life will be held on Saturday, September 18, 2021 from 1:00 - 4:00 PM at North Dale Recreation Area in St. Paul. Friends, family, and students are welcome - please bring a story or a memory to share with others who knew and loved Mary. The celebration will be held outdoors, with access to the recreation center for necessities.


Memorials may be sent to support two of Mary's favorite things: babies and books.

Birthright of Brainerd - donations will be used to support young mothers and their babies.

401 W. Laurel St, Suite B

Brainerd, MN 56401


Maternity of Mary/St. Andrews Catholic School - donations will be used in the library and literacy programming.

592 Arlington Ave W.

St Paul, MN 55117

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