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Mary Jo Schamber, age 78, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away on Friday, July 8, 2022, at Good Samaritan Society – Comforcare in Austin.
Mary Jo (Werner) Schamber was born in July of 1943 in Pender, Nebraska, where her father was the pastor of dual parishes for 55 years and her mother helped with the Ladies’ Aid and was the church secretary. Mary grew up serving at church and caring for her three younger siblings, Joe Jr., Dottie (Meschke), and David. As the first born daughter of a first born daughter, she was organized and thrifty. As the daughter of a man who was a farmer and mechanic at heart, she was hard-working and witty. As a model preacher’s kid, she was always selfless and kind.
Growing up, Mary played the French horn in the marching band and was a cheerleader, setting her up to be a super fan for her nieces and nephews, children, and grandchildren. In order to pay for college, she gleaned corn from the fields with her family. She was synodically trained to teach at Concordia Seward, NE, and served the Lord by shepherding His children for 21 years. She taught 2nd grade for four years at Trinity Lutheran School in St. Joe, MI (1965-69), and then was called to Trinity Lutheran School in Fremont, NE, where she taught 2nd graders for eight more years (1969 -1976).
While teaching in Fremont, Mary met the “deer” of her life, Arlen Schamber. He knew she was the one when she walked down the aisle, leading her 2nd graders to the front of the church to sing for the congregation. They were married in July of 1977 by her father at her hometown church in Walthill and moved to Minnesota to start their life together. They raised their two daughters in Austin, MN, where Mary spent countless hours serving at Holy Cross, cheering on the Austin Packers, and making delicious rhubarb desserts to share with her neighbors and friends. She stayed home to raise her daughters and then taught 1st and 2nd grade at Holy Cross Lutheran School until her retirement in the spring of 2002. She retired early to care for her parents who had moved across the street until they went home to their Heavenly Father.
Through her many years teaching, she provided continuous encouragement and endless patience. She was a light-bearer that answered the Lord’s call, reflecting Her Savior’s love and peace to all those who knew her.
She was preceded in death by her father, Rev. Joseph George Werner, Sr.; her mother, Irma Lucile Werner; her niece, Ruth Elizabeth Werner; and her brother-in-law, Mark Meschke.
She is survived by her husband Arlen Schamber; her siblings Joseph (Patti) Werner, Dottie Meschke, and David (Betsy) Werner; her daughters Rachel (Ben) Minerich and their two children (Finley Joseph and Elsa Ruth) and Gretchen (Paul) Reetz and their six children (Greta Kathryn, Xavier Robert, Dominic Joseph, Benedict Fulton, Annemarie Kathleen, and Pauline Lucile); her wonderful nieces and nephews; and her loving extended family and friends.
If you would like to honor Mary Schamber with a financial donation, please consider giving online to Concordia College in Seward, NE (https://www.cune.edu/giving/ways-give) or give to Holy Cross Lutheran Church at 300 16th St NE, Austin, MN 55912.
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