Deborah Middelmann-Schaeffer – Obituary of Edith Schaeffer

Mrs. Edith Rachel Merritt Seville Schaeffer, born in Wenchow, China on November 3, 1914, died in her home in Gryon, Switzerland, the night of Good Friday to Holy Saturday March 29/30, 2013. Contrary to erroneous reports she had lived in her lovely chalet built in 1683 in Gryon for 13 years, where she longed to live and die, surrounded with the beloved witnesses of her rich life: her Steinway baby grand Piano, her dozens of paintings by her son Frank, her gorgeous antiques and linen drapes, known by her friends in Rochester MN as she entertained them in her home there, “The Old Orchard”, for 17 years.

All these precious things surrounded her as she so hoped, on the night she talked with her son-in-law and pastor Udo Middelmann about the resurrection with fresh flowers next to her, watched a concert on BBC Four TV with delight, fell asleep and never woke on Holy Saturday. She will, we know, be raised as God promised, from her burial place next to her husband Francis Schaeffer in Rochester MN.

There will be a funeral service on April 19th at 2 pm, open to all, in Gryon, Switzerland, where she lived a full life for the last 13 years of her life after she moved from Rochester MN. This will give her European friends a service to honor her and her 65 years of living mostly in Switzerland: one year in Lausanne, six years in Champery, and fifteen years in Huémoz, thirteen years in Chesieres/Villars, followed by seventeen years in Rochester MN. During those years she rented an apartment by the Lake Leman in Vevey, Switzerland. The final thirteen years she lived in Gryon.

There will also be a funeral service in Rochester MN on April 25 at 2 PM. Everyone is heartily welcome.

After her husband’s death in 1984 she became acquainted with Franz Mohr, piano voicer for Steinway in New York, and through him had the deep joy of knowing van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz, Rudolph Serkin and Peter Serkin, Christopher Parkening , Rostroprovitch, Yo Yo Mah and others. She so enjoyed writing a book “Forever Music” and having a concert at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, NY to open the book with a concert by the Guarneri Quartet. She continued during her last years in Switzerland to go to almost weekly concerts, numerous boat rides on the lake, travel to Italy every year until three years ago and to return several times to NY.

We rejoice at her passion for life, her deep enjoyment of people whether Horowitz or a NY taxi driver, her close attention to detail, whether in sewing stunning clothes for herself, making flower arrangements, or decorating her house, creating elaborate receptions in her home until the age of 88, and her enjoyment of music, whether J.S. Bach, Eric Clapton or B.B. King, going to films, especially Woody Allen, and indeed beauty in all its forms.

She will be sorely missed by even the youngest of our grandchildren, 2 – year old Seraphine, as she so enjoyed going to birthday parties, watching the children play, and even  last year being pulled on a special wagon to take people in wheelchairs behind a miniature steam train by the her beloved lake in Switzerland together with a grandson of ours, Benjamin. She was a great sport!

“La chaim” until the Messiah comes, Mummy!

Deborah Middelmann-Schaeffer

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s