Mary Anne Elizabeth (Bray) Schaefer, 91, died on October 22, 2020 at the Rainbow Hospice Inpatient Center in Johnson Creek, WI.
She was born on September 7, 1929 on the Jake Aldrich Farm near Harvard, IL, the eldest of four daughters born to Edward and Vera (Johnson) Bray.
She moved to Wisconsin with her family in 1945, and graduated from Whitewater City High School in 1947. In September of 1948, following a whirlwind courtship, she married William Schaefer, Jr., a dashing blue-eyed former Navy seaman. The couple settled in rural Fort Atkinson, a stone’s throw from Lake Koshkonong. They raised their two children in that peaceful place, plus many foster children placed in their care over the years.
In addition to being a doting mother, Mary Anne’s keen sense of detail made her invaluable at many workplaces including Janesville Sand & Gravel, H&R Block, and Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital where she worked for many years until her retirement.
Mary Anne’s talent for handiwork and crafting was legendary. She honed an impressive array of skills including baking, sewing, knitting, upholstery, weaving, and leather tooling. She taught chair-caning classes at the technical college in Fort Atkinson, introducing many students to the art of rejuvenating furniture while sharing laugh, treats, and fellowship along the way. Creating beautiful quilts was one of her greatest joys. Newlyweds and newborns alike were blessed with her cozy, quilted creations. She stitched her love and well wishes into every one—heirlooms to be treasured for generations.
She loved to fish and garden, and played a mean hand of pinochle. She was salty and quick-witted, wisecracking with the hospice staff even in her sunset days.
Mary Anne is survived by daughter Valorie Schaefer (Richard Bock), Viroqua, WI; son Brent Schaefer, Fort Atkinson, WI; sisters Kathryn Reed, Judith Skifton, and Margaret Schaefer; brother-in-law Robert Schaefer; granddaughters Maris Bock and Raina Bock; and numerous far-flung nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Vera Bray, her parents-in-law William and Florence Schaefer, her husband William Schaefer, Jr., and a pack of dogs she loved with all her heart including Pal, Leah, Bouncer, and Angel.
The family would especially like to thank Rainbow Hospice for their kindness and care in Mary Anne’s final weeks.
Donations in her name can be made to Rainbow Hospice, 147 Rockwell Street, Jefferson, WI 53549.