Mary was born in Great Bend, Kan., to Johnette Harrold Clark and Warren Williams Clark at a time when her engineer father was working on construction of a pipeline bringing natural gas from Texas to the Midwest.
In 1942, her father began military service at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and then spent the rest of World War II in the Pacific. Mary, her mother and younger brother Jim spent the war years with her grandmother in Shelby, Mont. Following the end of the war, the family settled in Salem, Ore., and her father began a civil engineering consulting career and her mother taught kindergarten.
Mary completed grade and high school in Salem and then became a home economics major at Oregon State University in Corvallis. In spring quarter of her freshman year, a civil engineering student “spotted” Mary in their English class and arranged a coffee date. Her interest was evidently limited because Mary’s roommate had to tell the very interested Ed that she was sleeping when he came to pick her up. The coffee date did happen, Ed kept pursuing and they were married on Sept. 2, 1961.
Mary spent the following year as a graduate student in child development and in 1962 the couple moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Mary worked in the Children’s Hospital playroom. In 1963, Mary and Ed moved to Houston, Texas, and Mary became director of the Harris County United Way day care centers.
Their first child, Margaret was born in August 1964. Peter was born in May 1966 just as Mary and Ed were preparing to move to Davis. Katherine, 1968, Michael, 1969, Timothy, 1971, Phillip, 1972, and Matthew, 1974, completed the Schroeder family.
Mary became active in Davis Parent Nursery School when Margaret was 3 years old. She served as president of the association prior to becoming an assistant session director and then session director. Mary was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1988 and retired from teaching in 1990. Many of her closest friendships were developed during her 23 years involvement at DPNS.
Mary loved to travel. Going to the grocery store was fine, but longer trips were preferred. The family camped in summers, particularly along the California and Oregon coasts. Seven people in a tent made for particularly interesting memories. She loved the two sabbaticals in the U.K. with the entire family and the ones with just Ed in Hong Kong and New Zealand.
A family trip to Sweden while Margaret was at University of Lund was extended to Denmark, Poland and Norway. Other places on Mary’s travel list included Mexico, Germany, Austria, Italy, Israel, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Thailand and Mauritius. When her Parkinson’s symptoms made air travel difficult, they continued to travel by car to visit Peter in San Diego and Margaret in El Paso and family and friends in Oregon several times a year. The best bathrooms on I-5, I-8, and I-10 between Portland and El Paso could be cited by name and location.
In recent years when Mary became more homebound, her friends visited her often. Nancy Kelter, Mary Hayden and Connie Romstad were with her almost every week and sometimes there were groups of five or six making much noise and laughter. The family will be forever grateful to these friends for making Mary’s life so wonderful.
Mary is survived by her husband Ed; children Margaret (Guillermo Medina), Peter (Theresa), Michael, Phillip (Lora) and Matt (Heather); brother James Clark; sister Karen Clark; grandchildren Fernando, Luis, Jose, Katherine and Emily Medina, Joshua, Molly, Noah, Scot, Jacob, Jakob, Delaney, Amy and Kaitlyn Schroeder, and Madison Pike; and great-grandchildren Camila, Jade and Emma Medina. She was predeceased by her parents, children Katherine and Timothy, and grandchild Samantha Young.
There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at St. James, Davis at 10 a.m. Friday, April 1. A Rosary will be prayed at the Smith Funeral Home at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31.
Donations in memory of Mary can be made to the Davis Parent Nursery School, the Edward And Mary Schroeder Fund For Civil And Environmental Engineering Students at UC Davis or a charity of the donor’s choice.