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Edith Rachel Merritt Seville Schaeffer
Obituary by Deborah Middelmann-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.
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. This will give her European friends a service to honor her and her 65 years of living mostly in Switzerland, 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 returned to Gryon.
There will also be a funeral service in Minnesota at 1st Covenant Church of St. Paul, 1280 Arcade Street on April 25 at 11:45 AM. 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 had the deep joy of knowing van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz, Rudolph Serkin and Peter Serkin, Christopher Parkening , Rostroprovitch, Yo Yo Mah and others. She wrote the book “Forever Music” and had a concert with the Guarneri Quartet at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, NY to open the book. She continued during her last years going almost weekly to concerts, on numerous boat rides on the lake, traveling every year to Italy and often 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, creating receptions in her home, her enjoyment of music, whether J.S. Bach or B.B. King, films, especially Woody Allen’s, 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 her beloved lake in Switzerland together with a grandson of ours, Benjamin. She was a great sport!
“La chaim” until the Messiah comes, Mummy!
Published on NYTimes.com from April 16 to April 17, 2013