Mary Helen Schaab (Nee Buchberger) passed away peacefully on Friday, September 10th, 2021 at Langenburg Centennial Special Care Home, Langenburg Sk. with her family at her side.
Mary was born in the Langenburg area on February 22, 1930, eldest daughter of Mike and Farilda Buchberger (Van Hee). She attended grade school in Landshutt and high school at St. Gabriel’s Convent in Lebret where her mother had previously also attended. Mary was an excellent student and taught school at Union Hill upon graduation from High School. Following this she moved to Regina where she worked at Simpson’s Sears mail order. Returning to Langenburg she worked for a time at Sideman’s Store and Marshall Wells.
Mary married Tony Schaab in Langenburg on June 11, 1952. Tony was originally from Provost, Alberta but had recently moved to the Langenburg area. Mary and Tony farmed in the Langenburg area until their retirement in 1988.
Mary and Tony led a very busy life with farm, family and Tony’s work at IMC Potash mine, but Mary was never too busy to be involved in her community. She was a lifetime member of the CWL since its inception in 1956, was a leader in 4H as well as Cubs and Scouts and Brownies, and secretary for Parkland Community College. She took on many roles over the years with St. Joseph’s RC Church. Mary always had time to support her children in their many interests from hockey and sports to music and art.
Mary was very interested in capturing family history and spent much time researching and compiling history books – The Schaab family, The Buchberger family, The VanHee family and even leading the effort to publish the Langenburg History Book “Our Heritage”.
Even as Mary aged she continued to give back to the community, driving the Freedom Rider and delivering Meals on Wheels to Seniors – often younger than she was.
Mary and Tony had 10 children: Cynthia (Gene) Nerbas of Shellmouth, MB; Colleen Bessel of Port Moody, BC; Wayne (Loretta) of Innisfail, AB; Mel (Carol) of Langenburg; Terry (Sue) of Sundre, AB; Shelda (Rod) Gamracy of Yorkton; Janet (Trent) Erhardt of Balgonie, SK; Michelle (Greg) Harasemow of Port Moody, BC; Michael of Abbotsford, BC; and Lisa (Kevin) Robertson of Red Deer, AB.
They were also blessed with 24 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. A number of years ago the family held a reunion where each person was given a T-shirt with a number corresponding to the order in which they entered the family either by birth or marriage, with Tony and Mary being #1 and #2. The most recent addition to the family proudly wears #85.
Mary was an active participant in the farm. In the early years when Tony worked away in the winter she ran the farm. She could fix anything and drive any piece of equipment. She could tend the cattle and handle any chore that arose. An avid gardener, she grew much of what the family ate and always had enough to supply others who did not. She was an excellent seamstress, always sewing and knitting a new outfit for the kids for Christmas and Easter. She could make anything without a pattern – just a picture in the Sears catalogue. She called herself a ‘Jack of all Trades” doing whatever was necessary. She even built an addition onto the house as the family grew.
She was also an excellent baker – bread, buns, donuts. The kitchen would welcome you with the aroma of fresh baking. At every community, church or family event Mary was nominated to bake the buns.
Mary’s one true love was Tony. They had an enviable bond. Their family was everything to them. They loved their little cabin at Good Spirit Lake where the family would gather in the summers; their camper van which took them exploring throughout the Prairies; and gathering friends and family together for a good old-fashioned sing-along as Tony played his guitar and everyone joined in following the songbooks Mary had made.
In retirement they became avid and adventurous travelers, always ready for a new destination. They travelled across Canada, to Alaska and Hawaii and many other points in the US. They visited many spots in Mexico and the Caribbean and traced their family roots in Germany and Belgium as they travelled in Europe. They loved their trip to Australia and New Zealand. It all began at their 25th Wedding Anniversary when their children gifted them with a trip to Hawaii, having no idea the fire it would light. They would no sooner return from one trip than they would be planning their next.
Mary was pre-deceased by her beloved husband Tony Schaab in 2010; her parents Mike and Farilda Buchberger; brothers Andy (Georgina), Richard (Gwen), Bob Eileen), Bill (Linda) and Freddie; sisters Helen (Dave) Helmle, Julia McPherson, Ann (Rudy) Antosh; brothers-in-law James Fraser; Johnny (Judy) Schaab, and Alois (Jean) Schaab; sister-in-law Mary (Arnold) Berger, and several nieces and nephews.
She is survived by her youngest sister Cecelia (Don) Hrushka of Red Deer, AB ; brother-in-law Bill McPherson of Edmonton, AB and sisters-in-law Cathy Fraser of Aldergrove, BC and Pauline McCarthy of Vancouver, BC. Mary is survived by all her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
Mary was the family matriarch – always there for her sisters and brothers and children. She was loved by many and will be missed by all.
To send flowers to Mary's family, please visit our floral store.
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