Pauline Schmertmann had a stroke on March 28th, with brain injuries that left her in a coma. The next day she passed away peacefully in the hospital. She left life as she lived it, surrounded by family. She was a wonderful person who lit up the lives of all who knew her.
Pauline was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin on May 15th, 1929 to Paul Leroy and Inez Pratt Grange. After two years attending LaCrosse Teachers College, she transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a Master’s in Library Science and was an Alpha Gamma Delta sorority member. Pauline was an assistant librarian in Wilmette, Illinois and a full-time Lutheran counselor to students in Cedar Falls, Iowa before her marriage. She moved to Gainesville in 1956 with her new husband John Schmertmann, who joined the UF faculty.
Pauline enjoyed travel. The family lived in Oslo, Norway in 1962-63, where son Neil was born, and in Ottawa, Canada in 1971-72. She and John traveled to over 50 countries. They also enjoyed camping, and together completed 18 Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) senior learning and travel programs, the last in early March 2014.
She loved to meet and greet people, at church and everywhere. Combining her love for camping, church and people led Pauline and John to fund construction of the Schmertmann Welcome Center and a Meeting Room at the Luther Springs camp and retreat near Hawthorne, Florida.
Her life revolved around her home and family, but she took time for others — volunteering at nursing homes and her children’s school libraries, hosting exchange daughter Siri Klokkerstuen from Norway, being a GHS band parent, serving Meals-On-Wheels with her late mother-in-law, giving blood regularly, and serving her Lord through years of devoting time and talent to the community of people at University Lutheran Church. The latter included over 30 years of writing the People section of the ULC Newsletter.
Survivors include her husband of 57 years, Civil Engineer John H. Schmertmann, three sons — Carl Paul from Tallahassee (wife Kristen Hagen), Gary Robert from Sydney, Australia (wife Marcia), Neil Johan from Gainesville — and her youngest, daughter Joy Anne Schmertmann Colley (husband Greg) from North Augusta, SC; seven grandchildren — Eric, Lara, and Mark from Tallahassee, Paul, Laura, Thea, and Noah from Australia; brother James Paul Grange (wife Carol) from Lexington, KY, and sister-in-law Gloria Schmertmann from North Port, FL. Her sister Martha Marie Grange predeceased her.
A memorial service will be held at University Lutheran Church on Saturday, April 26th at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the “Pauline Schmertmann Memorial Fund for the ULC Campus Ministry”, or another charity of your choice.