Mary Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Schneider Wales
Mary Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Schneider Wales, beloved nurse, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother was called home on Tuesday, January 5th just a few days shy of her 95th birthday. She is survived by her adoring family consisting of three children, 9 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by the great love of her life and husband of 65 years, Dr. Philip Wales. What a joyous reunion they must have had!
“Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. Some special people are so abounding in love that it overflows, filling up any room they enter. That was our Mimi. Barely 5 feet on a good day, our small-statured grandmother possessed enough warmth, tenderness, and abundant love to fill a coliseum. All of this kindness was amplified by her sharp wit and sass, present in spades until her last day.
Mary Elizabeth Schneider was born January 16th, 1926 in Lockhart, Texas to Albert and Myrtle Blanche Schneider. Raised in the height of the Great Depression, with 4 biological siblings and 2 foster siblings, Liz learned early in life the importance of caring for others. One of her happiest childhood memories, often shared with her grandchildren, was when her father would pick her and her siblings up from school. Albert Schneider, the owner of Lockhart’s first “full service” gas station, had one of the few cars in town. He would pull up to the elementary school, slowly, and all of Liz’s friends would jump onto the car’s exterior floorboards, hanging onto the Schneider sisters for dear life. With Liz and her sisters giggling incessantly from the backseat, Albert would drive slowly around town to each child’s house, where they would promptly hop off the still-moving car and run inside.
Upon graduation from Lockhart High School in 1943, Liz pursued a nursing degree from the University of Texas, Galveston. A dedicated healer, servant, and American, Liz enlisted in the Army Nursing Corps while simultaneously pursuing her degree. One of the seminal moments of Liz’s career occurred early and hard: the 1947 Texas City explosion. With over 4,000 injuries, Liz decided to stay in Galveston after graduation to help heal as many as she could. Shortly thereafter, Liz returned home to work at Lockhart Hospital, one fateful decision that would change everything. As head of the OR, Liz met the handsome new doctor in town, Dr. Wales. He was wise enough not to let her go, and soon after asked for her hand in marriage. Together, Phil and Liz created a better world for their children and grandchildren, one based on absolute, steadfast love.
In addition to being a dedicated wife, nurse, mother, member of First United Methodist Church, and supporter of the Irving Club, Liz was given Lockhart’s ‘Spirit Award’ in 2007, and in 2011 was named Lockhart’s Most Worthy Citizen. She was also a magnificently talented creative, sewing Christmas stockings, clothing, and costumes for her family, as well as painting any birdhouse or sign that Phil would cook up in his woodworking shed. Our Mimi was as generous in sharing her creative talents as she was her love, and not a single trip was made to her house without some type of craft or costume awaiting you. Her cooking and baking skills were unparalleled, with her surprisingly complex, hard-to-perfect coffee cake being a particular family favorite. There are just one daughter and one granddaughter who seem to have mastered Mimi’s recipe, but still, no one makes it better than her.
This past year has been tough for our entire world, but it has been especially difficult for our elderly. To protect her from the pandemic, Liz lived her last year under strict safety measures at the Bois D’Arc house. This complete change of life has negatively affected countless people’s mental states, but, miraculously, not our Mimi. She lived her last year as one full of joy, finding happiness in the smallest of things. Whether it was a new puzzle, a warm sweater, or baking treats for her hallmates, Liz could see through the everyday for the special. Writing to her daughter recently, Liz said “You can find joy wherever you are. Just look!” While we were not able to physically see or touch our beloved mother and grandmother this year, she continued teaching us incredibly valuable lessons on resiliency, courage, happiness, and above all else, love. What a privilege it was to be her family.
Liz was laid to rest in a private graveside service on Friday, January 8, 2021. Reverend Dr. Clifton Stringer of First United Methodist Church Lockhart officiated. McCurdy Funeral Home handled arrangements.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to one of Elizabeth’s loved passions:
- The Philip and Elizabeth Wales Children’s Center at the Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart 217 S Main, Lockhart 78644
- First United Methodist Church: 313 W San Antonio St, Lockhart 78644