La Grande, Oregon
Harriet Elizabeth Turner (HET) Schumacher, 82, of Portland and formerly of La Grande, died June 20 surrounded by family after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. A rosary will begin at 7 tonight at Mount Scott Funeral Home, 4205 SE 59th St. A mass and a reception celebrating her life will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, 3618 SE 79th St., in Portland. Burial will follow at Gethsemani Cemetery.
Harriet Elizabeth was born Sept. 13, 1925, to Henry and Eileen Turner in La Grande. As an only child and with her dark, curly locks those who knew her say she quickly became the apple of her father’s eye. Fortunately for Harriet and her family, her father missed the launching of the Titanic in his first attempt to migrate to the U.S. from Ireland.
She grew up in La Grande, and after attending Eastern Oregon College, transferred to the University of Oregon and graduated with a business degree. She moved to the “big city” of Portland and worked for the phone company as an accountant. She lived in a resident building called the “Martha” Washington, when she was introduced on a blind date to a young fellow named Howard Schumacher from Montana who lived next door in the “George” Washington. Rumor had it that she reached for his hand on their first date. She made Howard the one love of her life and the couple married shortly thereafter on July 31, 1949.
Their wedding took place in La Grande, and coming from a small town where her grandfather was a prominent leader, the entire town was invited. Her bridal showers, wedding and even the couple’s day-to-day honeymoon travel plans made the local newspaper.
In addition to raising five children, Harriet worked along side her husband as the delivery person and bookkeeper at their family business, Schumacher Dental Lab.
Later known as “Grandma Schu,” Harriet loved the simple things in life like family gatherings, visiting distant relatives, chocolate milkshakes, afternoon tea breaks with neighbors, monthly lunch gatherings with high school friends, phone conversations with dear friends and playing Bunco. She enjoyed being involved with Little League, Altar Society at her church and the PTA. Harriet liked watching her “stories” (soap operas like “Days of Our Lives”) and was dedicated to cheering on her sons and grandsons at their baseball games. She sewed Christmas stockings for her grandchildren, baked apple, berry and peach pies and canned fruit and jam. She attended church religiously; singing enthusiastically during the services.
She enjoyed collecting spoons from places she or friends and family traveled to and loved putting her feet in the ocean. Harriet celebrated most St. Paddy’s Days at Pal Shanty’s with a Crab Louie and was appalled when others were not wearing green on that day. She was known to kneel down to pray each night for her family and friends.
Harriet was very proud of her Irish roots. After her 40th wedding anniversary she and Howard finally made it over to Ireland, to visit cousins that she was pen pals with since childhood. She was thrilled when she got to kiss the Blarney Stone.
Survivors include her husband, Howard; children, Harry and his wife, Sheri, Brian and his wife, Lisa, Ron and his wife, April, Bob and his wife, Sandy, and Kathy Murphy and her husband, Mike; and 16 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the St. Anthony Catholic Church, 3618 SE 79th, Portland 97206. Harriet’s family says that Alzheimer’s is a dreadful disease that robs years of memories of one’s children and grandchildren. It turns a loved one into someone unrecognizable. Harriet’s family encourages people to reach out to their parents and grandparents and write down their stories.
La Grande Observer – June 25, 2008