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Marjorie Ganter Scholtz
Born April 30, 1940, and gone to the Lord October 14, 2023, and what a time between it was. Marjorie Ganter Scholtz was the second oldest of four; she is preceded in death by her parents Francis X. and Anne Davin Ganter, and her sister, Mary Ann Miller. Marjorie spent most of her childhood in Bethel Park, where she attended St. Francis Academy until 11th grade; a Catholic School, run by Franciscan Nuns- it was set on an idyllic countryside campus surrounded by a fence - as she joked: “…to keep the Lutherans out!” Marjorie finished high school at Bethel Park, class of ’58 - where she played Emily in “Our Town.” She followed sister Mary Ann to Penn State, joined the debate team, pledged and was voted president of KKG, made lifelong friendships, and graduated with pride in her alma mater that would last a lifetime. Her younger sister Grace followed her to PSU, as did brother Fran - a standout running back and career coach for the Nittany Lions. Return trips to State College for family and football were many - she loved it.
Marjorie and the love of her life, and husband of 59 years, found each other as young teachers - fresh out of college - at Fox Chapel High School. Marge taught English and speech. Ken taught biology and coached football and baseball. They joined each other for summer graduate school classes at UConn, and a cross-country trip for a study program in California. Their adventures never stopped. Later in life the travel bug took them around the world and back - all but one continent (some multiples), 36 countries - always returning with great stories and pictures. Their three Ireland roots trips were her favorites.
In the early 1970s, with two toddlers sometimes in tow, Marjorie taught and directed musicals at Divine Providence Academy in McCandless. In 1975, Marjorie founded the Good Shepherd Nursery School; which has been a fixture in Fox Chapel for decades. She had such a love and gift for teaching preschool. At its peak, they had an enrollment over 100, and she assembled a staff of a dozen teachers. If you were a bright, energetic, engaging and fun mom in Fox Chapel in the ‘80s and ‘90s - you likely got recruited. Challenges, validation, love and freedom to spread your wings - Good Shepherd kids got loads of it all. We would tell her that the nursery school should have a hall of fame - featuring graduates who went on to great successes in college and beyond - and she would smile and shake her head - the lesson being: everyone has their own mountain to climb.
While running the school, managing the house, making holidays extra special, sewing, skiing and playing tennis and golf, Marjorie found time to write a column called “Patchwork Parenting” for a local periodical, and help (now Hampton School District Superintendent) Ken write speeches -- Marjorie also joined the American Association of University Women, for whom she became a speaker and discussion leader, presenting seminars at schools and businesses on the vital importance of gender equity - this was 35 years ago.
When she retired and sold the nursery school in 2001, she didn’t slow down. In between welcoming grandkids, and fun with family and friends, she was elected to the Alumni Council at Penn State - where she was twice honored as the Outstanding Member. She also volunteered for years at the Pittsburgh History Center, leading groups on tours.
Marge and Ken loved their favorite home away from home, at Chautauqua Lake - spending entire summers and winter weekend trips there, since the ‘60s. Over the years they welcomed lots of family, their circle of friends from Pittsburgh, and made new friends, and enjoyed everything about it. In 2008, she became a member of the Literary & Scientific Circle of the Chautauqua Institution, where she was admittedly more interested in the literary than the science.
Marjorie was a natural educator and a lifetime learner; she was an excellent writer, and the best kind of conversationalist. She was fun, beautiful, witty, tough, self-deprecating, caring and about 100 other good things all wrapped into one 5’4” package. She was something. We will miss her dearly. We will remember her always.
Marjorie is preceded in death by her beloved daughter, Jodie (John) Terlisner of Carmel, IN. She is survived by her husband, Ken of Fox Chapel, son-in-law John Terlisner, daughter, Mollianne (Doug) Messineo of Ridgewood, NJ, and son, Ken (Tracy) of Hampton; she is also survived by six grandsons: the Messineos - Charlie (24), Andrew (21), William (19) and Max (17), and the Terlisners - Jack (18) and Peter (16), and two granddaughters: Clare (14) and Frankie (12) Scholtz.
The family will be forever grateful for the staff who cared for Marjorie for the last 18 months of her life, at Woodside Place and The Willows, in Oakmont, and with Bridges Hospice - they were absolute angels.
Visitation will be at Weddell-Ajak Funeral Home, 100 Center Avenue in Aspinwall, from 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., on Monday, October 16th. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Scholastica Church, 309 Brilliant Ave., Aspinwall at 10 a.m., on Tuesday, October 17th. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Scholastica Church, in Marjorie’s memory.