Mary ‘Peggy’ Schneller
Published: Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Mary Margaret (Blomstrom) Schneller, best known as Peggy, was born Sept. 14, 1937, at Winner, S.D., to Lloyd and Mary (Wegener) Blomstrom. She was the oldest of four children including Jack (Sue), Bob (Brooke) and Sal (Bill) Thompson.
She graduated from Winner High School in 1955 and from Creighton University in 1959. While working on her MA in speech from the University of Denver (which she obtained in 1961), Peg joined the faculty at Creighton University in Omaha from 1960-64.
Though she had had several suitors, none fit the bill. So she made a nine day novena to St. Joseph to find her a holy spouse. As she walked out of the church on the last day of her novena, she ran into a handsome young dental student, John Louis Schneller. “Duke,” as he was called, married Peg Aug. 23, 1961. They moved to Belle Fourche, S.D., where they lived until 1977.
It was there that Peg and Duke helped usher in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in South Dakota They also opened their home to unwed mothers, traveling clergy and refugee families from around the world. In addition to these ministries, Peg ran a ceramic shop in town while Duke did dentistry. They also raised their six children, Jean (Kent) French, Joseph (Brenda), Ann (John) Dvorak, Dan (Jill), Tom (Bobbie) and Jim.
In 1977, the Schneller family moved to Tempe, Ariz., for two years and then headed north again. They settled in Rapid City, S.D.
During this time, Peg was instrumental in helping start the Hospice of the Hills program in western South Dakota as their first volunteer coordinator. She also founded several women's Bible studies, prayer groups and spear-headed numerous community projects. As busy as they were, Peg and Duke tried always to share lunch together in fulfillment of a promise made at the beginning of their marriage—a practice they continued faithfully for over 51 years.
When Duke retired from private practice in 2000, they moved to rural Custer, S.D., where he continues to serve as dentist for STAR Academy.
Peg is well remembered for her laughter, pearls of wisdom, compassion, good cooking and deep faith in God. She attended daily Mass since she was in high school, made thousands and thousands of homemade rosaries and always sought to find Christ in each person she met.
Her generous heart involved her in many ministries, but perhaps her favorite was helping people understand and love Scripture—which resulted in a weekly biblical commentary that she continued to send out for more than 20 years. While she loved walking, four wheeling, snowmobiling and good meals with friends and family gathered round, she never did succumb to Duke's great love for fishing.
Peggy died peacefully at the Hospice House in Rapid City Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, after a five-year battle with cancer, surrounded by her husband, family holy priest. She was 75.
Peggy was preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd and Mary Blomstrom; and their two children, Elizabeth and David, who both died before birth.
She is survived by her dear husband, John "Duke" Schneller of Custer; four sons, Joseph (Brenda) Schneller of Keystone, S.D., Daniel (Jill) Schneller of Kalispell, Mont., Thomas (Bobbie) Schneller of Sturgis, S.D., and James Schneller of Custer; two daughters, Jean (Kent) French of Rapid City and Ann (John) Dvorak of Custer; two brothers, Jack Blomstrom of Casper, Wyo., and Bob Blomstrom of Dallas, Texas; a sister, Sally Thompson of Prescott, Ariz.; 23 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
Peg's Wake and Rosary were held at St. John's Catholic Church in Custer Sept. 20. A Mass of Christian Burial was held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Rapid City Sept. 21 and burial followed at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
A memorial fund has been established at the Hospice House of the Hills.
Click Here To See More Stories Like This