Mary Carey Schaefer
1933-Jan. 29, 2024
Palo Alto, California
Mary Carey Schaefer, loving wife, mother, and daughter, passed peacefully in her Palo Alto home of over 50 years Monday Jan 29th. An artist, interior designer, community activist, and basketball fan, she made California her home following her graduation from Cornell University in 1955. Born on June 4, 1933, in Detroit, Michigan, to Matthew Carey of Albany, NY, and Idell Lowe Carey of New York City, Mary led a rich life filled with diverse roles.
After earning her degree in art in Ithaca, NY, Mary returned to Detroit and was employed at H.E.Beyster Architects before venturing to San Francisco in 1957, where she met her husband, John Peter Schaefer. Mary and John married in 1959 in her hometown of Grosse Pointe. They moved often for her husband’s job at Chevron Chemical Company, from Wilmington, DE to Cincinnati, OH to Waldwick, NJ, finally returning to California in 1964, with a short stay in Louisville, KY. Mary liked to say that in the first five years of marriage, she had three kids and nine addresses. Mary and John settled back in Palo Alto in 1971, where they raised their three children, Elizabeth (Yuksel Duman), Katherine (Todd Cleland), and Richard (Anne).
As an engaged community member in Palo Alto, she fought tenaciously for her causes with good humor and passion, teaching her children kindness and resolve and mettle. She chose honey over vinegar addressing noise pollution, residential privacy, and flood prevention in her neighborhood. She took great pride in the letters she crafted concerning these community issues. She shared her love of making beautiful and interesting things with all she came in contact with; and shared her love of good food, good friends, good movies, and a glass of wine, as she ‘held court’ at home and abroad. She welcomed all with a smile, charm, and a story. She was actively involved in a variety of women’s groups, including AAUW, Woman’s Club of Palo Alto, her bridge group, a gourmet cooking group, making her home a welcome spot for many and all.
Mary loved travel and shared over a decade of retirement adventures with John exploring Japan, China, India, Europe, Mexico, South America, Africa, and Antarctica.
Mary is survived by her husband and three children, and four grand-daughters. She was preceded in death by her twin sister, Betty (Elizabeth Carey) and elder sister, Kitty (Idell Catherine Carey). As family and friends fondly remember Mary Carey Schaefer, they celebrate a life well-lived and a legacy of warmth, laughter, and passion for the beautiful, and appreciation for interesting people in life.