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Elizabeth A. Schumann

February 13, 1918 May 6, 2020
Elizabeth A. Schumann
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Obituary for Elizabeth A. Schumann

Elizabeth Anna (Hunt) Schumann, 102, died on May 6, 2020 at the Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence. She was born on February 13, 1918 in East Providence and grew up there. She majored in English at Pembroke College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kapa and Magna Cum Laude in 1940. She lived for eight years in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and five years in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania before moving back to Providence in 1962. After her return she earned a Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Rhode Island in 1968. She had a deeply fulfilling career as a reference librarian at Brown University in the 1970’s and 1980’s. She was married to the late Detlev Schumann, who was a professor in the German departments of Brown University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth was an active member of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. She was active in the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity, and she attended the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous I Have a Dream speech. One of her fondest memories was of the residents of Washington neighborhoods waving and cheering from their porches as her bus drove through that city to return to Providence after the march. She was active in the League of Women Voters. She lived in Laurelmead Cooperative, a senior living facility, for over twenty years, where she helped establish and manage its library. She knit and crocheted hats and blankets for newborns in hospitals, as well as for friends and family. She loved to read, especially biographies and books about history.

Elizabeth, or Betty, as she was known to friends and family, is survived by her sister, Constance (Hunt) Del Gizzi, her daughter, Bettina Woolard (Stephen), her son, Chris Schumann (Cathy Wiss), her grandchildren, Abel Ferreira (Mandy), Martin Ferreira (Virginia), Seth Woolard, Sarah Schumann, Thomas Schumann, and Sophia Penny (Skip), and her great-grandchildren, Carmen, Nikos, and Maxwell. She is also survived by sister-in-law Marjorie Hunt, nephews Peter and Jonathan Hunt, Keith and Martin Schwacha, and Robert and Gordon Del Gizzi, and many Hunt cousins.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Detlev Walther Schumann, her infant son, Detlev Frederic Schumann, her parents, Frederic and Josephine (Johnson) Hunt, her sister, Ruth (Hunt) Schwacha, her brother, Frederic Hunt, Jr., and her son-in-law, Stephen Woolard.

Betty loved family; friends; strangers; animals; nature; social justice; history; facts; literature; wordplay; wit; the King James Bible; the Book of Common Prayer; the Episcopal Liturgy; the Brown University community; the Laurelmead community; the Providence experience; and countless happy days and nights spent at the summer house her parents built on a high hill in Touisset, looking out over the Kickemuit River, almost a hundred years ago.

Because Betty was born between Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and Valentine’s Day, her mother used to tell her, “You were born between Honor and Love.” That is where she was born; that is where, for 102 years, she lived. She was imbued with peace and grace; she imparted that peace and grace to all whose lives were touched by hers.

The family wishes to thank the aides from Concord Home Health and Wellness Services who kept Betty company every day in her last years. They not only gave her support and assistance; they gave her friendship. She loved them.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, a celebration of Betty’s life will be scheduled at a later time. Donations in Betty's memory can be made to the Audubon Society of Rhode Island or the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

To send flowers or plant a tree in memory of Elizabeth A. Schumann, visit the Tribute Store.

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