On April 8, 2019, at Grace Woodlands Memory Care in Eau Claire, WI, The Lord called Mary Beth Schierenbeck to her Heavenly Home to live with Him forever. A service celebrating her Victory will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at Messiah Lutheran Church, 2015 N. Hasting Ways, Eau Claire, WI. Visitation will be held one hour before the service and a luncheon will follow the service.
Mary Beth Schierenbeck was born in Austin, Minnesota on April 21, 1958, a special gift from God to Lester and Agnes (Strege) Schierenbeck. On April 27, 1958, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Austin, she became a special child of God through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, administered by her father. Thus began her journey through life as a special Down Syndrome Christian.
She spent her childhood in Austin, where she attended classes in the Special Education department of the Austin Public Schools and attended worship services and Sunday School at St. Paul’s. She moved with her parents to Eau Claire, WI in 1969, when her father became pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church and later a professor at Immanuel Lutheran High School, College, and Seminary in Eau Claire.
She spent her teen years in the Special Education department of the Eau Claire public schools, and ‘graduated’ from Memorial High School in 1979 when she turned 21. Over the years, she was instructed in the teachings of the Bible by her father and was confirmed as a communicant member of Messiah on July 21, 1981.
During the years that followed, she spent her time with her family, enjoying many different interests, including watching her favorite television shows (Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons) coloring pictures, listening to Christmas records while lining up Christmas cards (year-round), looking at old photos, shredding paper at the ILC office, and going to Immanuel sporting events. She also spent time dusting furniture and folding clothes at her sister’s house. She especially loved babies and little ones, eating out, lively music, and, most of all, her dear mother, who never stopped ‘home schooling’ Mary Beth!
Mary lived with her parents until the Lord took them to Heaven. At that time, she moved in with the Pfeiffer family on the campus of Immanuel, where she lived for 7 years. With extra care from family and friends provided through the Wisconsin I.R.I.S. program, she was able to live with her sister and family until her diagnosis of dementia and other physical problems led to the need for 24-hour care.
She has been a resident (and ‘social butterfly’) at Grace Woodlands Memory Care since July, 2015. The loving care provided by the kind and compassionate staff of Grace Woodlands was very much appreciated by Mary Beth and by her family, as well as the wonderful hospice care of her nurse, Kris (thru St. Joseph’s Hospital). Most importantly, especially in the past few years, we are grateful for the faithful ministry by the pastors of Messiah in a very challenging situation.
But Mary Beth’s greatest love during all the sixty-plus years of her special life was her very own Savior, ‘Jesus Christ’. Her child-like faith and trust in her salvation was strengthened through the Gospel messages she heard at church every Sunday, and through daily devotions with her family.
She is survived by her brother John (Sharon) Schierenbeck (Eau Claire, WI) and their 6 children and families, her brother David (Mary) Schierenbeck (St. Paul Park, MN) and their 4 children and families, her sister Barbara (John) Pfeiffer (Eau Claire, WI) and their 4 children and families, 1 uncle (Raymond Zechel of Burlington, WI), 14 cousins, as well as her church family. She was preceded in death by her parents, 11 aunts and uncles, and 2 cousins.
Memorials may be directed to Messiah Lutheran Church, the Immanuel Lutheran College Student Aid Fund, or Special Olympics.
Chippewa Valley Cremation Services-Celebration of Life Center in Altoona is serving the family.
I Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.