Nesbitt Memorial Library

Elizabeth Schoellmann, Library Volunteer, Dies

     On April 17, 2004, Elizabeth Schoellmann, who worked at the library as a volunteer faithfully every Friday for years, was found dead in her Waco home. Elizabeth Cecelia Leopold was born January 3, 1917 at Nada, Texas, in far southern Colorado County. She married Henry "Ted" Schoellmann on her twenty-third birthday.
    The couple had four children, though the first was stillborn and the fourth, Thomas, was born with severe mental and physical problems. Doctors gave Thomas only two years to live, but he lived to celebrate his eighteenth birthday. His care occupied much of his mother's attention and energy from 1951 until his death in 1970.
     In 1978, Elizabeth Schoellmann took a job as the librarian at St. Mary's School in Nada. That job led her to become active in the local history field. Two years later, she was named to the committee to produce a 100th anniversary book for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Nada, and she taught herself how to do research at  courthouses and in archives. The book came out in 1982 and sold out.
     Her husband died in 1989. When, shortly thereafter, Bill Stein, then archivist at this library, issued a call for volunteers to work on historical projects at a meeting of the Colorado County Historical Commission, she was the only person who responded. She was not then a member of the commission, and had been induced to attend the meeting as a prospective member. For the next seven years, she diligently worked on projects for the library, helping to locate and catalogue cemeteries, arranging for and helping to effect the microfilming of the records of Nada's Catholic church, pouring through countless old newspapers and extracting obituary information, and many other things. She was certainly the most faithful and effective volunteer the library had during the 1990s.
     She had to abandon her volunteer activities when her kidneys failed and she went on dialysis in early 1997. A few months later, she moved to Waco, where one of her daughters lived and where she could undergo her treatments more comfortably. In Waco, she produced two books. She was principal compiler of Christian Leopold: "Der Swithe Boob", a book of family history which was published in 2000. In 2002, she completed an autobiography, My Life.