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Ann M. Scheller

December 17, 1930 ~ May 21, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old


For 92 years, Ann Scheller personified the most important aspects of her Catholic faith (if not every major religion) – compassion, a commitment to the less fortunate, and a belief in the dignity of all regardless of their station in life. Because of this, Ann was an extraordinary woman who lived an extraordinary life.

On May 21, 2023, Ann died peacefully in her home, surrounded by many loved ones, comforted by their love, secure in her fate. Throughout her life, Ann sacrificed her needs for the interests of others especially her husband and children. She practiced these values in all her roles: daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and community member.

Ann (Palisin) Scheller was born on December 17, 1930, in Cleveland, Ohio. Ann was born approximately 10 months after her mother, Terezia (Teresa) Palisin, arrived in Ellis Island from Slovakia to join her husband and Ann’s father, John Palisin, who had been a coal miner. Because little Ann was fluent in both Slovak and English, she tutored her mother in English and assisted her with the naturalization process until Terezia became a United States citizen in 1940. As a young adult, she worked beside her mother and father in the family restaurant, while caring for her younger siblings: Helen, Irene, and Edward (deceased).

From her parents, Ann learned a set of principles that governed the rest of her life – the value of hard work, the importance of education, a commitment to family and a respect for the dignity of every individual regardless of their background. Combining intelligence with a strong work ethic, Ann achieved significant academic success throughout elementary and high school. In 1948, she matriculated at Marquette University, where she graduated with Honors, attaining a BA in English in 1952. After college, Ann returned to Cleveland, where she taught elementary school at St. Jude Larger.

But her teaching career would prove to be short-lived. While at Marquette, Ann met Arthur Scheller, a promising law student at the school, who shared her intelligence, work ethic and strong Catholic faith. The two were married in 1954 and started their life together in Manitowoc, Wisconsin where Arthur worked as a country lawyer. In 1958, the couple and their two infant daughters, Mary and Helen, moved to the Chicago area so that Art could pursue his dream of becoming a law school professor.

In 1959, the couple purchased a home in Park Ridge with as many bedrooms as they could afford with the dream of raising a large family. During their marriage, Ann and Arthur raised eight children in that same home including Mary, Helen, Art, Steve, Suzanne, Fritz, John and Raissa. The couple lost another child, Teresa, at birth.

From Mary’s birth to Raissa’s college graduation, some 37 years, Ann took on the incomprehensible responsibility of loving and feeding, grooming, and clothing eight individuals, each unique in their needs, from infancy to adulthood. In doing such, Ann consistently put her children’s needs before her own. Ann was always the last to eat, the last to sleep, and the last to buy clothes for herself. In so many ways, both great and small, she exemplified what motherhood means – a daily devotion to the needs and advancement of one’s children.

When her beloved children reached adulthood, she again demonstrated such a commitment as “Nana” to her 12 grandchildren (Zachary, John, Matt, Hannah, Sarah, Art IV, Madeleine, Ian, Idexa, Marshall, Jackson and Presley), and as “Mom” to her beloved daughter and son-in laws (Steve, Mark, Nadine, Pajet, Bill (deceased), Marita, Rebecca, and Christopher). In her last days, Ann’s love was returned in kind by her family who gathered from places near and far to be by her side. Just as she had done throughout their lives, they fed her, bathed her, comforted her, and loved her.

To say Ann was a devoted mother to her children and their families, while true, obscures a greater truth – Ann was not only a mother to them, but a mother to all who crossed her path. With a heart that knew no bounds and a spirit marked by generosity, Ann consistently administered to those in need. After her husband’s death in 1990 and her children’s transition to adulthood, Ann demonstrated her commitment to others through her work for the Church and her community. She volunteered as a Lector and Minister of Care for St. Paul of the Cross Church. Well into her late 80’s, Ann worked as a Eucharist Minister bringing communion to the sick, elderly and home bound. She also dedicated her time at the Center of Concern, an organization devoted to the care of the elderly, disabled and homeless. She also acted as Board Member of the Center and was recognized for her work by that important organization as the Woman of the Year. She also found time to volunteer as an Officer of the Park Ridge Catholic Women's League, an Election Judge, and a member of the AOW Honor Guard. Through her work, Ann’s compassion and gentleness were evident to all and in turn she was beloved by all. To paraphrase Yeats, so many loved her moments of glad grace, with a love not false but true.

The significance of Ann’s story is found not only in her boundless heart but also in her extraordinary spirit and talents. Because of her great mind, Ann’s life was marked by intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge. She was an avid reader and constant learner. Blessed with powerful charm, she took an avid interest in everyone she met. She had a unique ability to make all who she encountered feel that they were the most special person in that moment and to Ann they were.

While it is true that Anne’s life was one of sacrifice and often toil, it was also one of laughter, joy, and vitality. She drank Mate de Coca (Coca Leaf Tea) at Machu Picchu in her sixties, canoed among the mangroves in her eighties and drove her Honda into her nineties. She was fiercely independent, always self-reliant, a recalcitrant perfectionist, and a passionate sports fan. And she could write. From her endless cards to her texts, Ann wrote with elegance and lyricism. And like all great writers, her writing conveyed so much – often love and humor – in painstakingly, but beautifully crafted phrasing.

Ann was forever thoughtful. She never failed to send cards on special occasions, as well as candies at Christmas, Easter, and the rarely celebrated St. Nicholas Day. With 8 children, their loved ones, and 12 grandchildren, she was well known in the Park Ridge Post Office. When she finally stopped driving, she would walk to that post office, with cards or packages in hand. In a life defined by lovely gestures, one simple, but consistent act captures Ann perfectly. As her extended family grew well into adulthood, some even past the age of social security eligibility, Ann still called them on their birthday to sing Happy Birthday.

Like all great stories, Ann’s life was a tale of love and sacrifice, perseverance, and struggle. Her story began in the arms of an immigrant couple, living in a Cleveland tenement, and ended in the embrace of her loved ones in her home of 64 years. And like many great stories, it was the life led in between that made all the difference -- to love unconditionally, to strive ceaselessly, to live joyously, and to sacrifice endlessly. And along the way, to treat all with dignity and to see all with the love of their Maker.

Just as Ann’s memory is a blessing, it also is an obligation for those whose lives have been touched by her. Receiving the gift of her love calls on each one us to live a life of love and devotion, compassion, and commitment. As Ann discovered, answering such a call is the only way to live. Quite simply, Ann was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life.

In Ann’s honor, please consider donating in lieu of flowers to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago at:  

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Memorial Visitation
June 2, 2023

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Ryan-Parke Funeral Home
120 S. Northwest Hwy.
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Funeral Mass
June 3, 2023

12:30 PM
St. Paul of the Cross Church (Park Ridge)

Private Interment


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