Mary Ellen Schmitz

Mary Ellen Schmitz, our mother, mother-in-law, grandma, great-grandma, sister, aunt, and friend passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 2, 2024, at Comforts of Home in Menomonie with her family by her side. She was 96 years old.
Mom was born on March 23, 1928, to Maurice and Lillian (Blystad) Coughlin in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was the sister of Donald, Bernard, Helen, Ambrose, Jane, Jack, Richard, and Sally. Mom graduated from Aquinas High School in La Crosse in 1946. After graduating, she performed secretarial work at Allis-Chalmers and worked as a bookkeeper at Conrad’s Retail Fur Store in La Crosse until she married Donald Schmitz on December 26,1953 at St. James Catholic Church in La Crosse. We often kidded her about planning her wedding for the day after Christmas. Our parents were married for 65 years.
After our parents were married, they lived in Readstown, Wisconsin, for seven years. During those years, their first four children were born, Cindy, Debbie, Steve, and Tom. Their family moved to Elmwood, Wisconsin, in July 1960. Three more children were added to their family, Fred, Nancy, and David. In July 2019, Dad and Mom moved to the Comforts of Home Assisted-Living Facility in Menomonie, Wisconsin.
While her children and grandchildren were growing up, Mom enjoyed attending their concerts, sporting events, First Communions, Confirmations, and graduations. She, especially, loved the Christmas concerts that the elementary school held. Over the years, Mom enjoyed attending her high school class reunions at Aquinas. For many years, Mom and Neva Krook, golfed early on weekday mornings at the Spring Valley Golf Course. She said they wanted to be done with their round of golf before “the good golfers” arrived! When she was 55 years old, she took and passed swimming lessons. Scrabble was a favorite game of Mom’s so she would “rope in” anyone she could when they came to visit. We don’t think anyone in our family ever beat her (she wouldn’t even let the grandkids win).
Mom and Dad attended Sunday Mass along with daily Mass at their parish, Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Elmwood. She said it was a wonderful way to start their day. Her favorite spot to vacation was Treasure Island, Florida, where she met many women that she still corresponded with even after the trip became too difficult to drive. They also made many trips to Mesquite, Nevada, and would then venture to Oxnard, California to visit Steve’s family. Our parents also enjoyed making trips to Treasure Island Casino, and, once in a great while, even came home winners!
Mom is survived by her daughters, Cynthia (John) Sinz and Nancy Ousley along with her sons, Steven, Thomas (Jean), Frederic (Tali), and David; her son-in-law, Robert Wiinamaki; grandchildren Aaron Sinz, Michael Sinz (Allison Campbell), Sarah (Jess) Roberts, Amber (Jason) Jochimsen, Nicole (Richard) Collins, Matthew Schmitz, Alexis Schmitz, Christopher Schmitz (Brady Borowski), Danny (Leigh) Schmitz, Zachary (Amanda) Schmitz, Hayden (Stephanie) Schmitz, Katie Ousley, and Jacob Ousley (Nadya Van Vonderen); great-grandchildren Samuel, Elliot, Maya, Lydia, Jackson, James, Theo, Griffin, Hannah, Roland, Arlo, Winslow, and one more great-grandson due in September; sister, Sally Miller; brother, Richard (Helen) Coughlin; along with many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald in 2019, daughter, Debra in 2010; parents, Maurice and Lillian; in-laws, John and Estella Schmitz; brothers, Donald (Auralia, Verna), Bernard (Beverly, Beatrice), Ambrose (Mary), Jack (Florence); sister, Jane (Jack) Mueller; and sister, Helen, in infancy; sister-in-law, Peg Coughlin; brother-in-law, Vilas Miller; brother-in-law, Jack (Mary Ann) Schmitz; nephew, Timothy Coughlin; niece, Cheryl Schmitz; and niece, Susan Jenkins.
Our family feels so blessed for all the memories we have of Mom and will miss her. We want to thank the employees of Comforts of Home, both the assisted-living and memory care units, along with Olive Grove Hospice, for taking such good care of Mom.
Funeral Mass will be 11:00AM Wednesday, July 10, 2024 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Elmwood with Rev. Anbu Shanmugam officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Visitation will be from 10:00AM until the time of services at the church on Wednesday.
Rhiel Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Elmwood, is serving the family.
Condolences may be made online at


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