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Published: Thursday, 6/12/2003

Country Day registrar was school ' heart, soul'

Stephanie Shema, 70, who as registrar at Maumee Valley Country Day School for more than a decade kept operations running smoothly and befriended students and faculty, died of pancreatic cancer yesterday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township.

“She was the heart and soul of the school,” said Beneth Morrow, former head of the Maumee Valley Country Day upper school.

Mrs. Shema of South Toledo retired as registrar and upper school executive secretary in 1991 after she developed multiple myeloma. Upper school pupils made a videotape of their daily activities and, looking into the camera, told Mrs. Shema how much they missed her.

“She and I just cried over that video, that the kids thought that much of her,” said her husband, John. The school's class of 1983 dedicated its yearbook to her.

“She was like a surrogate mother over there,” her husband said. “She did a marvelous job.”

Mrs. Shema baked birthday cakes for faculty members' birthdays. She threw parties for the whole school.

“She heard everything and knew everything that was going on,” Mrs. Morrow said. “She kept wonderful confidences. She gave tremendous advice, and she knew who to include on problems when they arose.”

In retirement, Mrs. Shema was a volunteer with the American Red Cross blood program and the Christ Child Society. As a member of the St. Luke's Hospital auxiliary, she worked in the gift shop.

She was a Roman Catholic and was involved in her church, St. Joan of Arc Church, where she was a Eucharistic minister, belonged to parish committees, and held elective office.

Surviving are her husband, John A., whom she married July 16, 1955; daughters, Ann Marie Hebda, Mary Wozniak, Stephanie Steigerwald, and Karen Hoover; sons, Michael, John A., Jr., and Steven; mother, Ann Zupko; sister, Karen Zupko; brothers, Michael, David, and Dennis Zupko, and eight grandchildren.

The body will be in the Coyle Mortuary after 7 tonight, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Joan of Arc Church.

The family requests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township or the Multiple Myeloma Foundation.

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