Gladys Schwenk, 98

Gladys Louisa Schwenk, age 98, of Sturgis, Mich., passed away June 29, 2009, at Thurston Woods Village in Sturgis.

She was born Jan. 26, 1911, in Kalamazoo,  a daughter to the late Jacob and Elva Esther (Krupp) Schwenk.

Miss Schwenk began her education at the District No. 4 Leonidas Township School from 1917-1925. She attended Colon Public Schools for her high school years and graduated with the class of 1929 and was awarded valedictorian of her class. She continued her education at the Western State Teacher’s College (later renamed Western Michigan University) where she received a Limited Teaching Certificate in August of 1930 and a Life Teaching Certificate in August of 1935.

In February of 1940, she received a bachelor degree in social studies, English and geography from the Western Michigan University and a master degree in Elementary School Organization and Supervision from the University of Michigan in 1955. Miss Schwenk had a never ending desire to learn and further her education and continued postgraduate studies at St. Francis College in Fort Wayne, Ind., Ball State Teacher’s College in Muncie, Ind.,  Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Miss Schwenk began her 46 year teaching career in 1930. For two years she taught all grades at the District No. 1 M.L.N.C. Simpson School from 1930-1932, from 1932-1935 she taught all grades at District No. 6 L Maple Grove School. She transferred to District No. 4 Colon Public Schools where she taught for six years. From 1935-1937 teaching fifth and sixth grades, 1937-1939, fourth, fifth and sixth grades and from 1939-1941 taught fourth and fifth grades.
Miss Schwenk joined the Sturgis Public Schools in 1941 where she taught for 35 years until her retirement in 1976. From 1941-1942 she taught second grade at Wenzel Elementary School, 1942-1952 fourth grade at Fourth Street Elementary School. In 1952 she went to Park Street Elementary School where she taught third grade until 1965. During this time she served the school as its principal and also served as principal of the two room school houses of Bogen School and White School. From 1965 until her eventual retirement in 1976, Miss Schwenk was the reading consultant for all the elementary grades in Sturgis Schools. Her office was located at the Reading Center in Wall School where she worked with not only children, but also teachers and she administered reading tests. She was proud to have been listed in the Who’s Who Biographical Record for School, District Officials in 1976.

She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Sturgis and had also attended the First Baptist Church in Colon and the Leonidas Community Church. She was a member of the Sturgis Woman’s Club and past member of the Magazine Guild of the Sturgis Hospital Auxiliary and the Commission on Aging Meals on Wheels Program, Business and Professional Women’s Club where she served as committee chairperson and secretary twice, American Association of University Women serving as program chairperson for two years and president for two years and Pi Lambda Theta Xi Chapter and Member at Large for 30 years.

She is survived by her brother, Lee (Katherine Joanna) Schwenk of Portage and several nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and two sisters, Florence Schwenk and Evelyn Schwenk.

The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.  Thursday at the Hackman Family Funeral Homes – Hackman Chapel, 114 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis, MI 49091, 269-651-2331 where funeral services celebrating the life of Gladys Schwenk will be held at 2 p.m. Friday. The Rev. Robert Keim of the First United Methodist Church in Sturgis will officiate. A graveside committal will follow the service at the Leonidas Cemetery in Leonidas.

The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mrs. Schwenk’s memory consider the First United Methodist Church, 200 Pleasant Ave., Sturgis, MI 49091.
The obituary is also at where personal messages of support may be left for the family.

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