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Tribute for Mary Schmidtke

Lieutenant-Colonel Mary Schmidtke was promoted to glory on Monday 6 February 2023, aged 86, having served as a Salvation Army officer for 64 years. Mary’s family was at her side when Jesus called her home, and she now resides at peace in his presence.

Noreen Mary Schmidtke was born on 9 December 1936 in Geelong. In 1958, as cadets in the Courageous session, Mary and her husband Edward entered Officer Training College in Melbourne from their home corps of Geelong West.

Mary and Edward were blessed with their first child in September 1958 and, following their commissioning on 12 January 1959, took up their first appointment as corps officers at Carnarvon (WA). In the early years of their officership, Mary and Edward were blessed with two more children – Karen (1960) and Helen (1963). Between January 1960 and February 1964, Mary and Edward served as corps officers at Rivervale and Kalgoorlie (WA).

Called to serve on the mission field, Mary and Edward sailed for Hong Kong in January 1964. Over the following 16 years, they served in the Hong Kong and Macau Command, and both became fluent in Cantonese. Their appointments were at the Tai Hang Tung Centre (1964); Thompson Youth Hostel and Public Relations Kowloon (August 1964-May 1967); Corps Officers Kowloon Central (May 1967 to August 1970); District Officers, Hong Kong and Cheung Chau (pro tem August 1970); and Property Department (September 1970 to December 1979).

Returning to Australia in 1980, Mary and Edward both served in the Public Relations Department at Territorial Headquarters Australia Southern Territory (1980) and then in the Property Department (1981). In 1986, Mary took on her own appointment as Assistant Divisional Home League Secretary and Divisional Secretary for the Order of the Silver Star, Eastern Victoria Division. In 1987, an appointment within the Finance Department was made as additional to these roles. From January 1991 to December 1998, Mary served in the Personnel Department, the Property Department and as an Executive Officer at Territorial Headquarters Australia Southern Territory. After 42 years of active service, Mary and Edward retired on 1 January 2001.

In her retirement, Mary enjoyed being with family and encouraging the women in the corps at South Barwon.

Our love and prayers and our heartfelt sympathy are extended to Lieut-Colonel Edward, Paul and Dianne, Majors Karen and Greg Saunders, Helen, and their families, extended family and friends.

“Her master said to her, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful ... Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23)

A funeral service of Thanksgiving & Celebration of Lieut-Colonel Mary’s life will be held on Wednesday 15 February 2023 at 1pm at South Barwon Corps (Vic.). The live-streaming link for the celebration of life service is:


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