Photo by Frank Prager
Marie Schickedanz with several of the quilts she has made by hand for her grandchildren.
ALTON — It is difficult to say which has been more exciting — Marie Schickedanz’s professional career or her retirement. At the age of 68, the area native has lived a full life in both areas.
Born at the old St. Joseph’s Hospital in Alton, Schickedanz attended St. Patrick’s grade school through ninth grade, then attended and graduated from Marquette Catholic High School. She graduated from Southern Illinois University with a major in mathematics and a minor in history and education.
Education has always been a priority for her. She went on to achieve her master’s degree in counseling as well as her specialist certification in education administration. Later in her career while she was raising children in addition to working full time, she still made time to do extensive work toward a doctorate degree at the University of Illinois.
Schickedanz’s career spanned 33 years in the field of education with the Alton School District. She began by teaching for three years at what was then North Junior High School, then moved to Alton Senior High School as a counselor. She also worked in alternative education and consulted for the school district for another three years, eventually retiring in 2005.
When asked about her views on education today, she says, “Kids were wonderful when I started and they’re wonderful today.” She is philosophical when she observes, “The world has changed but not the kids.” Shickedanz maintains an upbeat outlook on today’s world and says she prefers to “view the glass as half full.”
Retirement did not interrupt the pace of Shickedanz’s life. Constantly on the go, her interests include quilting, travel and jazz as well as her family.
Her son Dene is a teacher in the Edwardsville School District and her daughter Aimee is a doctor in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. She has five grandsons ranging from 20 months to age 10.
She is an accomplished quilter and a member of the Heartland Quilter’s Guild. Shickedanz not only quilts using a sewing machine but also quilts by hand, an increasingly rare craft these days. She points out the baby quilts she makes and the quilts she makes for her grandchildren are always hand-quilted.
Shickedanz attends up to 10 quilting “retreats” each year. Quilting retreats are events where quilters gather for several days to focus solely on their craft.
“I enjoy the camaraderie,” she says. “You get a lot of inspiration and no interruptions.”
She also travels extensively. She goes to Texas to see her daughter and grandchildren there. In addition, she has wintered in the warmer climates of Florida and Arizona. She has taken many cruises and has an upcoming trip to Ireland and Scotland planned.
An avid fan of jazz, she belongs to the St. Louis Jazz Club as well as the Juvae Jazz Society in Decatur, Ill. She says she has enjoyed music her entire life and attended the jazz festival in Tucson, Ariz., this past year.
A lifelong educator who still has great faith in today’s youth, Schickedanz says she always believed you should “teach kids like you hope people are teaching your kids.” She says she still occasionally hears from people she had in school who are grown with families of their own.
Pursuing a wide range of interests in her personal and professional life has led to fulfillment in many areas for this local senior. Shickedanz sums up the many aspects of her busy life up by simply saying: “I’m happy.”