Obituary Details

Maureen Ilonka Schandert

November 8, 1955 - April 8, 2020

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Maureen Ilonka Schandert Obituary

Maureen Ilonka Schandert, 64, of Raleigh, NC, died peacefully in her home on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, surrounded by her beloved family after a long battle with cancer. She will be remembered first and foremost as a dedicated servant to our Lord and Savior, a blessed and incredible mother and wife to her children and husband, and an endearing friend to all who knew her. Her smile and her laugh filled the room and were contagious to anyone around her. Her greatest joy on earth came from serving and praising the Lord, raising her children, living life with her husband, and spending time with her family and friends. Her life’s work and servant heart can be reflected in 1 Peter 4:10-11 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms…If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

Maureen was born on November 8, 1955 in Herlong, CA while her father was stationed at Herlong Army Base (now Sierra Army Depot). For most of her early life, Maureen grew up in Ellicott City, MD. She was a Girl Scout (and very proud of it!), member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, life guard, and she enjoyed many activities such as tennis, swimming, and skiing, just to name a few. She attended Mt. Hebron High School, excelling in academics and tennis, and voted ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ of her senior class from which she graduated with honors. She went on to Gettysburg College where she was a standout tennis player and team captain all four years, member of Chi Omega sorority, and graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1977. She then attended the Physician Assistant (P.A.) program at Essex Community College, graduating with a degree as a physician assistant in 1980.

She met her husband, Rainer Schandert, while both were on a ski trip to Sun Valley, ID. Skiing was a passion both Maureen and Rainer shared, and Maureen was an excellent skier! They were married on August 23, 1980 and would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary later this year. After marrying, Maureen, who had been working at her father’s family medical practice in Baltimore, MD, then moved to Charlottesville, VA where Rainer lived and was working. As the physician assistant field was fairly new and PA’s not yet allowed to practice in Virginia at the time, Maureen conducted research at the University of Virginia and worked as a medical transcriptionist for a local doctor’s office. Her first child, Alexander, was born in Charlottesville, VA in 1986. She and her family then moved to Hampton Township, NJ where her second child, Laura, was born in 1991. With both children, Maureen was able to fulfill her lifelong dream of being a stay-at-home mom, of which she often said was her greatest accomplishment!

Maureen moved with her family to Raleigh, NC in 1992 for Rainer’s work. While her children were younger, she was heavily involved in their schools as PTA President at Leesville Elementary School, ‘room mom’, and supported her children’s academics in countless other ways as well. Maureen ensured her children not only had first a dedicated Christian faith and love for the Lord, but also ensured her children were always learning and embracing creativity (days off school were many times spent doing crafts before going to a park or out in the yard!), all while developing a love for the great outdoors. As her kids’ number one fan, she could often be found on the soccer field sidelines, cheering on both of her children as they grew and played soccer, traveling around the country doing so.

As her children grew older, she fulfilled yet another lifelong dream, to teach preschool, which she did at both Our Savior Lutheran Church Preschool in Raleigh, NC, followed by Hope Lutheran Church Preschool in Wake Forest, NC. Eventually she again worked as a medical transcriptionist while her children were in their teenage years and beyond, giving her the ability to work from home, for which she was very grateful. Maureen remained a medical transcriptionist (contractor) for Raleigh-Capitol Ear, Nose, and Throat up until her cancer returned in February of 2020.

Maureen, along with her husband Rainer, was an avid member of Hope Lutheran Church in Wake Forest, NC, where she taught Sunday School for 3 and 4-year-olds for many years (which she adored), taught 5th and 6th grade confirmation classes, was a frequent lay reader, former member of the Ministry Leadership Team, Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T) member, and member of the ‘Stitches of Hope’ sewing and quilting group where she made many endearing friendships. She adored her church and the countless friends and memories she made there. Additionally, Maureen (along with Rainer), was a member of Raleigh Community Bible Study (C.B.S), where she co-led a women’s Bible study group with her very dear friend, Lois Hinton. Maureen and Rainer made countless friendships over the years at both church and their Bible study and she was so grateful for both.

Among her many passions, Maureen loved to quilt, sew, scrapbook, and knit, and she spent countless hours in her sewing room where she could often be found making something for a family member, friend, or someone in need. Additionally, she had a passion for genealogy, always interested in learning about her heritage and meeting any new found family members she could. She also loved to be outside in her yard, gardening, mowing the lawn, tending to her many plants and flowers, and spending time with her dogs! Some of her most favorite days were those spent with her family and her dogs out in the yard or on her back porch, enjoying fresh air and loving each other’s company.

Maureen unfortunately was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in February 2019. As the true fighter she always was, she chose the most aggressive therapy and underwent intense chemotherapy throughout spring and summer 2019, followed by months of radiation throughout fall and winter 2019. Despite a clear scan in January 2020, in mid-February 2020 she was found to have relapsed, progressive disease. She was hospitalized 2 weeks and then returned home with hospice for 5 weeks, surrounded by her family and in the comfort of her own home.

Maureen was preceded in death by her father, Dr. Matyas Relle, M.D., former Captain, US Army, and her mother, Anne Marie O’Brien Relle.

She is survived by her loving husband, Rainer, and her two beloved children, Laura and Alexander, all of Raleigh, NC ; her brothers Brian (Mary Lou) Relle of Potomac, MD, and Paul (Tracy) Relle of Hopkinton, MA; nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and her adored German Shepherd, Chief.

A private graveside service will be held on April 14, 2020 at 1pm at Raleigh Memorial Gardens. Due to restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, a full funeral service at Hope Lutheran Church in Wake Forest, NC followed by a graveside remembrance, will take place at a later date once the restrictions of the pandemic have lifted.

Still to be determined and in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Maureen to an organization that will be named prior to her formal funeral. The family is especially grateful to her oncologist, Dr. JoEllen Speca, MD, her radiation oncologist, Dr. Justin Wu, MD, and the staff at UNC Rex Hospital who treated Maureen throughout her journey with cancer, as well as the Heartland Hospice staff, specifically her daily nurse and nurse aide who helped care for Maureen nearly every day of the last 5 weeks of her life.

Maureen will be missed so very deeply by her family, friends, and all who knew her; yet, we celebrate her life knowing she is with our Lord and Savior in heaven, praising and glorifying Him, free from any pain and discomfort. May the incredible joy and happiness that Maureen brought to this earth and the example she set in servanthood to our Lord live on through those who knew her. Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
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Chris (Rogers) Rakes
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April 22, 2020
We are so very sorry to hear about Maureen’s passing. Our deepest condolences go out to Laura, Alex and Rainer. We remember Maureen fondly as such a lovely woman and treasured member of our Magellan family experience.

Chris Rakes and Mackenzie, Kendal & Bob Rogers
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Carrie Alvis
Posted on:
April 15, 2020
Our condolences to Rainer, Alex, and Laura from the Alvis Family. Maureen was such a loving and kind person. She taught both of our girls Sunday School at Hope Lutheran Church and she taught our older daughter in Confirmation class. She was such an inspiration and she will be greatly missed. Our prayers go out to you all. -Jerry, Carrie, Helen, and Rachel
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Joan McMaster
Posted on:
April 14, 2020
Condolences to Alex and to his family. You will be in our prayers. Regards, Joan McMaster
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Debbie
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April 14, 2020
Lit a candle in memory of Maureen Ilonka Schandert
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Beatrice Z. Martin
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April 13, 2020
Maureen was a true blessing to me. May God grant you his peace.
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Ann Thompson
Posted on:
April 10, 2020
How can one find sufficient words to express the depth of the gift of Maureen? Though her first priority in life was her family, she served tirelessly in her church and Bible study group bringing abundant blessing to all. Her first ministry priority was children. She taught many preschoolers in the Hope Lutheran Preschool and in Sunday School. Her students would always rush to greet "Miss Maureen" whenever they saw her, even as they matured and she always stopped everything to embrace them. She thoroughly enjoyed leading children's church. Her service to her Confirmation groups helped them build a firm faith foundation that will carry them through like. Miss Maureen's legacy of faith will ripple out through many generations.

Maureen's engaging smile and compassion embraced adults as well. She took time to listen carefully to others, affirm and encourage them. She took notice of people who were venturing into new areas of service or learning a new skill and took time to teach, encourage, and empower them. A very gracious and grateful lady, she took time to thank people for service or care she received. During her year of chemo she would arrive for treatments with homemade cookies and chocolate for the staff.

Sewing brought Maureen joy. She loved quilting. She was especially pleased to welcome new babies with a quilt, honor Confirmands on their Confirmation, to make baptism quilts for children in her church, and to make quilts for her family. When children or her former students were in distress, she made a quilt for them. A patient teacher, she taught people to sew and took time to help others learn to make t-shirt quilts, not an easy task. During her year of chemo she delighted in making breast cancer quilts to encourage others, some of whom she met taking chemo and only knew their first names.

Maureen's dedication to service in Community Bible Study blessed so many lives. An excellent student of the Word, scripture was embedded in her heart. She was an amazing shepherd to the ladies in her group and formed treasured relationships with other leaders. As a faithful prayer warrior her intercession meant so much to all for whom she prayed.

The light of Christ shone through Maureen. She invested so much of herself in service and could be very serious when necessary. She was also a delightful friend and so much fun to be around! We will all miss her precious laugh. She was insightful and wise. Sending cards was important to her and she always included meaningful personal notes. A card from Maureen was always a keeper.

I am deeply grateful that God shared Maureen with me. I will always treasure our friendship and the precious time we shared. She will remain wind beneath my wings.
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