Cover photo for Jean Bonniman McElroy Schmid's Obituary
1935 Jean 2023

Jean Bonniman McElroy Schmid

May 2, 1935 — October 18, 2023

Jean Bonniman McElroy Schmid, of Normandy Farms Estates, formerly of Broad Axe, passed away on October 18, 2023.

Born May 2, 1935 in Philadelphia to the late Harold and Bertha (nee McCahan) McElroy, Bonnie spent her early years in Mount Vernon, New York before returning to Philadelphia where she attended Cheltenham High School.  A devoted Nittany Lion, Bonnie proudly graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1956.  As a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, she made lifelong friends she cherished for over sixty years.  In 1959 she married the late Norman W. Schmid, whom she met while both were teaching in the Abington School District.  Well-matched in intellect and rarely hesitant to voice their differences, they were strong partners and always saw eye-to-eye on the most important things in life.  They were married for 59 years, until Norm’s death in 2018.

While raising her family, Bonnie gave generously of her time and efforts to the many organizations she supported.  She served as a Girl Scout troop leader, classroom volunteer, and field trip chaperone. She campaigned tirelessly for the March of Dimes, guided tours at the Peter Wentz Farmstead for decades, delivered many a meal for those in need through Meals on Wheels, and actively supported and participated in the activities of the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society. She was an ardent supporter of the election process and volunteered at the polls well into her 80’s.

In the late ‘70’s, Bonnie earned her certification as a travel agent, opening the door to vast opportunities to travel the world.  For over forty years, she enjoyed countless trips with family, friends, and colleagues and explored six of the seven continents, visiting Great Britain, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia, Australia, India, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia.

As exciting and interesting as world travel was, Bonnie found nothing quite so special as her beloved Ocean City, New Jersey.  From her days as a teenager working at Chris’s to summers spent lounging on the beach with her family, Bonnie could always be spotted walking the beach at a pace few could keep, floating peacefully in the ocean, or relaxing, sans sunscreen, in her webbed beach chair.  Inevitably, she was always the last to leave the beach.

Philadelphia was always home to Bonnie.  She loved the city and always appreciated and enjoyed so much of what it had to offer.  From the historical sites and stately homes of Old City to the Walnut Street Theatre and the Philadelphia Orchestra, she took advantage of every opportunity to attend events and to be part of the city’s vibrant life.

As busy as she was, Bonnie always made time to enjoy her two favorite pastimes:  bridge and gardening.  Those who played bridge with her would attest to the fact that she was not just an avid bridge player, but also an excellent one.  She played at every opportunity with her many, long-standing bridge groups for fifty years.  Bonnie also created and tended a beautiful and dauntingly extensive garden for fifty years in Broad Axe.  She grew a wide variety of vegetables and flowers each year, sharing it all with her neighbors and friends.

Throughout all her interests and pursuits, Bonnie was a steadfast and supportive friend to many.  These long-lasting and deep friendships sustained her and were a source of great happiness.  With her sharp wit and unambiguous commentary, Bonnie made a lasting impression on the people she met. She was not for the faint-of-heart; her opinions, like her will, were formidable, but she was the most constant and fiercely loyal friend one could hope to have.

Bonnie was, above all, a much-loved wife, mother, and Nana.  She is survived by her two daughters, Jeanne Schmid of Broad Axe and Nancy Calkins of Phoenix, Arizona, as well as her two grandchildren, Henry and Claire Calkins.  She was predeceased by her much-loved brother, Harold McElroy, Jr.

Services will be private.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her name to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Peter Wentz Farmstead Society.

Arrangements by Shaeff-Myers Funeral Home, Inc.

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