School bids final goodbye as it
celebrates the life of Bonnie Schuette
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
With students lining the aisle of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City, parents, students, and staff of Sacred Heart Cathedral School bid farewell May 27 to Bonnie Schuette; mother, daughter, wife, teacher, and friend.
A teacher at Sacred Heart for more than 25 years, she served as Head Teacher during the past two years. She succumbed to cancer four days after the last day of school.
“What can I say about teaching in a Catholic School?” she once wrote. “When one has Jesus as a partner, a mentor, and guide, and He can be shared daily within the classroom, why teach anywhere else?”
Just a week prior to the end of the school year, the eighth grade class honored Schuette and Kelly Gobin for “being our inspiration this year.”
Born in Spearville to Matt and Barbara Schomaker, Schuette attended Dodge City Community College and St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City. Her first teaching position was at St. Anne Catholic School in Olmitz; she later moved to Phillipsburg, Kan., where she taught at the local grade school.
In 1977 she began teaching at Sacred Heart Cathedral School, and in 1978 she married Bob Schuette.
“I started out when Sisters were a part of the school,” she told the Register in 2000. “They were always a source of inspiration.
“I think I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I think it probably goes back to several of my grade school teachers and the fun I had with them.”
Her Mass of Christian Burial was as much a sad goodbye as it was a celebration of her life, a life that allowed her the opportunity to be the same inspiration to countless children that she once received from her teachers.
“We gather this morning sad, but I think we also gather this morning grateful,” said Father Skalsky, the main celebrant. “Grateful for the gift that Bonnie has been to us. Grateful for the way that God blessed her, and for the way that God blessed us through her.”
Father Skalsky was assisted by Fathers John Strasser and Henry Hildebrandt, as well as Deacon Dwaine Lampe.
From the 2000 interview, it was apparent that the welfare of the children were in the forefront of her mind. She expressed concern about the growing popularity of the internet, and how it might distract children from their studies.
But of more concern to Schuette were the dangerous extracurricular activities that tempt many children as they enter their middle teens. “I most worry about the effects of pressure on kids to use drugs and alcohol and to join gangs,” she said. “My parents and grandparents didn’t have to worry about that.”
Worries such as these pushed Schuette to even more effectively prepare students for the next grade. “I want a child to know that all of them can learn, each in different modes and speed. If I can teach children to believe in themselves, I’ve taught them about as much as I can.”
Schuette has three children: Scott, Jennifer, and Kitrina, all of whom graduated from Sacred Heart, and two grandchildren.
At the conclusion of Mass, Schuette’s husband, Bob, shared a moving tribute.
From the moment she was diagnosed with abdominal cancer, he said, “every kiss or hug that I could get, I took and it was special. Every day when I came home and she was there, it was special.
“Scott, Jennifer, and Kitrina, I don’t have to say this but I will: Your mother loved you more than anything in the world. She is so proud of every one of you. She will be with you always.”
Bob Schuette offered his sincere gratitude to numerous people, including the school staff, the clergy, and the “thousands” of people who have supported his wife through her illness.
“Matt and Barb,” he said, addressing his wife’s parents, “I just want to thank you for the privilege I had of having your daughter as my wife for these almost 32 years. ...
“Bonnie, I love you. Thanks you so much for being my wife. We’re all going to miss you, but no one is going to miss more than I.”