Cover photo for Ernestine Schotsch's Obituary
Ernestine Schotsch Profile Photo

Ernestine Schotsch

d. August 23, 2022

Obituary of Helen Ernestine Schotsch Ernestine passed away in her sleep on August 23, 2022 at the age of 101 years and 6 months. She is survived by her sister Beth (97) of Manhattan, KS and brother Rea (93) of Louisville, KY; sons Kenneth Schotsch and wife Ellen Sisle of Philadelphia, PA, James Schotsch and wife Nita of Lakewood Ranch, FL, and Timothy Schotsch and wife Kim of New Orleans, LA; grandchildren Casie Schotsch Roell, Timothy Joseph Schotsch, Tyler Schotsch, Kadye Schotsch, Trevor Schotsch, and Emma Schotsch, great grandchildren Alyissa Schotsch and Kalee Schotsch and great-great grandchild Aurora Schotsch; along with nieces, nephews, cousins and their families. She is predeceased by her husband Joseph Schotsch, son J. Robert Schotsch, parents Robert E Alsup and Erna Schuhmann Alsup and brother Robert Alsup. Ernestine was born on March 4, 1921 in Bledsoe, TX. The family moved around and eventually settled in Hobbs, New Mexico during the Dust Bowl. Ernestine spent 10 years in the Hobbs school system. She went on to attend college at Eastern New Mexico Junior College for one year before transferring to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1942, the same year her sister Beth graduated from High School. After graduation, she moved to Carrizozo, New Mexico and was a high school teacher for 1-1/2 years before moving back to Albuquerque and teaching where her family resided at the time. She met US Army Air Force Staff Sargent Joseph Schotsch of Ohio in a Conga dance line at a USO in Albuquerque. They dated for a while until Joe decided that she was the one. He and Ernestine married on December 26, 1945. They spent their honeymoon driving to Ohio to meet Joe’s family then onto Pittsburgh, PA where Joe had a job. This brought her new experiences. She did not own a winter coat (didn’t need one in New Mexico). When Joe took her to Gimbels Department Store to buy one, it was her first time on an escalator. In 1948, they bought their house on Fairywood Street in Pittsburgh where they raised their four sons. Ernestine was active in the PTA at her boy’s elementary school and in their church. She was a part time seamstress at home making, mending, and tailoring clothes to supplement Joe’s income. In 1964 when her youngest son Timothy started First Grade, she decided to start teaching again to help pay for the college education of the older three boys. To teach after the 20-year respite, she had to begin as a substitute teacher and go back to school herself. Now, in addition to the job of being a wife and mother of four boys (meals, laundry, keeping house, parenting) she also had to prepare teaching plans, grade homework, take graduate courses for education at Carnegie Mellon University and, since the family only had one car, commute to school and university by bus. Life was hectic! Things did not ease up until the older boys began going off to college and Ernestine finally got her own car (a stick shift VW Beetle). Ernestine was a teacher for the Pittsburgh Public Schools for18 years. She taught hundreds of teenage girls, at the inner-city schools of Conroy Junior High and Allegheny High, the basics of sewing, cooking, money budgeting, and caring for a baby Ernestine did a lot of travelling in her lifetime. In her early years of marriage, she, Joe and sons made frequent overnight weekend trips to Ohio to visit Joe’s sister Agnes Schotsch Crawford, husband Paul and their family. Many happy times were spent playing cards, badminton, and eating. Every three years there was a two-week trek to visit her mother in Albuquerque, brother Bob (and wife Margaret) in St Francis, KS, sister Beth (and husband Holly) in Manhattan, KS, and brother Rea (and sister Geri) in Louisville, KY. Retirement presented opportunities for travel with AARP and church groups. Major tours included cruises to the Caribbean and the Panama Canal, bus trips to Alaska and Mount Rushmore, and flights to Sweden, Egypt, and Israel. She and Joe still traveled a lot by car visiting son Ken in Philadelphia, son Jim, in Morgantown, WV and son Tim in Pottstown, PA. After Joe’s death, Ernestine traveled to England. She also enjoyed spending time at Jumonville Christian Camp and Summer Retreat; her great grandchildren Alyissa and Kalee would join her. Visits to Ken was by Amtrak, to Jim (now in FL) by plane and to Tim by train or plane depending on location (PA, TX, or VA.) In 2006, she decided to move to ACTS Fort Washington, a Life Care Community north of Philadelphia, 15 minutes from her son Ken’s house. Ernestine thrived at ACTSFW. She was the President of the Resident’s Association for several years. There was always something to do: cards, Scrabble, Rummikub, bingo, crafts, and events to keep her busy. Dinner in the main dining room was a big deal; the residents would sit with different people every night; she carried a calendar book to plan out who she was eating with months in advance. The proximity to Ken meant less travel for holidays and the ability to attend special functions like Grandparents Day at Emma’s school (she even got to chat with Joe Paterno who was there with his granddaughter). Ernestine was always outgoing and social. In Fairywood, she belonged to a card club that met once a month to play 500 at member’s houses. She was active in the vSheraden Methodist Church attending regular services, special fellowship groups and picnics. She was a member of the Eastern Star, became Vice President of her chapter in Pittsburgh in 1992 and President in 1996. While President, she represented her chapter at the Supreme Assembly held in Grand Rapids, MI and a later one in Wichita, KS. In 1994 at the young age of 73, she received income tax training from the AARP and assisted fellow AARP chapter members in the preparation of their income taxes for the next ten years. Games were very much a part of Ernestine’s life. At large family gatherings, Spades, Hearts, Gin Rummy, and Estimation were always played at the dining room table after dinner. Candyland was a favorite with grandchildren before they graduated to cards. Bridge was a way to meet new people. If someone did not know how to play, she would teach them. When she got her first computer at age 86, she quickly learned how to play Scrabble and Euchre against the computer. Her first iPad at age 94 facilitated playing WordsWithFriends around the clock with family and others. At age 98, she decided to learn the game of Mahjong. She bested her son Ken at Rummikub on Saturday before she passed. The games kept her mind active and sharp till the end. People often ask what Ernestine’s secret to a long life was. Genetics played a part, but it was also her approach to life. Ernestine was a caring and loving person who did not hold a grudge and always saw the goodness in everyone. She never seemed to panic and accepted whatever circumstances life brought her way. Although realistic, she didn’t worry about what could not be changed. It was Ernestine’s wish that a Memorial Service be held for her at Acts Fort Washington, 735 Susquehanna Rd., Fort Washington, PA 19034. It is to be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday September 24, 2022 in the Auditorium/Chapel. Donations in her memory may be made to Jumonville Camp and Retreat Center,
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Acts Fort Washington Auditorium/Chapel

735 Susquehanna Road, Fort Washington, PA 19034

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