January 2, 1973 - August 25, 2020
Greta Clair Schenkel, 47, of Huntington, died at 7:50 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, at home. Born Jan. 2, 1973, in Kokomo, and diagnosed with Down syndrome at 6 weeks old, one doctor told her family that Greta might live to be 12 years old. Instead, she embarked on a decadeslong journey of shattering expectations and delighting her family, friends, and colleagues with sarcasm, spunky one-liners, and a love of craft supplies. A volunteer at Pathfinder Services for 21 years, she was a fixture at Kids Kampus, where she read to the children and helped with crafts. She was awarded the 2009 Herbert D. LaMont Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteerism and is the top honor from Pathfinder Services. Greta’s early years were an era when developmentally disabled children were marginalized or, as was recommended to her parents, institutionalized. But Greta began her education journey at Johnny Appleseed School in Fort Wayne, now Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana, a groundbreaking school started by parents who dreamed of an education and support system that would prepare their children to live independently in the community if they chose. She then enrolled in the Huntington County Community School Corporation, where her teacher, Judy Vanderspool Frishman, not only taught Greta to read but also introduced the class to life skills such as how to vote and how to call for help in an emergency. Greta graduated from Huntington North High School in 1991 — the first year developmentally disabled students could receive diplomas with the rest of their class. As a Viking, she was known as the girls' basketball team’s biggest fan, and when the team won the state basketball championship in 1990, Greta was included in team photos and took home a piece of the net. Greta participated in Special Olympics for bowling, swimming and basketball and was a member of the Jesters Theatre Group at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne for many years. She also was a member of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church and was known to write letters to Father Ron Rieder, the longtime pastor, expressing concern for her sisters’ choices and asking for his intercession. Those sisters, along with cousins, refined Greta’s sense of humor and ultimately made her crave her own independence. After her younger sister left the family home, Greta moved into an apartment of her own in 2001. She shopped and cooked for herself until recently, when the effects of Alzheimer’s disease — a common affliction among individuals with Down syndrome — made independent living more challenging. If Greta could add to her own Obituary, she would use her own catch phrase: “Just to let you no.” “Always love life, laugh always and comfort others.” Survivors include her parents, Kent and Sally Schenkel of Huntington; sisters Anna Morrow of Granger and Liza (Matthew) Miller of Carmel; and her grandmother, Betty Schenkel of Huntington. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews who loved her so dearly as did her cousins and a myriad of friends! She is preceded in death by grandparents Marion Schenkel and Joe and Georgia Shape. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 860 Cherry St., Huntington, Indiana. A Mass of Christian burial will immediately follow at noon Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020 at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church with Father Tom Eckert officiating. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Huntington at a later date. Please follow local recommendations for face coverings and social distancing during all events. Preferred memorials are to or Pathfinders’ Kids Kampus, in care of Bailey-Love Mortuary, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN 46750.
Greta Clair Schenkel, 47, of Huntington, died at 7:50 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, at home. Born Jan. 2, 1973, in Kokomo, and diagnosed with Down syndrome at 6 weeks old, one doctor told her family that Greta might live to be 12 years old.... View Obituary & Service Information
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