Margaret Schultz, First Woman to Serve as Administrator of Emmaus Homes, Dies at 88

Margaret Schultz, during her time at Emmaus

Margaret M. Schultz, 88, the first woman to serve as administrator of Emmaus Homes, died Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, at Cedarcrest Manor, Washington, Mo.

Born Dec. 7, 1932, in Charlotte, Mo., Schultz was the daughter of the late George and Mathilda Louisa (nee Rohlfing). Shauna O’Toole, director of development at Emmaus, wrote the following article, celebrating the life of Margaret Schultz. It is reprinted here with permission.

Emmaus pauses to celebrate the life of Margaret M. Schultz, who served in leadership at Emmaus for 27 years. Margaret entered the eternal care of God on December 10, 2020. Whether it was the women and men of Emmaus or her fellow employees, Schultz was guided by her conviction that people are all children of God.

When she joined the Emmaus staff in 1972, Schultz brought her experience from earning a doctorate in clinical psychology and her prior work in the field of disabilities. First, she served at the Emmaus campus in Marthasville by overseeing training, care, and treatment. Next, she became the first woman to serve as administrator of the campus.

Emmaus is known for serving people long-term, sometimes for decades. This can lead to relationships which are far deeper than most of the human services field.

Schultz at her installation as adminstrator of Emmaus.

“I know them all as individuals,” Margaret said at her retirement in 1999. “I feel like I remember what they were like years ago.” One current Emmaus employee who knew Margaret remembers that “she grieved clients passing as if they were a member of her own family.”

Schultz wasn’t only a tender friend; she was also known as being “tough but fair.” Since the 1970’s, services for people with developmental disabilities have continued to evolve, as they do to this day. Schultz helped guide the team at Emmaus through establishing day programs, becoming accredited, and establishing some of the first off-campus homes.

With a dislike for paperwork, Schultz preferred to be hands-on. She was willing to get on bended knee and clean up if needed, and enjoyed joining the women and men of Emmaus during daily activities such as listening to music. She also participated in the campus’s many activities over the decades: Founders Day, Bazaar, Christmas celebrations, and Fourth of July.

Her commitment to her friends was perhaps most seen in her weekly practice of picking up clients from their homes on campus and taking them up the hill to the chapel. If needed, she would carry them into the building.

As anyone who has spent time with the people at Emmaus will tell you, there is a two-way exchange of learning and growth. Schultz said she learned generosity of spirit by watching how the clients would help each other or give away their collection money from chapel.

It is clear that Margaret Schultz’s pioneering spirit, loving heart, and commitment to Emmaus’ mission led to the legacy we embrace at Emmaus today: “serving the whole person for their whole life.”

This article was written with reference to an article by Karen Cernich, published in The Missourian on December 15, 1999. Much thanks to Cathie Shoppenhorst and Dawn Edington for their help finding reference materials.

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