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Margaret Schmitt, educator

Margaret A. Higgins Schmitt, 68, of Society Hill, an educator and volunteer, died of lung cancer Saturday at home. During her professional career, Mrs. Schmitt taught sixth graders at SS. Simon and Jude School in West Chester for five years; founded a kindergarten at St. Michael School in North Philadelphia, where she taught for four years; and was a reading consultant for the School District of Philadelphia, the Elwyn Institute in Media, and the Children's Literacy Initiative in Philadelphia.

Margaret A. Higgins Schmitt, 68, of Society Hill, an educator and volunteer, died of lung cancer Saturday at home.

During her professional career, Mrs. Schmitt taught sixth graders at SS. Simon and Jude School in West Chester for five years; founded a kindergarten at St. Michael School in North Philadelphia, where she taught for four years; and was a reading consultant for the School District of Philadelphia, the Elwyn Institute in Media, and the Children's Literacy Initiative in Philadelphia.

After retiring in the mid-1990s until she became ill in July, Mrs. Schmitt volunteered with outreach programs for the homeless and was a tutor. She helped prepare dozens of meals at Old St. Joseph's Church in Society Hill and later helped prepare more than 200 meals three times a week at the soup kitchen at Our Mother of Sorrows Church in West Philadelphia.

Mrs. Schmitt tutored children at Catholic schools in North Philadelphia and Camden and taught English as a second language at the Welcome Center in Philadelphia.

She served on the advisory board of Little Flower High School in Philadelphia and on the board of the San Miguel School in Camden.

Mrs. Schmitt graduated from Little Flower High School. After earning an associate degree from Gwynedd Mercy College, she worked as a medical secretary.

In 1961, she married John T. Schmitt. They met at a party as teenagers. His career in computer technology took them and their four children to several cities in the United States and to Mexico.

"We had 16 addresses in 17 years," he said. His wife liked new places and was always ready to go, he said. She was a great organizer and loved entertaining a crowd, he said.

In the 1980s, the couple were back living in Philadelphia when Mrs. Schmitt returned to Gwynedd Mercy and earned a bachelor's degree. She then earned a master's degree in early-childhood education from Chestnut Hill College.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Schmitt is survived by daughters Michelle and Megan; sons Brian and John; a sister; and a brother.

A Funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Vincent De Paul Roman Catholic Church, 109 E. Price St., Philadelphia. Friends may call from 9 a.m.

Donations may be made to Little Flower High School, 1000 W. Lycoming St., Philadelphia 19140.