Marcia Gae Schmitt, daughter of the late Harvey and Phyllis Erickson formerly of Alexandria and Morris, passed away unexpectedly following a fall on February 2, 2023 at the age of 75. Marcia Gae was given a double first name after that of Phyllis's first doll. Growing up in Morris was uneventful. She did all the usual things of playing with dolls, riding bikes and being involved in many extra-curricular activities including gymnastics, band, choir, speech, class plays and church youth groups. After graduation she fulfilled a childhood dream, becoming a nurse after attending Northwestern Hospital School of Nursing, receiving her 3-yr RN degree. After a year as an operating nurse her career moved to critical care and then trauma nursing, her great love. She lived in Europe for four years following her marriage to an Air Force officer and worked as a nurse at a Royal Air Force hospital. Once back in the U.S., Marcia Gae returned to trauma nursing in St. Petersburg, Florida, and worked with the ER team that pioneered having EMT’s starting IV’s and additional field medical treatments. She treated countless residents who were involved in traffic accidents and would correct people who said old people lived in St. Petersburg. She said they lived in Miami and their parents lived in St. Petersburg!
She met Tom Schmitt when he was visiting his mother in Florida, leading to a second marriage and a move to Milwaukee, WI. The move also brought a career change to nursing administration requiring a return to college on weekends for a year to get her 4-yr BS. Health issues due to stress led to her retirement from nursing and exploring her second loves of knitting and needlework.
Marcia Gae and Tom bought a home in San Diego for future retirement. Those plans changed when Tom asked Harv and Phyl to stay with them during winter months only to find out they wanted to remain in Alexandria. On a subsequent visit to Alexandria, Marcia Gae happened to see a home across from Knute Nelson for sale and called Tom the next day to tell him they were new homeowners. They sold the San Diego home and moved to Alexandria, bringing them closer to Marcia Gae’s family and friends. It also led to a second career when she opened a yarn shop, first in her home and then downtown as Viking Yarn. When she wanted to devote more time to family she closed the store and became a sales rep for four companies in an 8-state region which continued until shortly before cancer claimed Tom’s life in 2005.
Retirement again allowed more time for family, friends and volunteering with United Way, The Senior Center, First Lutheran Church and Knute Nelson Retirement Home. She returned to work owning Brophy Bay Gas Station for a short time, managing The Alexson Apartments with her brother Craig, and finally as Director of The Senior Center. During this time she followed in her father's footsteps and was the first woman admitted to the Golden K Kiwanis service organization in Alexandria, serving in many roles including President and currently as Secretary for a second time. Her retirement from The Senior Center in 2018 was followed by a part-time position at First Lutheran Church until multiple issues with collapsing vertebrae led to her final retirement from work but not from working as she continued volunteering with her church, making sure The Senior Center was properly decorated, and knitting sweaters for friends and families. She was giving to others until the end. Sadly, her neighbor found her on the floor when she stopped by to take her grocery shopping for an upcoming funeral luncheon she was organizing.
Marcia Gae was preceded in death by her husband Tom, parents, aunts and uncles and is survived by her brothers Rick (Susan), Ivins, UT, Dave (Mary), Brooklyn Park, MN, Craig (Celeste), Brooklyn Park, MN and Jay (Felicia), Christchurch, NZ. In lieu of flowers memorials preferred to Alexandria Senior Center, United Way of Alexandria or First Lutheran Church Building Fund.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, April 23, 2023, 1:00 - 4:00 PM at the Anderson Funeral Home. Visitation will continue on Monday, April 24, 2023, 10:00 - 11:00 AM at First Lutheran Church with a Memorial Service at 11:00 AM. Burial will be at Kinkead Cemetery.