Mary Jo Schweizer died on Saturday evening, Aug. 4, 2012, at the age 92, in the presence of her family at Bayberry Landing on Lake Chautauqua where she spent every summer of her life.
She was predeceased by her husband Frederick O. Schweizer who passed away this past Thanksgiving. They celebrated their 70th anniversary on June 28, 2011. Mary Jo is the daughter of the late Dorothy Douglass Miller and Frank Richmond Walton.
Mary Jo was born in Pittsburgh on Nov. 14, 1919 and was the elder of three siblings. She graduated from Winchester Thurston in 1937, from Briarcliff College in 1939 and then went to Carnegie Mellon where she majored in costume design and economics. While attending Carnegie Mellon, Mary Jo met Fred who had been assigned to Armstrong Cork Company's Pittsburgh Office. He asked for her hand in 1941, and with World War II looming, went off to mid-shipman school at Northwestern University. He was immediately sent to Pearl Harbor to be stationed on the U.S.S. Oklahoma. In June of 1941, Mary Jo graduated from Carnegie Mellon. Fred's leave for their wedding had been cancelled and he asked her if she would come to Hawaii to be married. Against her mother's wishes, Mary Jo traveled alone to Hawaii. The steamer, which arrived three days late for her wedding, was met by a Navy escort and Pataki leis. She married Fred the next day, June 28, 1941. In Hawaii she worked with the FBI.
Mary Jo Walton Schweizer
Dec. 7, 1941, dramatically reshaped their lives. For two months afterwards, Mary Jo helped with the injured and with naval communications, and then returned to Pittsburgh.
In Sept. 1945, Fred rejoined Armstrong and they were brought to Lancaster, Pa. She fell in love with the community and brought to it her Pittsburgh grace and hospitality.
She is survived by her daughter, Susan Hatch and son-in-law Ross of Hartford, Conn.; her son Fred Schweizer, Jr., of Darien, Conn.; four grandchildren, Coco Harris (John) of Wilmette, Ill., Tori Kramer (Mark), New York City and Freddie Schweizer III and Miller Schweizer of Darien, Conn.; three great grandsons, Alex and Griffin Harris and Owen Kramer; and her sister, Nancy Walton Follansbee of Pittsburgh.
She was predeceased by her brother, H. Miller Walton.
Mary Jo served on the boards of the Junior League and James Buchanan Foundation. She was Chairman of the Junior League Follies. For more than 10 years, she served as a "gray lady" for the Lancaster General Hospital.
She loved her summers at Lake Chautauqua, which began from infancy, and it was only appropriate the lake was where she spent her last days. Above all she loved family and traveling. She and Fred were fortunate to have traveled throughout the world. In the last 20 years, Mary Jo loved planning family trips to a different destination every Thanksgiving.
A memorial service in celebration of her life was held in Lancaster, Pa., at Saint James Episcopal Church on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 11 a.m. Her internment will be held in Arlington National Cemetery beside Fred. In lieu of flowers, Mary Jo asked donations be made to Chautauqua Foundation Boys and Girls Club, P.O. Box 28, Chautauqua, N.Y. 14722.
You may light a candle in remembrance of Mary Jo at www.lindfuneralhome.com.