Mary Carolyn Wheeler Schuh, 77, of Tucson, Ariz., known to most as Mary Schuh, a well-known “Watch Dog” on public spending of taxes passed away on Aug. 25, 2012. Her death has been a shock to a wide circle of friends and the community she was so active and interested in.
Mary C. Wheeler was born Aug. 30, 1934, in Newton, the daughter to Dr. James Albert and Elizabeth Maxson Wheeler. Mary was raised with her brother James in the Newton area where she became an accomplished horse rider and competitive expert marksman with the .22 rifle.
She graduated from Newton High School in 1952 and attended Kansas State University, “K-State Wildcats.” It was here she met her husband of 58 years James D. Schuh, Ph.D., University of Arizona (retired). Mary left K-State when Jim, after his graduation, was drafted due to the Korean War and assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where she supported the military effort and they had their first daughter.
Upon completing their service, they returned to Oklahoma State University where she completed her bachelor’s degree while Jim completed his Ph.D. They had their son and the twin daughters during this time. Mary excelled in multi-tasking with four children under 5 years of age, college studies and involvement in several clubs. As alumni of OSU they moved west to Reno, Nev., where Mary started a Brownie and Girl Scout troop in the rural community where they lived.
Mary and Jim later moved to Tucson in 1964, where they were blessed with a fifth child, another daughter. They raised five children there. Mary made friends everywhere she went. She was active in the community early on, assisting in establishing a Brownie and Girl Scout Troop at LuLu Walker Elementary school. She was a substitute teacher in both the Tucson Unified and Amphitheater school districts teaching at all levels as well as a PTA president. She became the president of the Immaculate Heart Women’s Guild, later called St. Odilia’s Women’s Guild. They were successful in obtaining the funding to build the St. Odilia’s Church in the north Tucson area.
Mary became very active in politics, eventually managing several Republican candidates’ campaigns, with successful nominations. Her heart and soul was about voicing the truth in the spending of local taxpayers’ monies that crossed several diverse areas including school, county, municipal and fire district spending. With several other individuals they founded the Pima Association of Taxpayers, a nonprofit group dedicated to watching how your hard earned tax monies were spent. Her monthly newsletter was informative and read by many including several Arizona congressmen and state officials.
Mary Schuh, the woman with the facts, was a name known to many in the community. She spoke at numerous board meetings using her keen wit and facts to bring to light the potential or actual misspending of the monies. At first many of the local boards tried to push back, but over the years the board members would listen to her words, as they knew she was, “right on the money” 99.999 percent of the time. She saved all of us millions in potentially misspent monies.
Mary loved a good book, mystery, word puzzle or well written story. She enjoyed journalism as she spent time as the editor of the Pima College paper, where she brought the paper back to life and into a positive income for the school for the first time since it started. She loved researching the family genealogy. She would never tell you, but she wrote a small book on her father’s ancestry that is now in the Marion City Library. She was a certified member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
She was asked by the community, and then elected as a board member to serve on the Amphi School Board. She and fellow board members made numerous positive changes that corrected the previous poor spending activities and returned a strong school district budget back to the educators and taxpayers.
Mary and Jim had the opportunity to travel to Greece, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Italy, Korea, and China. Wherever she went, she made a friend and left with a smile.
Upon hearing of her death, the editor of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson wrote a personal note on the Editorial page titled, “Mary Schuh, a strong voice for the public, has died” … ending it with, “She will be sorely missed”. Other journalists wrote several articles about her and what she accomplished to support the Tucson community as a whole. Articles on Mary can be found online.
The local John C. Scott radio show that focuses on the political issues in the area had her on as a regular guest speaker over the past 23 years. He dedicated a portion of his show on Aug. 27 as a tribute to her and what she did for the Tucson area. He summed it up for his listeners that if you didn’t know Mary Schuh, you truly missed an opportunity to know a great lady and her voice to serve the community in saving taxpayers’ monies. “A remarkable woman we will all miss.”
Our mother embraced opportunities as a concerned citizen, but she was first a loving wife and a mother who would be at the game or scouting event to cheer us and our friends on, give a ride, send a card or call to see how you were feeling. Her devotion to the community was deep and should not be forgotten. If our mother was here today she would advise us to be involved, be informed, know your facts, know what and who you are voting for and vote.
The Lord called Mary C. Wheeler Schuh home to his kingdom and to her next journey. She will be running the show in heaven soon, “Excuse me God, I have a question on the angel wing tax …”
Mary C. Schuh was preceded in death by her parents and brother. She is survived by her husband James and their five children, Laura (Terry) Peters, Michael (Marty) Schuh, Mary (Gary) Schuh-Williams, Martha Schuh and Louisa Schuh and four grandchildren, Lori (Brian) Coulston, Lucy Schuh, Michael Schuh Jr. and Dayton Reed Schuh.
We love you mom,
The Schuh Family
The family is planning a celebration of life on Sept. 22 for Mary in Tucson, Ariz. Her final resting place will be in Marion in mid to late October. The details are still being handled by the family. For information on either event, family, friends, and colleagues can call Michael Schuh at (520) 742-6210 or email him (best) at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In lieu of flowers, Mary requested donations to the Marion City Library, 101 Library St., Marion, KS 66861 or to the Marion Historical Museum, 625 E Main, Marion, KS 66861.