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Martena A. Schnerring
April 7, 2023
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Martena A. Schnerring, 98, of Orwigsburg passed away April 7, 2023. She was the daughter of the late Lee & Alvesta (Krammes) Greenawalt; and the widow of Benjamin F. Schnerring III who died in 1987.
Born in Schuylkill Haven, she attained her elementary education at Pike, a one room school, then graduated from Schuylkill Haven High School and Kutztown State Teachers College, earning a degree in elementary education followed by a Master's degree in psychology from Columbia University. She taught in Mt. Penn & Schuylkill Haven and served as a school psychologist for Schuylkill Intermediate Unit #29 over a period of 35 years.
Following retirement from I.U. 29 Martena contracted with agencies including Family Life Service, Berks I.U., and Berks Heim to provide counseling and evaluations and maintained a private practice until retiring in 2003.
Married in 1949 Ben & Martena began collecting antiques as a basis for a far off retirement business. Fate intervened when Ben suffered a heart attack which cut short his teaching career. He opened a Christmas tree farm and an antique shop which both operated until his death in 1987. They were both active collectors with Martena acquiring an impressive collection of dolls which was exhibited by the Reading Museum for a three month period. The couple enjoyed travel and after his death she continued visiting China, Kenya, Africa, Australia, Europe, Hawaii, & Great Britain. Her daughter's wedding took place in Edinburgh, Scotland.
A lifelong member of the present Jerusalem Lutheran Church she served in many capacities including teaching, choir, church council, synod, & ELCA boards but she was most proud of Jerusalem Child Care Center which was begun by St. Matthews Lutheran Church and continues to be a thriving outreach. In 2014, she was honored for her 45 years of service to the organization.
Within the community she was a 75 year member and past president of the Schuylkill Haven Business & Professional Women's Club, a longtime member of Children & Youth advisory board, and mental health agencies. In 1989 she was awarded a Schuylkill County Human Service Award.
Martena felt blessed by her large family and Pennsylvania German heritage and began collecting history and memorabilia from past generations and preserving mementos of the present.
In addition to her parents and husband, she is also preceded in death by her brothers: Lee, Ralph, & Owen Greenawalt, two sisters: Dorothy Greenawalt Hildenbrandt, & Jean Alice Greenawalt Fehr, and a son, Frederick Schnerring.
Martena is survived by her daughter, Deborah Schwarz, daughter-in-law, Debra Gamber, brother, Allen Greenawalt & wife, Elizabeth, grandchildren: Jeremy Schnerring, Holly Wolanin & husband, Andrew, Kaitlin, triplets Benjamin, Madeleine, & Alexandra Schwarz, and great-grandchildren: Violet, & Olivia Wolanin, and nieces & nephews.
A viewing will be held at Jerusalem Lutheran Church on Friday, April 14th from 5-7 p.m.
A Celebration of Life Funeral Service will be held at the church on Saturday, April 15h at 10 a.m. An additional viewing will be held from 9 a.m. until the time of services on Saturday.
Interment will be privately held for family only.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be forward to Jerusalem Child Care Center Scholarship Fund, 252 Dock St., Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972.