Obituary: Rosemary Pease Schulz / Intrepid traveler played a role in Pittsburgh's rebirth
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Rosemary Pease Schulz, an intrepid world traveler and musician who played a role in Renaissance I and helped countless international students navigate American college life, died Monday at Magee-Womens Hospital. The cause of death was complications from an infection, said her son Robert Pease of Churchill. She was 87.
Mrs. Schulz, who lived in Oakland, traveled the world many times over from the Americas and Europe to Africa and Asia, returning most often to Yugoslavia, her favorite country.
In her mid-40s, she went back to college and earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh, then spent a decade at Pitt's office of Russian and Eastern European studies. There she was a liaison for foreign students, helping them with living arrangements, class selection, registration and other logistics of life in a new country.
"She stayed close with several of them throughout her life," her son said.
The former Rosemary Wallace grew up an only child in Des Moines, Iowa, where her father was in advertising and her mother was a homemaker.
After graduating from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, she formed a singing group with two other young women, performing Andrews Sisters-style songs in bars and music halls until her disapproving father shipped her off to Stephens Female College in Columbia, Mo., then a two-year finishing school, where she studied piano.
In 1947 she married her high school classmate Robert E. Pease, a flight navigator who had come home from Italy after World War II. The couple moved to Pittsburgh for him to study civil engineering at Carnegie Institute of Technology.
He went to work for the fledgling Urban Redevelopment Authority, eventually becoming executive director, and the couple played key roles in the city's rebirth, working and socializing with business and civic leaders, including mayors David Lawrence and Joseph Barr.
In addition to raising the couple's two young sons, she was a gracious hostess who entertained city leaders at dinner parties, sometimes playing piano. She also sang professionally as a soloist at Baldwin Community Methodist Church.
In the mid-1960s she began to "sprout her own wings," her son said, enrolling in Pitt's political science program and starting her job as foreign student liaison. The couple divorced in 1972, and she was married a second time, to Pitt law professor William F. Schulz Jr.
They traveled widely throughout their 17-year marriage until he died in 1991. Mrs. Schulz continued exploring the world until about five years ago, when she became too frail to travel.
An avid arts patron, Mrs. Schulz was a fixture at symphony, opera and theater performances. She also took classes with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute right up until her death.
"My mother had a lot of physical problems the last five years, but she was still as feisty, witty and interested as ever," her son said.
In addition to Robert W. Pease, Mrs. Schulz is survived by another son, Richard B. Pease of Atlanta, three grandchildren and a stepson, William F. Schulz III of Gloucester, Mass.
There will be no visitation, and interment will be private. Arrangements are by John A. Freyvogel Sons.
First Published August 23, 2012 6:16 am