Blythe (Gallaway) SchubertMay 31, 1946 ~ October 13, 2017 (age 71)
Blythe Gallaway Schubert was 71 years old, had never smoked, and was perfectly healthy when she was diagnosed with cancer. By the time it was discovered, it had invaded her lungs, brain, liver, bones, and elsewhere. Six weeks later she was gone. Her family continues to struggle with such a shocking and devastating loss. But her life was a remarkable story:
After being born and raised in New Jersey, Blythe Gallaway Schubert graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Denison University, where some of her professors, decades later, would describe her as the most brilliant student they had ever encountered. She fell in love with a fellow Denison student during her junior year, beginning a romance that would grow for 50 years. She and Bo embarked on an adventure that would lead this brilliant student to most unlikely of places, from Denison University, to the Air Force, to a hog farm, to a rural high school, to a public library, to a sail boat, and many places in between. She liked to say, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” In fact, her final days were spent in South Carolina of all places – you just never know where life may lead you.
Wherever her life lead her, she left that place a little bit better.
She taught English at Morgan High School for 30 years. She saw potential in all her students, treating them equally, regardless of their backgrounds. News of her illness produced an outpouring of THOUSANDS of cards, gifts, letters, emails, Facebook posts, and so on from former students and their parents, thanking her for inspiring them and changing their lives for the better. She won multiple Teacher of the Year awards (her husband Bo won multiple others teaching Math), and her students could sense her devotion not just to her craft, but to THEM. She and Bo had study club in her classroom every day at lunch and sometimes at their house - the only entrance requirement into these sessions was a desire to learn.
All this extra work was done not for pay, but simply for love of her kids – ALL of her kids. Not just the two that she gave birth to, but the thousands of kids she helped raise.
She never really retired from teaching, but after 30 years she stopped going to work at the high school every day. She taught others, elsewhere. She was the director of the Kate Love Simpson Library in McConnelsville for seven years, working hard to make it a modern facility with resources that her community could use. She ran writing workshops all over Ohio, where she taught “Power Writing” with Jenny Winner to teachers and others, to make them into more effective communicators. In her younger years she taught Adult Basic Education, for those who had not graduated from high school, but who wanted to earn their diploma. She also taught at Ashland College, Muskingum College, and Ohio University at various times over the years. She even taught the other teachers at her high school, making them better communicators.
She taught everybody over the course of her career – college students, high school students, their parents, their teachers, those who had fallen through the cracks – she saw potential in everyone, and would teach anyone who wanted to learn. The lives she touched would be impossible to calculate.
After retirement, she and Bo enjoyed their sail boat on Lake Erie, and were members of the Harbor Bay Yacht Club in Sandusky, Ohio.
She was pre-deceased by her parents: Florence Plantiga Gallaway and Emmett Gallaway.
She is survived by thousands of her “kids” that she taught over the years, and by her two biological children: Amy is a research oceanographer at Woods Hole in Massachusetts, and Rob is a physician on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Blythe has five devoted teenaged grandchildren. Amy’s children, Anne and Kenny; and Rob’s children, Emily, Julia, and Lydia. Rob’s wife, Margaret, viewed Blythe as another mother, and took Blythe into her home in Hilton Head so that she, Rob, and their family could care for her at home. Blythe died in Rob and Margaret’s home, with Bo and family all around her.
Beth and JD Livingston (members of Rob and Margaret’s church family in their former hometown of Elizabethton, TN) also cared for Blythe in their home for three weeks during her radiation treatments. Their pastor, Rev. Ray Amos, was a Godsend in this difficult time. Blythe’s older sister, Colleen, and her husband, Paul, (and their daughter Linda) came to visit in her final days, as well as many other friends and family members, all of whom miss her and her joyous, infectious laugh.
But most of all, Blythe is missed by her devoted husband Bo. Their 50th wedding anniversary would have been in a few months. Their love for one another was boundless. They built an extraordinary life together, leaving a remarkable legacy to their kids – thousands and thousands of them. Bo is thankful for the opportunity to have shared much of his life with this extraordinary person, who he describes as, “The greatest person I’ve ever met.”
It is difficult for her family to understand why such a caring, talented, and selfless person was taken from them so early. But her thousands of “kids” are thankful that her time on this Earth, however brief, included them.
The family will receive friends at the Malta United Methodist Church from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, with her memorial service immediately following, at 4 p.m. All are welcome.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Blythe Schubert Memorial Book Fund c/o Kate Love Simpson Library 358 E Main St McConnelsville, OH 43756.