We are saddened to announce that on the afternoon of Sunday, July 19, 2020, we lost an extraordinary woman, Bonnie Schmeltz, at the age of 70, after battling a long illness. Bonnie is preceded in death by her parents Gertrude “Gert” Schmeltz and William “Willie” Schmeltz, as well as her brother in law, Mickey O’Neill, all longtime residents of Laurel, MD. She is survived by her beloved sister, Betty Ann O’Neill; her nephews, Kurt and Keith O’Neill; and her great nephews, Derek, Brady, and Alex O’Neill. Additionally, she is survived by her family’s loving canine companions - Dakota, Riley, and Faith. Bonnie knew from a young age that she was destined to work with children. She pursued this desire, graduating with a degree in education from Towson University in 1972. She started her career at Ridgeway Elementary School in Anne Arundel County and would rise to be a Reading Teacher and, eventually, Principal of Germantown Elementary School prior to retiring (for the first time) to take on the role of Coordinator of English/Language Arts at Maryland State Department of Education. In that time, she mentored so many students and teachers, creating a feeling of family wherever she went. Bonnie has long been considered the “gold standard” of educators, truly dedicated to the betterment of children and instilling a love of learning in all she met. She was a true servant-leader who made everyone feel special. It was this same leadership that devoted Bonnie to so many communities and organizations, especially the Community Methodist Church of Maryland City, where she devoted countless hours of worship and service. From the very beginning of her career she was a dedicated advocate for literacy instruction and was an active member and former President of both the Anne Arundel County Literacy Council, AACLC, (President 1984-1985) and State of Maryland International Literacy Association, SoMLA, (President 1987-1988). Beyond her tenure as President of SoMLA she continued working tirelessly, rising to the level of Executive Director, to ensure teachers across Maryland were given access to high-quality, relevant professional development to be effective literacy instructors, and to ensure that ALL children had access to books. As Executive Director of Maryland Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development she also helped leaders across the state embrace “Whole Child” education, eventually bringing all state education organizations together as a founding member and President of Council of Educational, Administrative and Supervisory Organizations of Maryland (CEASOM). Her love of literacy was contagious, and something she instilled in others at a very young age - if you had a child, s/he would receive a book for every birthday and Christmas throughout their childhood. Bonnie was the epitome of a true Teacher and Leader, always putting others first, never underestimating the value and importance of relationships. You never worked for Bonnie Schmeltz, but rather with her. Once you were in her fold, you were in her family, forever. She will be greatly missed but her legacy will last long after, especially in the hearts and minds of the students and colleagues she took the time to know and love.
Due to the Covid-19 epidemic limitations on crowd gatherings, the family will be planning a celebration of Bonnie’s incredible life on her next birthday, March 27, 2021. Details will be forthcoming as the date approaches.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Community United Methodist Church (CUMC) 300 Brock Bridge Road, Laurel, Maryland 20724. https://cumcmdcity.com/
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bonnie Schmeltz, please visit our floral store.
Community United Methodist Church
300 Brock Bridge Rd, Laurel MD 20724