Renette LaBerge Schmitt, 86, Bridport native
FALMOUTH, Maine — On Aug. 20, 2019, Renette L. Schmitt, beloved wife of Richard G. Schmitt, went peacefully on to a new adventure.
Tap-dancer, songbird, and cherished first grandchild of the extended LaBerge clan, Renette was born in 1933 to Rene and Simone LaBerge, in Burlington, Vt., grew up in Bridport, Vt., and sang and danced her way into the hearts of her family and friends for 86 years.
She was a member of MHS Class of 1951. She was loving and stalwart first mate to husband Richard; cherished mother, sister, cousin, aunt, grandmother and friend; and above all, a teacher in the art of living wisely and well. Renette’s students include hundreds of nursery and kindergartners in Bridport, and Carlisle, Mass., where she developed two preschools, and in Concord, Mass., at the Brooks School, where she created an innovative Connecting Class, and on cool days could be seen on the playground in her signature overalls, in contravention of the dress code.
A true humanist, Renette’s first concern was always the welfare of others, and her deep empathy, kindness, and gentle counsel was a gift that resonates far beyond her many students and wide circle of family and friends.
Renette met her husband, Richard, in 1953, while they were both students in Worcester, Mass. Engaged in three weeks, they lived and loved together for 65 years, raising four children, renovating homes and sailing east coast waterways on various trawlers, tugboats, and yachts between Florida and Vermont, making good and lasting friendships in every harbor. They also traveled to Europe and the Far East, including Japan, her favorite.
She was a wise and caring mother to Dan Schmitt and wife Roseli, Carol Pallen and husband Michael, Hollis Shore and husband David, and Bill Schmitt. They celebrated daily their seven grandchildren: Melissa, Jessica, Rachel, Amanda, Nicholas, Dakotah Simone, and Ada, and seven great-grandchildren, Dylan, Ty, Caylee, Jaycee, Madeline, Simone, and the newest, Calvin Richard.
Her sister and brothers, Anne LaBerge, Dick LaBerge, and Rene Dan LaBerge were the first loves of her life, and their spouses, Jonathan Hodgkin, Joanne LaBerge, and Linda LaBerge were fellow travelers and kindred spirits.
Petite in stature, Renette had a heart as big as life itself. And if she doesn’t like it in heaven, she tells us she’s heading back to Vermont.◊