Mary Lea Mallett Schaller

Published 12:58 am Friday, April 17, 2009

Mary Lea Mallett Schaller passed away peacefully Wednesday, April 15, 2009, in Charlestµon, S.C..

Born in Carriere, Mississippi, on April 8,1926, to the late Fred Wilson and Loretta Dobson Mallett, she graduated from Carriere High School and completed training at Laurel General Hospital in Mississippi, becoming a Registered Nurse.

She returned to Picayune to marry the late David Buie Schaller and have two daughters, Kathryn and Karen Sue.

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She is remembered by many for whom she was always available during times of need and in the First United Methodist Church as its perennial greeter and for her “red dress” during its annual blood drives.

Her career spanned over fifty years of active practice as an RN, and included the Picayune and Yazoo City areas. She had, in addition to her children, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, “adopted” children and countless close friends in the Picayune, Hattiesburg, Benton, Yazoo City, and the Gulf Coast areas by whom she was universally known as “Miss Mary Lea.”

Following Hurricane Katrina, Mary Lea chose to move to Charleston to spend the remainder of her years closer to both daughters and their families.

She was preceded in death by: her sisters: Mable Ruth and Marian Virginia; and a brother Albert Wilson.

Mary Lea is survived by: her daughters, Kathryn Schaller Richburg and her husband, Edd, of Charleston and Karen Sue Schaller of Suffolk, Virginia; her grandchildren: Bill Richburg with his fiancé Erika Brant and children Reece and Breelyn of Goose Creek, S.C.; Kate Richburg of Las Vegas, Nev.; and Theo Kuntz of Suffolk, Va.

As her last request, Mary Lea’s body was donated to the Medical University of South Carolina to assist in medical education. Her soul and spirit lives on with family and friends. A memorial service will be held in Picayune and a Mass will be said in Charleston at dates and times to be later announced to friends and family.

The family requests that any gifts be made in “Miss Mary Lea’s” memory to the First United Methodist Church in Picayune or to the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston.