Nelsen Williamsburg

Mary passed away in late February of this year but, given Covid restrictions, her family delayed scheduling her memorial until the situation improved. They have now determined that her life will be c...

Mary Elizabeth Schilling

December 25, 1942February 24, 2021

Williamsburg resident and former Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at the College of William and Mary, Mary E. Schilling, died Wednesday, February 24. The cause was ovarian cancer.

Schilling joined the college in 1999 after two decades leading women’s programming, affirmative action, and career development at Denison University (Granville, OH). Throughout the 1990s, she presided over regional and national councils for pre-law advisors and advisors for the health professions.

As Executive Director for Career Development at William and Mary, Schilling implemented a vision that was both pragmatic and transformative. Taking charge of an office that students saw as a job placement center, she sought to sustain advising relationships across students’ lifetimes and to forge lasting bonds with faculty and campus recruiters alike.

This vision took shape in a campaign to move career services from a cramped, below-ground suite to its new home. Inaugurated in 2010, the Sherman and Gloria H. Cohen Career Center reflected the openness and engagement Schilling associated with the College’s mission. Upon retirement in 2014, she received accolades from the William and Mary Wren Society, Seven Society, and Omicron Delta Kappa, as well as an Honorary Lifetime Award from the Virginia Association of Colleges and Employers.

Mary Elizabeth Putt was born on Dec. 25, 1942 in Lebanon, Illinois, a small town in tornado alley surrounded by cornfields. Her father was a high school science teacher; her mother, a homemaker. While a sociology major at Southern Illinois University, she took part in a life-changing trip in summer 1961 to a half dozen European capitals. Her work with the United Methodist Church following M.A. studies in religion at Northwestern led her to meet her future husband, Donald Schilling, now Professor Emeritus of History at Denison University.

In retirement Mary enjoyed international travel, tennis, board games, and courses on the U.S. Supreme Court and on Broadway musicals. A lifelong advocate for women’s participation in the public sphere, from 2016 to 2020 she led the League of Women Voters - Williamsburg Area, which more than doubled in size during her presidency.

In addition to her four sisters, Schilling is survived by her loving spouse of 51 years, Don; their sons Derek, of Highland Park, NJ, and Thad, of Arlington, MA; daughters-in-law Ana and Julia; and grandchildren Nora, Adrian, and Mac.

Mary passed away in late February of this year but, given Covid restrictions, her family delayed scheduling her memorial until the situation improved. They have now determined that her life will be celebrated on Saturday, November 27, 2021, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, EST at the Woodlands Conference Center, 105 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg. Located near the Colonial Williamsburg Welcome Center, it is most easily reached off Highway 60 (Bypass Road). Passengers can be dropped off at the main entrance; there is plenty of parking.

There will be a simple reception following the memorial. Given the continuing threat from Covid, all attendees aged 14 and above must be vaccinated and masked.

For those unable to attend in person, the memorial will be broadcast on Zoom. If you would like to receive a link to the event, please send your request to Bobbie Falquet at .

Her family would be honored by your participation either in-person or on Zoom.

Contributions in memoriam can be made to Women for Women International (, the National Women’s History Museum (, the International Rescue Committee (, or The Clearity Foundation (


27 November

A Celebration of Life Service

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Woodlands Conference Center

105 Visitor Center Drive
Williamsburg, Virginia

For those unable to attend in person, the memorial will be broadcast on Zoom. If you would like to receive a link to the event, please send your request to Bobbie Falquet at


Mary Elizabeth Schilling

have a memory or condolence to add?

Elliot Davidoff

March 19, 2021

I was saddened to hear of Mary's passing. She was one of the "good guys". I particularly remember her for standing up for religious diversity in Cub Scouts activities. If there were more people like her, we would all get along better and the world would be a better place. May her memory be a blessing!
Elliot Davidoff (& family)

Judy Stansbury

March 15, 2021

I am saddened to learn of Mary's death. I will remember her as articulate, ambitious, capable , and dedicated to her family, friends, work, church, and community. Mary' s support of an idea or organization meant something would get done.

Sincere condolences to Don, Derek, and Thad.

Jim Rettig

March 8, 2021

Don, I did not have the privilege of meeting Mary. I am confident that she served and taught others at Denison and with the consistent dedication, devotion, and competency you too have shown as a teacher and scholar. Just as you have touched the lives of many students, I am certain that Mary touched others year after year and helped them learn and grow as students who shared knowledge and commitment. Your family and others have been blessed by Mary’s gifts to them. She has been a blessing to others.
Jim Rettig

Norma & Ian MacCara

March 8, 2021

Norma & Ian MacCara want to pass on their condolences to Donald Gilmore, and the entire Schilling Family. Your Canadian Cousins always were very pleased to meet you all in your frequent visits back to Nova Scotia. The place where Electa McLellan (Schilling was born) Those in the picture below: Summer 2007
Halfiax NS
L-R: Linda Spies, John, Mary Putt, Marvin, Isabel Ferguson (Ainslie) Elaine Coombs, David, Donald, Ross Ainslie Taken at Ross and Isabel Ainslie's Purcell's Cove Road Halifax NS. Picture contributed by: David Reid

Cindy Gibson

March 7, 2021

I am so so sorry to hear about her death. I didn’t realize she was so sick.
she was a lovely woman , a tireless advocate and simply a great person. My deepest condolences to Don and the entire family

Kate Slevin

March 3, 2021

So sorry to just learn of Mary’s recent death.
Mary was a wonderful colleague—a true professional who took her Center to new heights. She and I were very involved in various women’s issues on campus. At one stage we were co-chairs of the Women’s Caucus and we always worked very well together. We were both no-nonsense sorts of women and neither of us took ourselves too seriously—our jobs yes, but not ourselves.
Condolences to Don, Mary’s sons and all her family. I know you will miss her terribly.

John Wattiker

March 2, 2021

So many W&M students owe a great deal to Mary for her eager willingness to help us conceive of the careers we imagined following our years in Williamsburg. Mary taught me not to take no for an answer. "Find a way in, that's your job before you show up for your first day of work" was her advice to me on countless occasions. During this difficult time, may Mary's family and friends find peace in knowing how many lives she touched. May her career and service to the community continue to inspire others for years to come.

John Wattiker
William & Mary, 2008
BBA, Finance & Public Policy

Chad Hummel

March 2, 2021


From our first encounter freshman year after walking into the Career Center to helping accelerate the pipeline of W&M candidates on Wall Street, you played an integral role in growing not only my confidence in myself but that of other students. You did so with a smile. As a person, you were there to listen, laugh, and learn. You helped me prepare for life after W&M and helped contribute to the person I am today. I am appreciative of the time we shared together and hope you rest peacefully.

Best regards,
Chad Hummel
W&M Class of 2009

Olympia Trumbower

March 2, 2021

Mary Schilling was truly one of the most important people to me during my time at William & Mary (2004-2008). Between my sophomore to senior years, I spent many hours in the Career Center, back then tucked away in what was Blow Hall, scanning alumni names on an old desktop computer with Mary at my side. She was the person who helped me map out a long list of alumni to contact for informational interviews, giving me tips & tricks to stand out, and she was also the first person I emailed when I landed my first real job in NYC at the Council on Foreign Relations - I still have the email she sent me telling me how proud she is of me and my persistence in my job search. Mary and I continued to stay in touch well after my undergrad days and it was Mary I emailed when my husband, Adam Trumbower ('07), and I were ready to start a W&M scholarship for undergrads seeking unpaid internships. I will forever be grateful for Mary's wisdom, kindness, and generosity. How blessed we all are to have sweet memories with an incredible woman.

Olympia Ochoco Trumbower
W&M Class of 2008
Bellevue, WA

John Bracaglia

March 2, 2021

Mary, thank you so much for all of your wonderful kindness at William & Mary. You were so supportive, and your dedicated help really pushed me to grow as a businessman and friend.

Sending my best wishes, prayers, and love to you and your family.