Marlene Martha Kopper was born August 2, 1938 in Van Nuys, California to Edward and Martha
Kopper. She passed away at age 77 on Sunday, July 10, 2016 surrounded by family members.
Marlene attended Newton Grade School through High School graduating in 1956. In 1958 she earned
an Associate of Arts degree at Bethel College and then taught in the McPherson County School system
for several years.
On June 1, 1952 Marlene was baptized and became a member of First Mennonite Church in Newton.
She loved playing the piano excelling as an accompanist at church services and for the church choir.
Marlene enjoyed directing the Junior Choir and teaching Vacation Bible School at the church.
On May 27, 1960, Marlene married the love of her life, Donald Schmidt. She and Don spent the next
several years in Indianapolis, Indiana where she worked as a Medical Stenographer. Following their
return to Kansas she became a stay at home mother raising their three children, Michael, Gregory, and
Lori. Her children were her pride and joy and she was a very faithful mother to them. Highlight
experiences for Marlene were going on shopping trips and coffee breaks with family members and
friends. Through the years she greatly enjoyed the presence of her dog Billie as well as her children’s
After the children left home Marlene attended Hesston College and earned an Early Childhood degree
in 1988, she then taught preschool at several child care centers in Newton. Later in life with her love
to work with children she volunteered as a tutor in the local grade school.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Martha Kopper; and infant brother, Richard Kopper.
Marlene is survived by her husband, Don; her children Michael of Stafford, Texas, Gregory of Newton,
and Lori Schmidt of Salina; sister, Wanda Lowenstein and husband Hal; brother in law, Lewis and wife Dorothy Schmidt and many nieces and nephews.
Viewing and visitation with family will be Wednesday (July 13, 2016) from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at
Peterson Funeral Home in Newton.
Burial will be Thursday (July 14, 2016) at 2:00 p.m., at Greenwood Cemetery in Newton. The Life
Celebration service will be at 3:00 p.m., at First Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas, with a faspa/light
meal following. Memorial gifts may be made to the First Mennonite Church Organ Fund or to Caring
Hands Humane Society. Condolences may be left at www.petersenfamilyfuneralhome.com