Gwen was born in 1923 on Jan. 6, wondrous day of Epiphany, in Milwaukee, daughter of Judge Herbert Schultz and teacher/organist Aurelia (Nickel) Schultz. She credited her parents, good, diligent, dedicated public servants, with setting an example for her to follow. At age 17, she graduated from Bay View High School in 1940, first in her class of 351. She attended the University of Wisconsin, two years in Milwaukee, being prom queen and member of Sigma Epsilon Sigma honor sorority, and then two years in Madison, where in 1944 she received a B.A. degree in English, graduating with honors. She continued postgraduate studies there in Geography.
As a Geography professor on the UW-Madison campus, she served in several departments, instructing, writing, doing research and cartography and more. Over the years, she made maps and graphic illustrations for publications, displays and instructional purposes, conducted educational bus and aerial fieldtrips, and did field research around the state, across the United States and in Canada, Alaska and Europe. She wrote Geography correspondence-study courses, some for active U.S. Armed Forces. They were taught by mail and included kits of assorted rock samples and photographic slides with a viewer.
Her last position at UW-Madison was with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey from 1969 to 1986, working closely with geologists. Then she retired but stayed just as active. Always, she endeavored to make information available to not only students but also the public, and served the community and organizations in many ways. After World War II, she was a Red Cross volunteer, helping at the Wood Veterans Hospital in Milwaukee. Later, she sponsored orphan children in foreign countries.
While her writing during her Geography career was mostly scholarly (books, professional articles and educational materials) she always retained a love of literature from her early days, and so expressed herself in creative writing too – fiction, essays, poetry, articles, etc., throughout her life. Some of those works, interestingly, are a mix of geography and literature.
In free time, Gwen enjoyed hobbies and other pastimes, piano playing, choir-singing, gardening, photography, astronomy, sports, making copper-enameled and stone-polished jewelry, embroidering, and doing freelance writing and some selfpublishing.
She formed two companies: “Reading Gems” (Gems for her initials, GMS) to sell her books’ remainder copies, and “Hammock and Inglenook” (cozy reading places) in 1981, to selfpublish her book THE BUCKY BADGER STORY (8 1/2 x 11 with pictures and a UW song). Among her early books with major publishers were GLACIERS AND THE ICE AGE (Holt, Rinehart, Winston) 1963; THE BLUE VALENTINE, a juvenile (William Morrow) in two edition, 1965 and 1979. Later ones included ICE AGE LOST (Doubleday) 1974; ICEBERGS AND THEIR VOYAGES (William Morrow) 1975; and WISCONSIN’S FOUNDATIONS (Kendall/Hunt 1986 and University of Wisconsin Press 2004).
Her writings received many awards, from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Council for Wisconsin Writers for WISCONSIN’S FOUNDATIONS, and also from the Council for Wisconsin Writers for ICE AGE LOST and ICEBERGS AND THIER VOYAGES. She received other awards and special recognition for other writings from Wisconsin Regional Writers’ Association (including a Jade Ring), National League of American Pen Women, Midwest Authors and Artists, Wisconsin’s Own Library, the Amherst Society, and Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.
She published widely in journals and popular magazines, and was a member of many professional organizations, including The Authors Guild, and Association of American Geographers, and some others mentioned above. She was a founding member of the Friends of the UW Geology Museum, and past officer of it and the Council for Wisconsin Writers, and was a charter member of the Alaska Geographic Society.
After retirement from the UW in 1986, Gwen continued writing, dividing her time between her Milwaukee home and Madison lakeside apartment. In Milwaukee, she enjoyed her garden, relatives and lifetime associations; in Madison, she continued her research and University activities. In both locations, she found pleasure in friendships, stimulating environments, and warm memories of loved ones, there and far beyond, in time and place.
In Milwaukee, she was a member of Bay View United Methodist Church, and lifelong friend of Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church, and she supported various other religious groups.
Her brother, Ralph, preceded her in death, as well as his daughter, Cindy Schultz Peers. Gwen is survived by his other children, Jamie Bohen of Kentucky, Timothy of Milwaukee, Steven of Florida; and by other dear relatives and friends.
Because of her closeness to her nieces and nephews while they were growing up, she also published books and stories for young readers. THE BLUE VALENTINE was dedicated to Cindy.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 20, 2014, from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m., at BAY VIEW UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 2772 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee. Funeral Services will be at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Milwaukee.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Gwen M. Schultz Charitable Fund, c/o Prasser-Kleczka Funeral Home.