Mildred Irene Coss passed on to meet her Lord and Savior on April 16, 2018. Mildred was known as Millie by most of her friends and loved ones, but known as “Teacher Grandma” by her grandchildren. Millie was born to the late Charles and Cora Schmitt, on October 20, 1931, in the Mid-West town of Dahlgren, IL. She lived on a farm as a child where she developed a love of fresh sweet corn, and watermelon, and later in life, would have her husband drive for miles to find a farm stand. Her family moved to East St. Louis, where Millie attended St. Mary’s Catholic School, and then attended Dupo Highschool in Dupo, Illinois.
Millie was the eldest daughter of six children. Bill, Al, Bob, Tom, and Sandy knew Millie as “Sis” and she helped her parents care for her younger siblings.
Millie was the first in her family to attend college, attending Southern Illinois University (SIU) where she studied and received her bachelor’s degree in Primary Education. One of Millie’s proudest and fondest memories at SIU was that she was selected by her professors to be one of the young women from SIU to meet and interview Eleanor Roosevelt. While at SIU Millie met the love of her life, Ronald Coss. Millie and Ronald were married in Granite City, IL, on June 20, 1953.
After graduation, Millie landed a job as a teacher, but was subsequently fired from the job when she became pregnant with her first son, David. This set the stage for Millie’s efforts to strive to better the lives of women at the workplace.
After the birth of her second and third son, John and Daniel, they moved to Santa Fe, NM to accept teaching positions. They bought their first home in Casa Solana, a new subdivision at that time. Her daughter, Gwen, and fourth son, James where born in Santa Fe.
Millie constantly worked for the betterment of women in the workplace, and was very active in the National Education Association (NEA), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Alter Society for Guadalupe Church.
Millie was one of the first Head-Start Teachers in New Mexico, and taught Kindergarten and First Grade at Kaune Elementary for 30 years. Millie earned a master’s degree in Education, graduating from New Mexico Highlands University with honors while teaching full time, maintaining her home, and raising her family.
She was also a wizard at personal finance, and with limited resources, was able to ensure a good education for all five of her children.
Millie was an active Den Mother for Cub Scouts, and arranged multiple arts and crafts events at her home, including a recipe for home-made play dough, that the boys swore was edible. She loved to sing, and was part of Sweet Adelines. Later in life, she became an avid painter; her home, and many of her children’s homes are decorated with her artwork. She had many good friends.
Millie and her husband enjoyed traveling in their motor home, visiting Americas national treasures, family, and friends after retirement. They also took a grand trip for their 50th wedding anniversary to England, Wales, and France.
Millie was preceded in death by her brothers William Schmitt, and Albert Schmitt.
Millie is survived by her husband Ron, her brother Robert Schmitt and wife Sandy, her brother Tom Schmitt, her sister Sandy and her husband Robert, as well as many loving nieces and nephews.
Millie is also survived by her sons David, John, Daniel, and James, and daughter Gwen, fifteen grandchildren, and fifteen great-grandchildren. At her 50th wedding celebration, there were many wonderful heart felt speeches of what Millie and Ron had meant in so many people’s lives. A recurring theme was the unconditional love and acceptance felt by Millie’s children and grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. www.act.alz.org/donate
A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 am, on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at St. John’s Catholic Church, 1301 Osage Avenue, Santa Fe, NM, 87505.