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In Memory

Mark Schomer - : 1968

Mark Schomer

   Mark Philip Schomer made his home in numerous locales around the world, his destinations determined by his lifelong commitment to service. Born in France and raised in Geneva by parents who worked in postwar humanitarian relief, he relocated to Chicago in the early 1960s. He became active in the civil rights movement and, as a conscientious objector, served as a teacher and school principal in the Congo. He went on to study international development in Paris, where he met and married his wife, Ana Maria Rivera. In the years that followed he completed an MBA at Yale University and dedicated himself to service in Peru, Costa Rica, and the U.S.

Mr. Schomer died May 8, 2021, in Guatemala, where he had operated a coffee and banana farm for the past 20 years and devoted his efforts to economic development. He leaves his wife of 50 years, two daughters, and four grandchildren. His autobiography, Hold On: Trying to Help People in a Changing World, is due out this year.

(—from the 2022 summer edition of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine)

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10/16/22 05:37 AM #1    

Tom Thomas (1969)

Mark and his sister Karine recorded a collection of folk and protest songs in 1965, to which I linked in this article.

10/17/22 01:05 PM #2    

Donald Salisbury (1968)

Thank you so much for posting this Tom. I am so moved by this recording. Though Mark's image is so familiar I do regret that as far as I can recall we never did meet in Oberlin. And I have been so astonished to learn that he was also a conscientious objector, as was I, and we both performed our alternative service teaching in mission schools in the Congo. And even more remarkable, I received by French instruction at the very school that his father founded in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, France. And this was Mark's birthplace! I am so grateful now to be in contact with Karine.

08/03/23 10:00 PM #3    

Dwight Call (1968)

Mark and I were close friends as religion majors during our four years as students at Oberlin College (1964-1968). We got to know each other by serving on Oberlin College's Chapel/Vespers Committee. Our junior year we were quad mates and often found ourselves in the central living room talking quietly about international and national issues, while each of our roommates had already fallen asleep in the two side rooms, one of which Mark shared and the other that I shared.

After graduation both Mark and I worked abroad in several different countries on virtually every continent. I worked in Japan, Switzerland, Belize, Cameroon (and other parts of Africa) and Australia. We managed to keep in sporadic contact initially by letter and later by email.

I visited a couple or three times where Mark and his wife Ana Maria had retired to take care of her family's coffee plantation.

Sadly, I managed to tune in to Mark's online memorial service, which his daughters managed to organize. I send my condolences to them

Though we hadn't seen each other for a couple of years or more, Mark and I stayed in contact.

Sadly, Dwight Call

08/10/23 05:25 PM #4    

Donald Salisbury (1968)

Dear Dwight, thank you for sharing these comments. I wonder if you could provide a link to the commemoration organized by Mark's daughters?

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