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01/25/2022 11:00 PM


Theresa Murray Schmardel left us on Jan. 8, at the age of 86. Theresa was born in the Bronx, New York in 1935, to William and Irene Murray. She met and fell in love with a young Coast Guard cadet, Walter Schmardel, and married at the age of 16. They remained in New York and started their family. They then moved to Clinton, where their family grew to five children.

Terry, as she was affectionately known, began helping the lunch staff at what is now the Joel School. She loved to be surrounded by children and many of her own children’s friends became family to her.

Terry then went to work at a small bookstore in Madison, as reading was a passion for her. She also enjoyed walks in the rain and listening to loud music on her headphones. Christmas Eve was special to her as her family and close friends gathered to celebrate.

Terry later became a fixture at The Food Bag in Old Saybrook, where she enjoyed working with and often teasing her customers. Her verbal sparring with customers grew to a large following and earned that particular store “best of the year” honors on several occasions.

Terry was a kind and giving person who would go out of her way to help others. She also had a particular stare that could stop a very strong man in his tracks! She will be dearly missed by her family and by all who knew her, but all will be comforted knowing that she is reunited with her beloved Walter in time for their wedding anniversary.

Terry was predeceased by her husband Walter, sister Iris, and brother William. She leaves behind her five children, Kristine and husband Christopher, Walter and wife Amy, Peter and wife Donna, Teresa, and David and wife Carol. She also leaves 10 grandchildren, Kimberly, Amanda, Laura, Melissa, Mark, Tavis, Devin, Rachel, Mathew, and Charles, as well as two great-grandchildren, Brian and Theia.

Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association ( in her memory.