Stephanie Carole Schulze Lanier, of Somerset, handed cancer its ultimate defeat on October 9, 2021, when she passed on to heaven. The disease overcame her body, but never touched her spirit or shook her faith.
Stephanie lit up rooms every day since she made her first appearance as Kenneth and Paulette Schulze’s daughter on May 3, 1965. Her light shone through her kind deeds and selfless service to family, friends, neighbors and those whose paths she just happened to cross.
Though likely tired, Stephanie never complained. Even in the midst of a years-long bout with cancer involving numerous experimental treatments, she said, “How can I be anything but grateful? I have God, family and friends on my side—and the doctors have another ‘recipe’ they can try.”
Early in her life, she claimed the Serenity Prayer as hers. While many have uttered the familiar words—God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference—Stephanie lived them. Her perseverance has been a living, breathing testimony to the strength of her beliefs.
In May 1983, Stephanie graduated from Lexington High School in Lexington, Texas. Five years later, she, a loud, proud, maroon-blooded Fightin’ Texas Aggie, graduated from her beloved Texas A&M University with honors, earning both her bachelor’s in education and her master’s in educational psychology. She never expected anything less of herself than excellence.
Stephanie immediately put her degree to work and began leaving her fingerprints on the lives of kids throughout Texas. In her 25-year teaching career, she helmed special education classrooms in Houston, San Antonio and Jourdanton ISD, first in the elementary school and most recently in junior high.
Stephanie remained a dedicated teacher. In the midst of COVID-19 and bi-weekly chemotherapy treatments at MD Anderson, she suited up every day in layers of protective gear and went to school where she prepared and taught two sets of lessons: those for her students in the classroom and those for her students attending class online. With her passion for her children never wavering, her retirement coincided with the last day of school in May of 2021.
When she wasn’t teaching public school, she was teaching Sunday School to 3- and 4-year-olds at Somerset Baptist Church. Baptized on May 16, 1965, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fedor and confirmed on April 29, 1979, at St. James Lutheran Church in Lexington, she embraced her husband John’s faith tradition. For Stephanie, having God at the center of their marriage and their home was tantamount.
Stephanie met the love of her life, John, when they were both undergrads and educators-in-training at Texas A&M. Sparks flew, hearts connected—and eventually joined forever.
They married on June 26, 1993, and created a beautiful family of five. In her world, the only calling higher than that of teaching was motherhood. Stephanie baked thousands of fundraising cookies, cheered from innumerable stands, read countless stories, walked a million miles alongside their children as they prepared prizewinning hogs and steers for livestock shows across the state, and planned dozens of family vacations around the annual Ag Teachers Convention.
Stephanie exhibited her quiet strength through seemingly boundless patience and limitless compassion for children, both those in her home and those in her classroom. As her legacy, she leaves generations of children who she loved unconditionally and a host of family and friends who will miss her beyond measure.
Stephanie clung to the words of her confirmation verse John 14:27 throughout her life. Her family and friends cling to them now.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Stephanie is survived by her husband of 28 years, John Lanier of Somerset and their three children, Amanda Lucille Lanier of Houston, Lane August Lanier of Somerset and Abbie Nicole Lanier of College Station, as well as her parents, Kenneth and Paulette Schulze, of Lexington and her mother-in-law Joyce Lanier of Somerset. Other cherished survivors include: her sisters and their husbands, Christine and Sam McManus of Lexington and Suzanne and Brad Luedke of College Station, six nieces, two nephews and too many friends to list.
Stephanie was preceded in death by her grandparents, Walter and Amanda Schulze and Carl and Emilie Knobloch, and father-in-law Glynn Hudson Lanier.
The visitation was held on Sunday, October 17, from 4 – 7 p.m. at Hurley Funeral Home. The funeral service was held on Monday, October, 18, at 11 a.m. at Somerset Baptist Church. The graveside service and burial followed at Bexar Cemetery in Somerset. A fellowship gathering at Somerset Baptist Church followed.
In lieu of flowers, Stephanie asked that memorials be given to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Pl, Memphis, TN 38105.