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Mary Isabel Schiller

1927 - 2015

Mary Isabel Schiller (nee Stangeland) passed away quietly in her sleep on June 14, 2015 in Ojai, California. She was 88. She died at the same age as her late husband Norbert Schiller Sr., but a quarter of a century later.
Mary was born in San Rafael, California, to Minnie Stangeland (formally Minnie Peterson) originally from Taopi, Minnesota, and John Stangeland, an immigrant from Stavanger, Norway.

In her youth, Mary was an avid dancer and performed in a professional dance troupe. Besides dance, she loved to ride horseback, and rode all over Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Mary held various jobs in her 20s, which included modeling and working at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. Later in life, she worked for the artist Judith Sutcliffe making mosaic tiles, many of them botanical paintings sold in the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden gift shop.

After an early marriage and divorce, which produced her eldest son David, Mary moved to Ojai, California where she met Austrian-born stage and film actor Norbert Schiller. They married on June 14, 1956 in Los Angeles California.

Mary and Norbert lived in a stone tower that Norbert built on the east end of Ojai, that reminded him of Europe. Later they moved to Santa Barbara.

She discovered the teaching of Rudolf Steiner and became an active member of the Anthroposophical Society. Besides her spiritual side, Mary was very down to earth and loved taking long walks, spending time with loved ones, cooking, and reading. She loved all animals, especially cats, particularly Abyssinians.

Her early embrace of organic and vegetarian principles put her ahead of her time, and she excelled at cooking, sewing, and all domestic arts. Keeping a beautifully immaculate home and providing healthy delicious meals was something she enjoyed and made look easy, and yet she was as far as possible from a traditional woman of her time in other ways.

She traveled extensively throughout the world, visiting her son Norbert wherever he was posted as a journalist in the Middle East and Africa. After her husband passed away in 1988, she took her daughter, Daniela, on a trip around the world.

Her beauty and simplicity will be remembered by all who knew her.

Survivors include her sons David Raphael (formerly David Gibson) and Norbert Schiller Jr, step-daughter Claudia Schiller, and daughter Daniela (Schiller) Johnson, as well as four grandchildren: Skyler Johnson, Alexandra Schiller, Jordan Johnson and Tamer Schiller. Mary had one brother, Roy Stangeland, who passed away in 2011, and is survived as well by niece Hazel Gober and Hazel’s two children Daniel and Christina.

A Celebration of Life gathering will be held on Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 801 Cold Spring Road at 4:00 p.m.

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