Farewell fund: Inge Schmidt, former professor of theater and costume design

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Former teacher Inge Schmidt, who taught acting and costume design for 11 years, died on December 12. She was 89 years old.

Born August 19, 1932 in Frankfurt, Germany, she moved with her family to the United States in the late 1930s to escape the Holocaust. She attended Chico High School and graduated from Chico High School before completing her Bachelor of Arts in Speech from Chico State in 1953 and her Masters in Theater and Performing Arts from Stanford University.

Schmidt worked at the Ashland Shakespeare Company and the Toronto Shakespeare Company before joining the Speech and Drama Department at Chico State in 1968. For many years she taught costume design and construction, history of costume, make-up, acting and theater history, while overseeing the Costume Boutique and designing costumes for most theater productions and operas.

Former department member Gordon Jesse first met Schmidt when he was hired as a new faculty member in 1975. They worked closely together for several years.

“She was one of those rare people who was first a colleague, then became a mentor, and finally was a treasured friend for life,” he said. “She had a great in-depth knowledge of theater and the art of teaching and was very willing to share both, which helped me tremendously as a new teacher.”

In 1977, Schmidt left college and moved to San Francisco to work as a travel agent, which allowed him to indulge his love of exploration. She returned to Chico and Chico State in the late 1980s, working part-time for a few years. In 1988, she completed a bachelor’s degree in performing arts.

Professor Emeritus Madeline Keaveney recalled that even after Schmidt stopped teaching, she retained her love of live and filmed theater and opera, as well as symphonies and dance performances. She also enjoyed a good game of Scrabble and crosswords of all difficulty levels, and took great care of various cats she had during her life. Deeply attached to her Jewish heritage, she was a longtime member of Congregation Beth Israel and a founding member of Congregation Sisterhood in Chico.

“She participated in our services, celebrations and classes during her many years at Chico, even managing to win over Zoom in the last few years so that she could continue to be an active participant,” said professor emeritus Carol Edelman, former president of the Congregation. “She constantly enriched our gatherings with her presence, her voice, and her readings of poetry and literature.”

Schmidt is survived by his sister, Beatrice; niece Cyndi; nephews Gregory, Kevin and Matthew; grandnieces Anne and Janelle; grand-nephew Klaus; great-grandnephew Sutton; and great-grandniece Audrey.

Services were held at Brusie Funeral Home and Congregation Beth Israel, and interment took place at Oroville Jewish Cemetery on December 15. of a loved one.

The University flag will be lowered on Tuesday, January 25 in his memory.


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