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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adelaide Mahaffey Schlafly, Sacred Heart Alumna and Champion for Social Causes (1915 - 2012)

Adelaide Mahaffey Schlafly
1915- 2012

Ellen Adelaide Mahaffey was born July 19, 1915 in St. Louis Missouri to Laura Elizabeth McBride and Birch Oliver Mahaffey. Known as Adelaide she and her sisters Katherine, Elizabeth and Dorothy all were Sacred Heart alumna.   

Adelaide was a 1932 graduate of Villa Duchesne.  She married Dan Schlafly in 1939 and all three children who survive her are Sacred Heart alums; Daniel '53BA, Ellen '58VD and Thomas '62BA.

Her obituary reads:  Adelaide Mahaffey Schlafly 1915 - 2012 who fought tirelessly for social justice, racial integration, education, and international understanding, died in St. Louis at age 97 on September 30, 2012. Born in St. Louis on July 19, 1915, the second of four daughters of Birch Oliver Mahaffey and Laura Elizabeth McBride Mahaffey, she attended schools in St. Louis, South Carolina, New York, Paris and Florence. On December 2, 1939, she married Daniel Lyons Schlafly. They worked together on many civic causes, particularly in his long service as a reformer on the St. Louis Board of Education. Mr. Schlafly died in 1997. In 1956, Adelaide Schlafly graduated magna cum laude from Saint Louis University with a degree in history. She saw the effects of poverty, segregation, and limited opportunity first hand before World War II as a volunteer in Catholic pre-school for poor African-American children, inspiring her to dedicate her time and talent on their behalf and those like them. Very early, she fought for a Missouri public accommodations law, helped found the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, and was a leader in the Missouri Association for Social Welfare. Adelaide Schlafly promoted opportunity for African-Americans wherever she could, whether at the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the National Council of Catholic Women, the White House Council on Education, the St. Louis Internship Program, HarrisStowe College, the Urban League, the NAACP, the St. Louis Catholic and Public Schools, and as a member of the Catholic Interracial Council and the Archdiocesan Human Rights Commission. In 1961, when she noticed that the only portrait missing from Georgetown University's gallery of presidents was of the mixed race Fr. Patrick Healy, she insisted the university hang his with the others. Adelaide Schlafly's study and travel abroad and knowledge of foreign languages inspired her to work for international causes, particularly with the St. Louis chapter of the United Nations Association, the American Forum for Global Education, and the United Nations University. She also served on the board of the One William Street Fund. She supported many other institutions, such as the Cathedral Basilica, Desloge Hospital, Saint Louis University, St. Louis University High School, the St. Louis Priory, and the St. Louis Symphony. Mrs. Schlafly earned many awards for her dedication to others. A Dame of Malta, she was a Globe-Democrat Woman of Achievement in 1966, and also was honored by the Associated Alumni of the Sacred Heart, the Missouri History Museum, the Urban League, Maryville University, and Oasis. In 1989, she received an honorary degree from St. Louis University and the archdiocesan Order of Christ the King in 1997. Throughout her public and private life, Adelaide Schlafly was modest, generous, and loyal. She saw only good in others and did everything she could for them, whether those served by the many institutions she supported or for all of her family and friends. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was a great storyteller, whether walking to school after the 1927 tornado, of the time she met Mussolini, or of the many practical jokes she enjoyed playing. She will be sorely missed by all fortunate enough to know her. Mrs. Schlafly is survived by her children Daniel L. Schlafly Jr. (Shannon), Ellen S. Shafer (Robert) and Thomas F. Schlafly (Ulrike); sister Dorothy Jane Mahaffey Moore; grandchildren Maria Schlafly (David Aholt) and Theresa Schlafly (Matthew Russell), Adelaide Barrett (John), Katherine Coleman (John), Daniel Shafer (Vanessa) and Margaret Shafer; and seven great- grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Daniel Lyons Schlafly and her sisters Katherine Mahaffey Walsh and Elizabeth Mahaffey Mullins. Services: A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell at Newstead on Thursday, October 4 at 10:00 a.m. Memorials appreciated to the charity of one's choice . A SERVICE OF THE LUPTON CHAPEL

To read more about this remarkable alumna click here

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