Collyn Franzenburg Schmidt, long time resident of Lookout Mountain and a founder of Covenant College, died Saturday. She was 92. Collyn, a native of Iowa, began her relationship with the college in 1959 when Covenant was still located in St. Louis, Mo. She then played a variety of roles with Covenant over the next 40 years. With degrees in nursing from the University of Iowa and in theology from Faith Theological Seminary in Delaware, Collyn served for seven years as head of nursing at Berakah Tuberculosis Sanitorium, a mission hospital just outside Bethlehem in Jordan. Collyn Franzenburg returned to the U.S. to earn a master's degree in nursing education from Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. She married a family friend, Rudolph Schmidt. She also joined the administration of Covenant College - and coordinated the college's nursing education program. When the college in 1964 moved from St. Louis to Lookout Mountain, Collyn's duties included the merger of Covenant's nursing program with that of Erlanger Hospital. Collyn also served as Covenant's dean of women and headed a novel work program through which all Covenant students assisted in the housekeeping and maintenance of the college's campus and facilities. With her husband Rudolph, who was Covenant's admissions director and registrar from 1955 until 1991, Collyn was part of the team that in late 1963 visited the former Lookout Mountain Hotel to evaluate its suitability for adaptation to a college campus. The Schmidt team also left its founders' mark in their support of New City Fellowship, a large multi-cultural church on east Third Street in Chattanooga. In 1968, the Schmidts helped start the Third Street Sunday school, which evolved into New City Fellowship. Racial reconciliation, both in the church and in the city, became an increasingly high priority in their personal lives. Rev. Randy Nabors, long-time founding pastor of New City, said yesterday: "Collyn Schmidt was not just a good woman, and not just a faithful woman, although those things were undoubtedly true. She was one of the world's great women." Derek Halvorson, current president of Covenant College, said yesterday, "Aunt Collyn was a remarkable person who had a profound impact on the lives of generations of Covenant students...She was gracious, earnest, loving, witty, humble, and deeply committed to Jesus Christ and his truth - and spunky in the best possible way." Collyn Schmidt is survived by well over 150 nieces and nephews extending to the fourth generation around the world. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Wann Funeral Home. A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at New City Fellowship. This obituary was originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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