Jane Merrill Schulte, a woman who was remembered as a teacher for more than 36 years at the John M. Marshall Elementary School in East Hampton and who was revered for staging “red tag” estate sales across the East End, died on Feb. 12 at Southampton Hospital of complications of pneumonia. Today would have been her 89th birthday.
Born on Feb. 27, 1925, to Wesley Prior Merrill and the former Matilda Faith Nolan in Middletown, Conn., Mrs. Schulte grew up in East Marion, attending Greenport Elementary and High Schools, and then the State University at New Paltz, from which she graduated in 1946 with a degree in elementary education.
She and Donald Schulte were married on Nov. 7, 1947. The two were not strangers. According to Mrs. Schulte’s daughter Elizabeth McMaster, her parents met as members of the 4H clubs in their hometowns, Mrs. Schulte in East Marion and Mr. Schulte in East Hampton. After their marriage, they moved into a house Mr. Schulte’s father had built on the Sag Harbor Road in East Hampton, and lived there from then on.
Ms. McMaster said her mother’s popularity as a teacher was evident. On an occasion in a doctor’s office, for example, a former student greeted her mother warmly and cautioned the doctor: “You take care of her. That’s my fifth-grade teacher.”
Mrs. Schulte was always fascinated by antiques and the couple opened an antiques shop in East Marion after Mrs. Schulte inherited her mother’s house there. They later opened a shop in Bridgehampton.
Mrs. Schulte also put her knowledge of antiques to work for local charities, running an annual sale for the East Hampton Rotary Club at Miss Amelia’s Cottage in Amagansett and other sales for the East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society. She was sought after as an appraiser as well, her daughter said, and when one of the estate sales was advertised, “People would run toward the doors. It was like a rock concert.”
Mrs. Schulte was a member of the Ramblers, an East Hampton women’s literary club, and she loved traveling with her husband. He died in 2002.
Besides Ms. McMaster, Mrs. Schulte is survived by another daughter, Lisa Brown, and a son, Donald Schulte, both of East Hampton.
Mrs. Schulte was a member of the East Hampton Presbyterian Church. In the East Hampton minister’s absence, the Rev. Tony Larsen of the Springs Presbyterian Church officiated at a service on Feb. 16 at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton, with burial the next day at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton, where Mr. Larson spoke.
The family has suggested donations in Mrs. Schulte’s name be made to the East Hampton Rotary Club, P.O. Box1746, or the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association, 1 Cedar Street, both East Hampton 11937, or to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105.