WINCHESTER — Marion Schottelkorb, longtime executive director of Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter (WATTS), died Saturday at her home, surrounded by family and close friends. She was 72.
She had been battling cancer.
For 10 years, Schottelkorb headed WATTS, joining the nonprofit organization shortly after its founding in 2009.
WATTS provides overnight, cold-weather shelter for homeless people in Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties.
The Rev. David Young, who was Schottelkorb’s pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church in Frederick County, described her as full of energy and an inspiration to others.
“She’s one of those unsung heroes in our world that not everybody knows of, but once you find what they do, you are amazed at what the human spirit can accomplish,” Young said on Sunday. “That’s what Marion was. She was a breath of fresh air and a whirlwind of strength, energy and compassion.”
Laurel Coleman, president of the WATTS board, said that during the first season of WATTS in 2009, only a handful of churches were willing to offer their facilities to accommodate the homeless. She credits Schottelkorb for increasing awareness about WATTS and getting more people involved in the cause. Due in part to Schottelkorb’s efforts, WATTS now has 20 churches that host homeless people from November to March on a weekly rotation.
“She had such a passion for WATTS and helping people,” Coleman said. “I truly admired that about her and her determination to make a difference.”
Schottelkorb’s responsibilities as executive director included bringing churches together, organizing fundraisers and guiding committees. She envisioned raising enough money so that WATTS could have a permanent location that would enable WATTS to shelter people year-round. Coleman said the organization’s dream is to be able to renovate a location for $50,000 to $100,000.
“As her pastor, I’ve been able to witness her dedication and love and care for those who are homeless and it has been inspiring — not only for our congregation, but for people throughout Winchester,” Young said. “She has brought an earnestness and a real leadership to caring for people in need and working so hard to find a place where WATTS can find a permanent home.”
Young said Schottelkorb was a fun-loving jokester who loved having a good time with her husband George and their friends.
“She loved her New England Patriots,” Young said. “She loved her Lord and she fought to serve her God by serving those who were less fortunate. And she did that with a true, genuine leadership and joy.”
A celebration of life service for Schottelkorb will be held in the near future, but Coleman said arrangements have not been finalized. In lieu of flowers, it was Schottelkorb’s wish that people make donations to WATTS online at watts-homelessshelter.org.
Coleman said WATTS’s 15-member board is trying to figure out how to move forward without Schottelkorb.
“I just feel the community has lost a fearless and tireless supporter for WATTS,” Coleman said. “She fought with grace, humor and passion. Her determination was truly to be admired, and WATTS will continue, but we will definitely be missing an element of enthusiasm and spunk.”
WATTS will host a Wizard of Oz-themed fundraiser on Aug. 10 at West Oaks Farm Market from 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at eventbrite.com/e/2019-watts-the-wizard-tickets-64435841336. Coleman encourages the public to turn out in honor of Schottelkorb.
In addition to her husband, Schottelkorb is survived by daughters Christyn and Tracey and eight grandchildren.