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Calista Rault Schneidau, peacefully passed away, surrounded by her family, on May 9, 2023, after 99 years of joyful life. Calista approached life with her arms wide open. She was born to Calista Morgan and Joseph M. Rault Sr. on Jan. 6, 1924, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She maintained a lifelong love of her hometown, which she instilled in her children and grandchildren, and celebrated with her friends - always the one to stand up and lead a 2nd line dance after birthdays and family reunions.
As a child, Calista attended Ursuline Academy, graduated from Metairie Park Country Day School, and then went on to Newcomb College, where she was editor of the college newspaper and graduated with a degree in Psychology.
Calista met Wallace B. Schneidau (Wally) at a Mardi Gras ball and they were married in 1948. They immediately moved to Houston, Texas, where they became immersed in civic activities and began their family. Calista and Wally strongly believed in being active in their community. They were lifelong members of the St. Anne Catholic community, and raised their 11 children in that loving environment. They were active in the local political scene and Calista was thrilled to second the nomination of President Eisenhower for his 1956 re-election at the Republican National convention. As their family grew, Calista became a correspondent for the Houston Chronicle, ‘working remotely’ from home several decades before it became the thing to do. Over the years, she gave her time on the St. Anne Parish Council, as a lector and Eucharistic minister for many years at Mass, and was later a member of the St. Anne’s Guild. Calista’s calling led her beyond her own parish; she volunteered for Cristo Rey Jesuit high school and she served for 30 years - well into her 90s - as a volunteer at Memorial Hermann Hospital as part of the Catholic Chaplain Corps. In her later years, Calista continued in this service even as she had to use a walker to make her rounds.
After Wally died in 1979, Calista found herself with 5 of her 11 children still to support at home and she began managing the rental properties they had acquired. She loved following her children’s and grandchildren’s many activities, attending as many as possible. She relished visits with her neighbors, attending sporting events, the theater and traveling. Holidays and special events were celebrated with lots of family and friends - ‘the more the merrier’. It was important to her that all felt welcomed into her home. Well into her 90s, Calista famously hosted New Year’s Eve parties for her friends, though admittedly they eventually began to celebrate “midnight” at 9pm.
Calista was fortunate to maintain her active lifestyle and lived independently in her home until the age of 95, when she moved into Holly Hall Retirement Community, where she began making new friends, while still keeping up with old ones, her children and her grandchildren. She continued putting her love of journalism to work interviewing staff and residents and writing articles for the newsletter at Holly Hall. She delighted in this opportunity to learn and get to know people through these interviews, and her family would like to thank the dedicated Holly Hall staff, particularly those in Assisted Living, for caring for Calista.
Calista is preceded in death by her husband, Wallace, her daughter, Kristi, her parents, Calista and Joseph Rault Sr, her sister, Beatrice R. Baldwin, and her brother, Joseph M. Rault Jr. She is survived by her children: Wallace Schneidau (Eva), Philip Schneidau, Calista Herbert (Wayne), Karen Frey (Martin), Sandra Penoucos (Hector), Lauri Ruiz (Joseph), Paul Schneidau, William J. Schneidau, Stephen Schneidau (Mary) and Beatrice Dickson (Marc), 19 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren, as well as cousins, and numerous nieces and nephews who were all dear to her.
Visitation will be held on May 15, 2023 at 6 pm, with a Prayer Service at 7 pm at St. Anne Catholic Church, 2140 Westheimer, Houston, TX. A funeral mass celebrating Calista’s life will be at St. Anne’s on May 16, 2023 at 10 am. Calista requested that attendees dress colorfully, in celebration of life. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Calista’s memory may be made, with gratitude, to Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep of Houston, 6700 Mt. Carmel St., Houston, Texas 77087.
Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep of Houston
6700 Mt. Carmel St., Houston TX 77087