Therese Noone Schireson, 68, of Bryn Mawr, a retired teacher, mother, and artist who made quilts, died Wednesday, Jan. 16, of cancer at her home. She was the wife of Lower Merion District Judge Henry J. Schireson.
Mrs. Schireson was named for St. Therese of Lisieux, known to Catholics as "the Little Flower.” The oldest of nine siblings, Mrs. Schireson was born in Philadelphia. She grew up in Bala Cynwyd and won a scholarship to Notre Dame Academy in Villanova.
She received a bachelor’s degree in art history from Pennsylvania State University in 1972 and in 1998 a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Pennsylvania.
In the early 1970s, she worked for a year as an English teacher at John Bartram High School.
She married Henry Schireson in 1972. The couple took a seven-month trip in a Volkswagen bus through Europe and North Africa. She liked to recall leaning out the window of the bus to pick wild oranges in southern Spain, her family said.
In her 20s, she studied yoga and meditation, and taught the subjects at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges, at Main Line School Night, and on cruise ships.
“As a pioneer of van life, yoga, and organic cooking, she was way ahead of her time,” her family said.
She poured her heart into calligraphy, yoga, teaching, sewing, travel, quilting, and baking, all while raising a family in Gladwyne and Narberth. The Schiresons moved to Bryn Mawr in 1992.
“One of my earliest memories is waking up in the middle of the night with growing pains,” said son Ben. “My mom would get me and my sister out of bed and do yoga with us. It seems funny to me now that it was my very first experience at yoga, but it was perfect.”
During the 1990s, she taught first grade and was a curriculum specialist at Haverford Friends School. She believed that intellectual development in first grade was critical to children’s later academic success, and she followed her students’ progress for years.
In the summers of 2001 and 2002, under the auspices of UNICEF, she traveled throughout Indonesia training primary school teachers to update their early childhood curricula.
In the last chapter of her life, she was present at the births of her two grandchildren and delighted in watching them develop.
Taught to sew by her grandmother at an early age, she developed a lifelong love of needlework and textile arts. In high school and college, she made her own clothing, and as a young mother, created ornate smock dresses for her daughters.
Her interest in needlework resurfaced in the last five years, when Mrs. Schireson took up quilting and joined the Valley Forge Homestead Quilters. She arranged for needlework partners in the United States, Asia, and Australia to mail her quilted squares that she incorporated into larger quilted pieces. “A whole new world opened up,” she said in a biography for a quilting group.
In addition to her husband and son, she is survived by daughters Suzanne and Terese; two grandchildren; four sisters; three brothers; and nieces and nephews.
Services will be private.