Barbara Therese Brennan Schaefer


HOUSTON – Barbara Therese Brennan Schaefer, 96, known to her family as Babar, Grammy, and Grammy Baba, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Jan. 18, 2024. A beloved matriarch, her memory lives on in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Barbara was born on the first day of spring, March 21, 1927, to William and Blanche Brennan, in Waterbury, Conn. Raised in Beacon Falls, she attended Naugatuck High School, where she was an honor student, cheerleader, and yearbook editor in chief.

Voted “Girl Most Likely to Succeed,” Barbara was described as having twinkling Irish eyes. In a 1944 local beauty contest, she was crowned Miss United States Rubber. Barbara loved to point out that she won after arriving barefaced straight from a swim in the lake.

She attended New Haven Teachers College, where she had many starring roles in dramatic productions, and was chosen by the faculty to participate in a foreign exchange program to Carleton College in Ottawa, Canada.

After graduating in 1948, Barbara began her career teaching elementary school in Connecticut. She continued teaching at parochial schools, Houston ISD, and Alief ISD in Houston, Texas, until her retirement in 1987.

Barbara married Leonard Charles Schaefer Jr., of Seymour, Conn., in November 1948. They welcomed their first two children, Barbara and Cynthia, in Beacon Falls. In 1952, Leonard’s job with General Electric Wire and Cable moved the family to Houston, Texas, where they welcomed four more children, Franklyn, Stephen, Betsy, and Suzanne.

She was a member of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church of Houston and Women’s Club. A loyal friend to companions near and far, Barbara was steadfast in her support. She was also a friend to animals, particularly horses, dogs, and cats. A nature lover, Barbara especially appreciated flowers, birds, and the woods of her native Connecticut.

Barbara cherished spending time with her family and pets and enjoyed frequent visits to the family ranch in Ledbetter, Texas. Music was a particular source of joy in her life, especially Irish tenors and baritones, bagpipes, show tunes, and easy-listening music, including Perry Como and Andy Williams.

She spent much of her free time reading and authored “C’est La Vie!”, a book of quaint sayings, expressions, and quips.

Barbara truly had joie de vivre, sharing her bright and fun wit that will be missed dearly by those who knew and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard Charles Schaefer Jr.; her parents, William and Blanche Grenier Brennan; her siblings, W. Franklyn Brennan, Margery (Richard) Leonard, and Roger (Joan) Brennan; and her eldest daughter Barbara (Lee) Cash.

She is survived by her remaining children, Cynthia Schaefer, L. Franklyn (Peggy) Schaefer, Stephen Schaefer, Betsy (Steve) Hupp, and Suzanne Kenishea; 11 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Treemont Senior Living, Senior Allegiance, Vantage Hospice, and Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center for their care of Barbara.

A service to celebrate Barbara’s life will be Feb. 9, 2024, at 2 p.m., reception to follow, at Memorial Oaks Funeral Home, 13001 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX, 77079.