Sumi Schreyer’s Story

Serving as her husband’s caregiver was never a question for Sumi Schreyer. For the St. John’s Meadows resident — family is everything.

After attending university for engineering in her home country of Japan, Sumi married Theodor Schreyer, a U.S. Army engineer who returned to Japan after being stationed there years prior. “We got married in 1965 and moved to his grandparents’ summer house in Vermont,” says Sumi. The couple went on to fix up that house, making it the home where they would raise their two sons.

Sumi and Theodor both shared a love for nature, which Sumi says, is a good thing because of where they lived. “We lived in the country, far away from town.”

She reminisces on her former home and the life she built. “My husband, he was an engineer,” she says. “He built me a greenhouse because I love flowers.”

Sumi’s love of florals and botanicals can be seen in the artwork splayed across her desk at her St. John’s Meadows apartment. Her intricate paintings of watercolor florals show years of practice, though Sumi interjects, “My husband was the artist, and he taught me.”

Sumi at her desk, which has a picture of her late husband and dog Sophie, “I talk to them while I work,” adds Sumi.

Theodor excelled in oil painting, and he spent years teaching his wife and two children. The whole family developed their artistic style which is seen throughout Sumi’s apartment. “It is the Schreyer family art gallery,” she says.

Sumi says she has settled nicely into life at St. John’s Meadows. And though leaving behind her home in Vermont was an emotional choice, she says, “It was time.”

For seven years, Sumi was her husband’s primary caregiver after he suffered a stroke. “He was so stubborn and didn’t want to leave home,” she says with a smile. “The closest doctor was an hour away, so I looked after him.”

“I was a caregiver for a long time — it was isolating,” says Sumi. In 2020, Theodor passed away with Sumi at his side.

“I knew it was time to move,” she says. “My husband fixed everything around the house, and I couldn’t do it.”

Her older son, who lives in Pittsford, recommended St. John’s Meadows for his mother. “He said there are lots of woods and creatures around and that I would like it, and I did.” Sumi moved into St. John’s Meadows that same year and says she is “very happy here.”

“Every day I go for a walk — I really like it.”

The environment is not the only reason Sumi feels at home here. She says her son and his family visit every week. “He takes care of me and so do my friends here.”

“I have what I call my ‘big sisters,’ or my friends here,” says Sumi. “They take me to the concerts and museums.”

She also mentions the classes she teaches. At least twice a month she leads an origami class and a watercolor painting class.
“It is good,” says Sumi. “I don’t feel bored here. I always have enough to do.”