Rachel Anne Schemmel

Visitation will be held from 9 - 10 a.m. on Friday, June 3, 2022 at St. Paul Catholic Church in Worthington, Iowa with a Memorial Mass to commence at 10:30 a.m.  Burial will follow at St. Paul cemetery in Worthington.


Dr. Rachel A. Schemmel


Rachel Anne Schemmel, age 92, of Dubuque, IA, formerly of Dyersville, IA and East Lansing, MI, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 15, 2022.


Memorial services will be held at a later date. 

Kramer Funeral Home, 750 12th Avenue, Dyersville, Iowa, 52040, is assisting the family.


Rachel was born in 1929 to Frederic A. and Emma (Melchert) Schemmel on the family farm in Farley, Iowa.  She attended St Joseph School in Farley, graduated from Mount Mercy College and then earned her bachelors degree at Clarke College in 1951. Along with the Dietetic Internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Dr Schemmel received her masters degree in Nutrition from the University of Iowa in 1952.  After working as a dietitian in Los Angeles, she began teaching Food Science & Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, where she earned her PhD. She was a trailblazer for women in the Sciences and her career helped pave the path for many female academics and professionals who studied with her during 45 years at MSU.


She earned a distinguished international reputation for studies of dietary factors in the development of obesity with hundreds of publications to her credit. She conducted research at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England. The rodent DNA model of dietary obesity, which she developed at MSU, continues to serve as the basis for work by other researchers to this day.


She is the recipient of numerous awards including Outstanding Alumni Awards from each college she attended, Women Achievers Award, a Leader Award and a Borden Research Award from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, ASNS Fellow Award for Experimental Biology, Dietetic Educator Awards from both the Michigan and American Dietetic Associations, and the Distinguished Faculty Award and Research and Outreach Awards from Michigan State University. 


She served as past president of the Michigan Dietetics Association, and provided professional services to the American Dietetics Association, American Society for Nutritional Sciences, North American Association for the Study of Obesity and the Michigan Heart Association.  She is a life member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and is listed in multiple Who’s Who publications.


Rachel was a devout Catholic. She enjoyed genealogical research and traveled to Germany in that pursuit. She organized fun family reunions attended by hundreds.  She loved her gardens and the beautiful flowering cherry tree outside her window in East Lansing.  A great cook and hostess, she often opened her home to students who were alone at the holidays or otherwise needing a meal and good conversation.  She enjoyed writing poetry and contributed articles to various organizations such as The Iowa Barn Foundation and The New Vienna (Iowa) Historical Society.  She traveled the world with her many dear friends/colleagues.  A loyal MSU Spartans fan, she especially enjoyed football and women’s basketball.  Her spirit was joyous and generous.


Those left to cherish her memory include her niece Deborah (Lee David) Fautsch of Dubuque, with whom she lived until recently, niece Sheree Ann Meyer (Byron Shuford) of Orlando Florida, nephew Richard (Kathy) Adams of Tucson, Arizona, great nephew Justin (Judy) Fautsch of Pasadena, California, and great niece, Kristin Kielpinski of Parker, Colorado.


She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Virginia Meyer, half sister Lucile Adams,  half brother Floyd Schemmel, brothers in law Dr. Herbert Meyer and Horace A. Adams.


Memorial donations may be made to the Dr. Rachel A. Schemmel Endowed Lecture/Undergraduate Research Scholarship Fund (A11294) at Michigan State University, The Dr Rachel A. Schemmel Graduate Student Endowed Research Scholarship (A11295) also at Michigan State, the Rachel Schemmel Endowed Scholarship Fund in Dietetics/Nutrition at the University of Iowa, The Schemmel Endowed Theology Lecture at Clarke University, Dubuque, Iowa or St Thomas Aquinas Parish and School, East Lansing, Michigan.


Online condolences may be left for the family at www.kramerfuneral.com.