Ilse Schaler, 93

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Ilse Ingeborg Schaler passed away peacefully at HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice in Providence on Sept. 3, 2022. 

Born and raised Lutheran in Nuremberg, Germany, Ilse was the only child of the late Hella and Wilhelm Spilling. Her parents were at the center of a vibrant community of intellectuals, artists and musicians, a background which Ilse absorbed and reimagined repeatedly throughout her life. Ilse immigrated to the United States at the age of 19, arriving in Rhode Island married to a RI resident. Following a divorce a few years later, Ilse made her way working in office roles at Brown and Yale universities before meeting her future husband Albert Schaler. Ilse was converted to Judaism by Rabbi William Braude, of Temple Beth-El, in Providence, and remained a part of the Jewish community for her entire life. 

Like her parents, Ilse and Albert created communities of art, music, intellect and beauty wherever they lived, which included Providence; Kerrville, Texas, and Bristol. Ilse introduced early music in Providence in the 1960s as the recorder teacher to scores of children and adults and founder of the Providence Recorder Society, which thrived under her leadership, When the Schalers moved to Kerrville, Texas, Ilse once again built an early music community from the ground up, this time with adults of all backgrounds. Upon return to RI years later, Ilse retired from music and switched to visual arts, focusing on watercolor painting, printmaking and mixed media two-dimensional design. After Albert’s passing in 2011, Ilse lived alone in Bristol for a few years before moving to Atria Bay Spring Village, where she again contributed beauty and culture to the community, with bird feeders, bird baths, flower boxes and live music performed by former students – now in their 60s and 70s – which the community came to love as well. 

Ilse’s remains will be cremated, mingled with those of her beloved husband Albert and scattered according to their wishes. 

Donations in memory of Ilse may be directed to the Albert and Ilse Schaler Fund, RI Community Foundation, One Union Station, Providence, RI 02903; 401-274-4564; info@rifoundation.org.