Wendy Suzanne Scholz

Wendy Suzanne Scholz

Wendy Suzanne Scholz

Iowa City

Wendy Suzanne Scholz was born on February 20, 1976, to Cora and Robert Scholz. Growing up as one of five children in the Scholz household, she was an accomplished cellist and played soccer, a sport she chose because her parents didn’t want her damaging her cello-playing hands. Naturally Wendy chose to become a goalkeeper and numerous hand injuries followed.

She attended Northwestern University, where she was one of the first recruits to be a part of the inaugural Division I Women’s Soccer team in 1994 and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a minor in African studies. She set and still holds numerous records and other accolades as a soccer player at Northwestern. She was an Academic All-American in 1997, holds the record at Northwestern for most saves in a game (22) as well as most saves in a season (218) and saves in a career (577), both records to this day at Northwestern and in the Big 10, and played the second most minutes in a career and the second most consecutive games started (78). These records are a testament to her fitness, strength, perseverance, and toughness; especially considering she did all this at the grand height of 5’4” (an unheard-of shortness in stature for a goalkeeper).

Her teammates and friends at Northwestern remember her as a profound thinker who was continually looking for and seeking deeper meaning and connection, a role model whose work ethic and determination set a high standard every single day, and most admirably, a deeply and fiercely loyal friend. Once you were in Wendy’s inner circle of friends, you were there for life. Her friends describe her as being smart, philosophical, and principled, with a clever wit and quick impish smile. She was a kind soul and a longtime vegetarian with a place in her heart for all living things. Mosquitoes that made their way into the family cabin were not smacked but were instead caught and released into the open air outside.

After graduation she spent one year at Colorado College as the assistant women’s soccer coach, then moved to Iowa City, where she had accepted a scholarship to the University of Iowa’s Ph.D program in Philosophy and was a grad assistant for the women’s soccer team. She began taking judo classes (where she met her husband-to-be, Rich), eventually earned a black belt, and competed in and won the Iowa Games in 2004 and 2006. After transitioning out of the competitive sector, Wendy began coaching youth athletes during which time she also began working as a licensed massage therapist.

In 2010 she defended her dissertation “The Phenomenology of Movement” and earned her Ph.D in Philosophy. The same year she joined the Iowa City Fire Department as their first female recruit but a training accident in 2012 forced her retirement several years later. After her retirement, Wendy discovered new passions such as gardening, including successfully growing peanuts and tiger nuts. She also played bass guitar in a blues band, Blue Dog Band, at local venues alongside her husband. Wendy and Rich also remodeled the interior and exterior of their home in Iowa City’s oldest neighborhood, Goosetown. Due to their dedication toward its renovation, Wendy and Rich won the city’s Historic Preservation Award.

In recent years, one of Wendy’s favorite ways to pass the time was walking on her farmland with her beloved fur companion Huddie, a Pitbull mix whom she adopted as a puppy and spoiled from that time on. She also enjoyed exercising in her basement, visiting her mother in Northfield, and staying for several weeks each summer at her family’s lake cabin with brother David and his family, where she spent time developing a unique bond with her nephew Luka; shooting slingshots, kayaking, playing fetch down at the lake with Huddie, and putting together huge jigsaw puzzles and complicated Lego sets with Luka. She also enjoyed traveling home for the holidays to be with her mother, siblings, and extended family to carry out favorite family traditions such as setting up the family’s old Standard Gauge train.

Wendy is preceded in death by her father Robert Scholz. She is survived by her husband Richard Finley, mother Cora Scholz of Northfield, MN, brother David Scholz (Dara and Luka) of Chico, CA, sisters Miriam Scholz-Carlson (Helena, Anna and Eva), Maria Boda (Stephan, Mae and Beno), and twin sister Carol Smith (David and Fiona), all from Minneapolis, MN, godmother Lise Faillettaz, and, of course, her beloved Huddie. The entire family is grateful to her nieces Anna Scholz-Carlson and Mae Boda who served as her dedicated caregivers as her health declined over the last 10 months of her life. Wendy passed away peacefully on the morning of March 18, 2024. She was 48 years old. A memorial service for Wendy will take place at 11:00 a.m. on July 19 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield, MN. Donations in honor of Wendy may be made to The Friends of the Animal Center Foundation in Iowa City at www.facf.org

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