Harriet “Pebbles” Louise Schmidt Renfrow passed away on December 1, 2023, in Melbourne, Florida at the age of 77. Born on September 2, 1946, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to Horace Woodson and Elizabeth Riley Schmidt, Harriet grew up and attended school in California, Missouri. She was known throughout her childhood as “Hattie Lou.” While teaching canoeing at a girl’s camp following high school graduation, she earned the nickname “Pebbles” which followed her through adulthood. She attended Christian College and the University of Missouri at Columbia where she earned a B.S. in Elementary Special Education and was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
Pebbles met Army Second Lieutenant John M. Renfrow, who was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, on a blind date at Mizzou arranged by her sorority sister and future sister-in-law Paula Thompson and John’s brother Jim. Three months later Pebbles and John were married on January 27, 1968. While John was in Vietnam for a year, Pebbles lived with her parents in Alexandria, Virginia and started her 40-year career as a teacher in the Alexandria Public School system. Over the years she also taught in Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas, retiring from the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District in suburban Houston. Pebbles loved teaching and taught in a variety of settings, including public schools, church schools, Army adult education centers and Montessori. Her classrooms were always the best decorated rooms in the building, and the hundreds of students she taught over her career benefited from her passionate commitment to their education and well-being. Pebbles’ other passions included her family, friends, boating, travel, collecting art, animal welfare, Broadway musicals, and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books and the TV series. At least four boats were named after her (three named “Pebbles” and one “Hattie Lou”). Pebbles and John were members of the Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach. They traveled the world together from the Middle East to Asia and from Iceland to New Zealand, visiting more than 30 countries. In keeping with her fascination with the Outlander books, Scotland was her favorite. By far her proudest achievements were her two daughters and two grandsons, who grew up to be caring, intelligent, responsible adults.
Pebbles is survived by her husband of 55 years, John M. Renfrow; daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Galen Madison of Houston, Texas; daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Frank Scelso of Viera, Florida; and her grandsons Samuel Woodson Renfrow of Austin, Texas and Jacob Riley Madison of San Marcus, Texas. A celebration of Pebbles’ life will be held at the Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Habour Beach, Florida at 11:00 AM on March 2, 2024.