Doris Moon Schreiner, a sixty year Darien resident, died Monday, September 17, at Stamford Hospital after a long illness. She was 90.
Known professionally and to her friends as Dorrie Schreiner, she was an artist, teacher, antiques dealer, appraiser and missionary to the lepers in Thailand. As the wife of Samuel A. Schreiner, Jr., she accompanied him in a professional capacity as photographer in travels to every continent but Africa for research on books and articles for Reader's Digest and other magazines.
Born to Philip Codding and Carrie Conklin Moon in Englewood, New Jersey, Mrs. Schreiner was a graduate of Englewood's Dwight Morrow High School and Finch Junior College in New York before earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Tyler School of Art of Temple University in Philadelphia.
She taught art in Englewood schools during the war, and after her marriage in 1945 did graduate work at Corcoran Museum School of Art in Washington while the couple lived there and became a very active member of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and a prize winner in the organization's exhibitions when they moved back to Mr. Schreiner's birthplace in Mt. Lebanon.
Shortly after settling in Darien in 1952, Mrs. Schreiner became a founding member and then second chairperson of the Darien Art Show. In the next few years she won first prizes in painting, photography and sculpture and numerous other awards in that show and in shows at Rowayton Art Center where she was a life member.
But Mrs. Schreiner's heart was in teaching. Turning her basement into a well equipped studio, she taught adult ceramic classes for the Darien Community Association and private children's classes.
She was adviser on the design of a studio where she held classes in the new YMCA. None of this went unnoticed in 1959 when Dr. Chinda Singhanet, a family friend and director of McCormick Hospital and McKean Leper Colony in Chiang Mai, Thailand, visited the Schreiners.
After a look around her studio, Dr. Chinda issued an urgent invitation to Mrs. Schreiner to come to Chiang Mai and start a program to provide lepers with physical therapy for their crippled hands and the skills to create pleasing and profitable products. It would mean breaking very new ground since the electric kiln and the kind of glazes Mrs. Schreiner was using were unknown in northern Thailand.
It was a challenge just made for her, but she was a '50's mother who believed in "togetherness" with her husband and two young daughters. Dr. Chinda appreciated her feeling, and made it possible, partly through funding by the American Mission to the Lepers, for her family to accompany her on this adventure.
The ten weeks that the Schreiner family could afford to spend on scene turned out to be the tip of an iceberg of preparatory activity, but everything was so well in place when they arrived that she could start teaching the very next day. A measure of her success was that some of her pupils still involved in a continuing program met the plane when Mr. and Mrs. Schreiner returned to Chiang Mai for a brief visit more than a decade later.
In the meantime, her pioneering effort had led to similar short term missions on the part of American doctors who came out to teach their specialty to Thai counterparts. For Mrs. Schreiner herself, getting out into the world resulted in a change of course.
She began a business importing works of art and antiques and was founder and senior partner of Gallery Antiques, a Post Road establishment she continued on her own until her semi-retirement in the mid-'80's. After closing the Gallery, Mrs. Schreiner worked for many more years as an appraiser of fine arts and antiques.
The variety of Mrs. Schreiner's experiences in collaboration with her husband is evident from only a few of the projects in which she was deeply involved—her own cover story in Intellect magazine on Angelica Kauffmann, an 18th century painter famed in England and Italy; an article on Haitian painters called "Soul On Canvas" for Reader's Digest, an account of scientific investigations into the nature and history of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City for the Digest's foreign editions.
When not working, Mrs. Schreiner was active in the social and tennis programs of the Noroton Yacht Club and the women's programs of the Noroton Presbyterian Church Church.
She leaves her husband; two daughters, Beverly S. Carroll of Vienna, Austria, and Carolyn S. Calder of New York City; a grandson, Ryder Pierce Carroll of Brooklyn and a sister, Beverly Moon Fenn of Copake, New York.
A memorial service will be held at Noroton Presbyterian Church on Oct. 12, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. Gifts should be made to McKean Rehabilitation Center, Box 53, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand (www.mckeanhosp.org).