Cleta Belle Dromgoole Schermerhorn was born in Finchville, N.Y., on September 2, 1910. She studied music at Ithaca College, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1930 and a master's degree in music education in 1956. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Cleta met Marlo Keith Schermerhorn on November 11, 1928. They exchanged little more than a hello that night, but the encounter was the start of the college sweethearts' lifelong love story.
Cleta and Marlo were married on June 29, 1932, and made their home in Lancaster, N.Y. In 1934, their only son, Devon "Pete" Lee Schermerhorn, was born. Cleta loved traveling with Marlo and Devon, and visited every continent, except Antartica.
At the time of Cleta's death, the Schermerhorns were listed at number 9 on Wikipedia's site for "Longest Living Married Couples" in the world and, once updated, the Schermerhorns will be listed on the "100 Longest Marriages Ever" at number 58.
Early in her career, Cleta taught music in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. Once she and Marlo moved to Lancaster, Cleta established herself there, directing three choirs at St. John's Lutheran Church and taking on private voice and piano students, with each student giving her a picture of them to be placed on the piano. The entire front of the upright piano was covered by the time she stopped teaching privately at the age of 93.
Cleta and Marlo founded men's and women's choral groups and directed the Lancaster Community Chorus for 25 years, performing at international festivals and competitions, and a variety of venues, including Carnegie Hall.