Joseph Schroeder was involved in his church, served on PTA boards and Booster Clubs for his children's schools, started the MU Track and Field Officials Association and helped the community's youth sports organizations flourish.
“My dad was a gentleman,” said Kevin Schroeder, Joseph's youngest son. “Although he was strong in his beliefs, he was also very humble. He and my mom were the kind of people you gravitated to. They had an extra sense that allowed them to be understanding of everything that is going around.”
Joe and his wife, Darlene, were a true "partnership". They met at a church youth group at age 14 and were married for nearly 60 years. The two collaborated in most aspects of their lives, including service.
“They just felt a gratitude of serving others; that was their reward,” said Kevin.
Kevin’s oldest brother, Jay Schroeder, agreed.
“They were there to help empower other people,” said Jay. “The reward for them was the connections they built with people.”
Joseph James Schroeder Jr., 80, died April 16 in Columbia. His wife, Darlene, died in February 2018.
The biggest part of Joe’s life was his family. Joe did a lot for his children, including coaching them.
Jay recalled a moment from his senior year of high school when he won first place for the mile. After finishing, he went to find his dad in the stands. Joe looked at Jay, smiled, and told him that he'd just beaten his father's record.
Prior to this, Jay didn’t even know Joe’s PR, which was the record for 20 years, because it wasn’t something he talked about. Joe was there to support his children as they went through their own experiences and made it about them.
“He may have been my best track and field coach,” said Jay. “I wouldn’t say it was easy, he gave me tough work outs, but he knew what I needed to do to improve.”
He taught his children many life lessons through sports and by being an example.
“They served as role models on how to be good citizens in the community,” said Jay. “They expected us to get involved and they led by example.”
“I frame a lot of things I do through sports, because the way he looked at sports was they were a good way to learn life lessons such as, most things that are really rewarding in life take time and you get out what you put in,” said Kevin. “What I appreciate most was his perseverance and finding the good things in life. He was always a team player.”
Joe touched more lives than just his children’s.
An old grade school friend of Joe’s was recently in touch with Kevin and said, “I haven’t come across a person that didn’t like your dad. Have you?”
After thinking on it, Kevin said, while he could think of times people disagreed with his father, no one who truly disliked him came to mind.
“They lived a rich life and it was because of the people involved in their lives,” said Jay. They both had very full happy lives.”
Funeral services will be held at the church at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27, 2019, with burial following at Memorial Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the MU Track and Field Officials Association: MUTFOA, 7602 South Hill Creek Road, Columbia, MO 65203