Erlen O. Schroeder, age 77 of Mayer, passed away on Friday Feb. 1, 2013, at the Good Samaritan Center in Waconia. Erlen was diagnosed with cancer on Aug. 26, 2010. He endured his many treatments with patience and hope.
The funeral service was held on Monday Feb. 4, at 2 p.m. at the Mayer Lutheran High School Fine Arts Center, with Rev. LeRoy LaPlant and Rev. Lucas Woodford officiating. Visitation was Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia and 1 hour prior to the service on Monday. There was a chapel service at 4 p.m. Sunday; interment at St. Mark Lutheran Cemetery in New Germany.
Erlen was born on Sept.19, 1935, in Camden Twp., Carver County, MN the son of Martin and Selma (Mielke) Schroeder. He was baptized on Sept. 25, 1935, at St. Mark Lutheran Church in New Germany by Rev. Theo Rolf.
His first years of school were at Public School District 63 in Young America. After his parents purchased a farm near New Germany he attended St. Mark’s Lutheran School being confirmed on April 10, 1949, by Rev. Fred Pfotenhauer.
He spent his high school years attending Concordia College in St. Paul and going on to Concordia Jr. College for the next two years. During his high school years he helped on the family farm and worked at Montgomery Ward in St. Paul. Erlen spent his junior college years working the night shift at the Swift Meat Packing Plant in St. Paul, all while being a full time student.
Following his high school graduation in 1953 and junior college in 1955, he taught the lower grades at St. John’s Lutheran School in Hollywood Twp. from 1955-1956. Erlen then enrolled at Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Neb.,where he received his teaching degree on June 2, 1957. During the summer months he was attending classes at Mankato State.
In June of 1957, his teaching assignment lead him to Our Savior’s Lutheran School (a new mission school) in Lansing Mich., where he was installed as junior high teacher on Aug. 18, 1957. While in Lansing, he attended Michigan State University, receiving his Master’s Degree in Degree in Secondary School administration.
Erlen accepted a call to Mayer Lutheran High School in 1963. For the next six years he taught English, German, Social Studies and was a baseball coach and bus driver. On May 4, 1969, he was installed as principal of the school. After six years he spent one year as full time financial development and recruitment officer. Seeing the need to utilize his skills the school went to a dual principal and superintendent administration in 1977.
As superintendent he was given the responsibility of financial development, student recruitment and public relations. His greatest joy came in getting the school financially sound and starting a Student Aid Endowment Fund so any child had an opportunity to get a Christian education. Even when an offer came to administer a public high school he knew a Christian school is where he wanted to be.
Erlen once made a comment, “I cannot remember a day when I felt I didn’t want to go to work.” He retired from LHS on Aug. 17, 1997, and continued in public relations for several years at the school. Over the years Erlen had served on various committees for education, community and church.
After a short break he accepted the role of principal at St. John’s Lutheran School in Young America. Erlen filled this position for 4 ½ years until February 2011, when he couldn’t because of his health. It was at that time he was recognized by the Minnesota South District for having served 50 plus years in continual Christian education. Erlen had a great love for kids, especially the little ones and it was his hope to lead them to know their Savior.
As a family, they enjoyed their cabin on Lake Osakis for 18 years. Also the annual walleye fishing tournament with his sons and grandson. Sometimes they were even successful. Erlen also enjoyed the many hunting trips with the boys, talking about these trips for weeks. Not to leave out the girls, they knew he always had a soft spot in his heart for them.
After selling the cabin, Erlen and Mavis traveled all over the states and into Canada and Mexico with their RV. Erlen planned his itinerary months in advance. Mavis would wonder where they were going and what she would see next. He would always include her special interests like a beautiful botanical garden or tickets to see a live performance of Anne of Green Gables on Prince Edward Island. After six years of travel they never had a flat tire or breakdown. Taking a trip to Germany to see the land of their ancestors and visiting dear friends in Poland was also a highlight.
Spending time with family, friends and 8 grandchildren were very special times. The birdfeeders and fountains in the yard were never empty and chipmunks and squirrels knew where they could play.
On Aug. 9, 1958 Erlen was united in marriage to Mavis Noerenberg at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in New Germany. Their union was blessed with four children, Douglas, Sharon, Gregg and Lisa. Erlen and Mavis enjoyed over 54 years together.
Erlen was preceded in death by his parents Martin and Selma Schroeder; sister Dorene Stender; father-in-law and mother-in-law Ruben and Lorena Noerenberg; nephew Michael Noerenberg; grandparents William and Emma Schroeder and Henry and Emilie Mielke.
Erlen is survived by his loving family; wife Mavis; children Douglas (Kathy) Schroeder of New Germany, Sharon (Tom) Blair of Waconia, Gregg (Lori) Schroeder of Waconia, Lisa (Wade) Swenson of Fergus Falls; grandchildren Benjamin Schroeder, Cara Schroeder, Matthew Blair, Ryan Blair, Lauren Schroeder, Katie Schroeder, Abagail Swenson, Aidan Swenson; brother and sister-in-law Gordon and Darlene Schroeder of New Germany; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Dennis and Sharon Buehler of Cologne, James and Susan Noerenberg of New Germany, Sheldon Stender of Mayer; nieces, nephews other relatives and friends.
Casket Bearers are Erlen’s grandchildren.
To God All Praise and Glory .
Arrangements with the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia; www.johnsonfh.com.