Ken Schroder

03/16/1925 – 12/13/2011

 

Kenneth Ervin Schroder was born in Akron Ohio on March 16, 1925.  He was a very resourceful and fiercely independent kid. After he graduated from High School in 1942, he tried to enlist in the Military at the outbreak of WWII.  In spite of being turned down during his first attempt due to health reasons, he managed to cheat his way through his second attempt, and was accepted and became a Sergeant in the Army infantry.  Destined to become an educator, he trained new recruits through Basic Training before being deployed.  Scheduled to be in the first wave of soldiers to land on the beach during the invasion of Japan, his life was spared due to the Atomic Bomb being dropped. Instead, he became part of the US Occupation Troops and came home as an honored US Veteran. 

After the war, Ken learned to fly airplanes, he worked for the B&O Railroad, he owned his own Gas Station, and he had a Dry Cleaning Route.  Each of these experiences helped to shape him in one way or another, but his true desire was always to challenge and further educate his mind. Wanting to go to College, but still not having the means, he suddenly discovered that he could go courtesy of the GI Bill. And so, he went on to Oberlin College in 1950. There he met his future wife Joy on the very first day. That encounter, further confirmed his belief that everything happens for a reason, and that we shouldn’t get discouraged when things don’t seem to be going the way we think they should.  By his Junior year, Ken and Joy began a marriage that would last for nearly 60 years.

Ken graduated from Oberlin in 1954 and became an educator and volunteer for the next 55 years.  For 34 of those years he taught High School Sciences at the George School in Newtown, PA, and volunteered with the National Head Start program.  During this time, Ken and Joy raised 3 children - Mark, Holly and Todd. They purchased and operated a summer camp in Northeastern PA, where they would spend the next 25 summers offering countless children the outdoor experience of a lifetime.  After retiring from the George School, Ken taught for the National Science Foundation for another 10 years.  Through the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, he directed a program that taught other teachers how to teach hands on science. During this time, the first of 8 Grandchildren was also born. After moving to Florida in 2001 he went to the American Red Cross and became a Preparedness and Response Volunteer. After being deployed by the Red Cross to work immediately after 6 hurricanes and 1 Tornado, he went on to teach other volunteers for the Red Cross.

Ken’s passion for learning continued throughout his life.  When he was in his late seventies, he took a course in sign language simply to see if he could still learn something new. Always the teacher he imparted one last lesson before his death.  After finding out that he had lost his battle with Cancer, he said, “I’ve lived a good life. I have no regrets, and I have a lot to be proud of. It would be nice to be around to see more of this life, but this is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s Okay…I’m Okay.” He left this life very peacefully having taught those who knew him to live our lives as optimists, living life to the fullest, while helping, and loving those around us along the way.