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Remembering a Christian leader
Feb. 11, 2013
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Former Mayer Lutheran High School superintendent Erlen Schroeder passed away Feb. 1

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

MAYER, MN – “A life well lived,” is how Mayer Lutheran High School’s executive director Joel Landskroener expressed the contributions of former superintendent Erlen Schroeder, who passed away Feb. 1.

“He loved kids, and he loved what he did here,” Landskroener said. “He was a wonderful guy.”

Schroeder, 77, was involved in Christian education for more than half a century.

His first teaching job was at St. John’s Lutheran School in Hollywood Township, followed by Our Savior’s Lutheran School in Lansing, MI.

He accepted a call to Mayer Lutheran in 1963, shortly after the school was constructed. For the first six years, Schroeder taught English, German, and social studies, while serving as a baseball coach and bus driver.

He later became principal, financial development/recruitment officer, and superintendent.

“He did just about everything,” Landskroener said.

Even after his official retirement in 1997, Schroeder continued in public relations and fundraising efforts at Mayer Lutheran for several years.

At age 71, Schroeder was still eager to use his talents to bless others, and became principal at St. John’s Lutheran School in Norwood Young America for 4.5 years.

Although he had to quit in February 2011 due to cancer, Schroeder maintained a patient and thankful attitude.

“God has allowed me to experience a lot of great things,” Schroeder said at a founder’s luncheon in May 2012, which was held in honor of Mayer Lutheran’s 50th anniversary.

Schroeder and his wife, Mavis, enjoyed 54 years together, and all four of their children graduated from MLHS. Two of their grandchildren currently attend, and next year, a third grandchild will enter the school as a freshman.

In addition to providing for his own family, Schroeder also helped to make MLHS attainable for others.

“He was really good at encouraging people to support Lutheran education financially. Erlen was ahead of his time,” Landskroener said, explaining that due to Schroeder’s influence, many people have listed MLHS in their wills.

Schroeder is also behind the Schroeder Student Aid Endowment Fund, which has more than $1 million in scholarship assistance available for families in need.

“By doing that, it enabled a lot of kids to attend MLHS who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford a Christian education,” Landskroener said.

Helping create a solid financial base is just one of many aspects of Schroeder’s legacy.

“Because of Erlen, my life is incredibly easier,” Landskroener said. “Especially when I was new here, he helped me get to know the neighbors and the community.”

Schroeder had many friends, and more than 400 people attended his funeral.

“There were people from all over – classmates from Concordia College in St. Paul, former teachers and students,” Landskroener said. “The place was filled with laughter and joy, because even though we miss him here on Earth, Erlen is with the Lord in heaven.”

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