Erlen O. Schroeder, age 77, of Mayer, passed away Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at the Good Samaritan Center in Waconia. Diagnosed with cancer Aug. 26, 2010, Erlen endured his many treatments with patience and hope.
He was born Sept. 19, 1935, in Camden Township, Carver County, the son of Martin and Selma (Mielke) Schroeder. Erlen was baptized Sept. 25, 1935, at St. Mark Lutheran Church in New Germany by the 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, Erlen attended St. Mark’s Lutheran School, and was confirmed April 10, 1949, by the Rev. Fred Pfotenhauer.
Erlen 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. He 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, NE, where he received his teaching degree June 2, 1957. During the summer months, he attended classes at Mankato State.
In June 1957, his teaching assignment led him to Our Savior’s Lutheran School (a new mission school) in Lansing MI, where he was installed as a junior high teacher. While in Lansing, he attended Michigan State University, receiving his master’s 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, and social studies there, and was a baseball coach and bus driver. May 4, 1969, he was installed as principal of the school. After six years in that position, 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, Erlen 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.
Erlen once said, “I cannot remember a day when I felt I didn’t want to go to work.” He retired from LHS Aug. 17, 1997, and continued in public relations for several years at the school. He also served on various committees for education, community, and church.
After a short break, Erlen accepted the role of principal at St. John’s Lutheran School in Young America, filling this position for four and one-half years, until February 2011, when his health made it necessary for him to leave. 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 children, especially the little ones, and it was his hope to lead them to know their Savior.
Erlen was united in marriage to Mavis Noerenberg Aug. 9, 1958, 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 and his family enjoyed their cabin on Lake Osakis for 18 years. Erlen also enjoyed many hunting trips with his boys, talking about these trips for weeks. His girls also knew he always had a soft spot in his heart for them. Spending time with family, friends, and eight grandchildren were very special times.
After selling the cabin, Erlen and Mavis traveled all over the states and into Canada and Mexico with their RV. Taking a trip to Germany to see the land of their ancestors and visiting dear friends in Poland was also a highlight.
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; and grandparents William and Emma Schroeder, and Henry and Emilie Mielke.
He is survived by his loving family; wife Mavis; children Douglas (Kathy) Schroeder of New Germany, Sharon (Tom) Blaira, Gregg (Lori) Schroeder, all of Waconia, and Lisa (Wade) Swenson of Fergus Falls; and grandchildren Benjamin Schroeder, Cara Schroeder, Matthew Blair, Ryan Blair, Lauren Schroeder, Katie Schroeder, Abagail Swenson, and Aidan Swenson.
Erlen is further survived by a 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, and Sheldon Stender of Mayer; nieces; nephews; and other relatives and friends.
A funeral service took place Monday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. at Mayer Lutheran High School Fine Arts Center in May, with the Revs. LeRoy LaPlant and Lucas Woodford officiating. Interment was at St. Mark Lutheran Cemetery in New Germany.
Visitation was Sunday, Feb. 3 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia, with a chapel service at 4 p.m.; and continued Monday, one hour prior to the service.
Erlen’s grandchildren were his casket bearers.
Arrangements were with the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia; www.johnsonfh.com.