Well known Okemos parent, Pastor to Okemos families and supporter of the arts
Roy P. Schroeder, ThD, Pastor Emeritus
Ascension Lutheran Church, E. Lansing, MI
September 8, 1929 – January 20, 2021
Roy Philip Schroeder was born in Caro, Michigan, the son of Rev. Philip Schroeder and his wife, Esther (nee Ude), on September 8, 1929. The family moved to Lansing, Michigan in 1931 where Philip Schroeder, Sr. served as the Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church until 1961.
Roy married Phyllis “Joy” Helge of St. Louis, Missouri on June 4,1955. They were blessed with six children -- Paul (1956 and OHS ‘74), Stephanie (1957 and OHS ‘75), Deborah (1959 and OHS ‘77), Christine (1961), Suzanne (1964 and OHS ‘82), John (1970 and OHS ‘88) -- thirteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Roy’s life was dedicated to preaching the Passion of Jesus Christ (birth, life, death, and RESURRECTION). He was also a prolific writer who authored a series of seven books (illustrated by his accomplished artist wife) entitled “Preaching the Passion” that proclaims the full Christian gospel story of Jesus’ passion. The Apostle Paul considered Christ crucified the essential element in his gospel. He told the Corinthians, “We proclaim Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23). This is the message about the cross.
Roy received an extensive formal education that began at the age of 13 through completion of the first eight grades at Trinity Lutheran School in Lansing. He attended Concordia High and Junior College in Fort Wayne, IN and graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO in 1954. He stepped away from his formal education to serve a two-year vicarage and mission (1951-1953) in Sapporo, Japan. Upon his return to the States, Roy met his lovely wife, Joy, at the seminary where she was employed by the Sem in their radio station, KFUO. They sang together in the Bach Choir and married June 1, 1955. Roy was awarded a fellowship in the New Testament Department of the Seminary under Dr. Martin Scharlemann and completed the Master of Sacred Theology degree in 1955.
Roy’s ordination and installation took place at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Vincennes, IN on September 25, 1955. Two years later, Pastor Schroeder accepted a call to St. John Lutheran Church, Monroeville, IN (1957-1959). He and his growing family moved again when he accepted the call to serve as the first Pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Sparta, MI February,1959. From 1966-1967, Roy took a leave from Peace to complete his Doctor of Theology Degree at Concordia Seminary May 1967. In August 1971, he accepted a call to Ascension Lutheran Church in East Lansing, MI, which brought him full circle back to greater Lansing, Michigan. Dr. Schroeder served at Ascension for twenty-five years until his retirement on August 30, 1996.
Dr. Schroeder served as circuit counselor (1962-1966), a member of the Michigan District Board of Education (1968-1970) and a member of the District Board of Directors (1970-1974). He was a delegate to Synod Convention in Denver – member of Floor Committee on Theological Matters (1969). In addition to these professional activities, he presented essays to West Michigan pastors and teachers at various conferences. His articles have appeared in such publications as Currents in Theology and Mission, the Concordia Pulpit and For the Time Being.
Dr. Schroeder and his wife, Joy, created and directed The International Annual Christian Art Show, first produced while serving at Peace Lutheran Church in Sparta, Michigan. It was later moved to Ascension Lutheran Church in East Lansing, Michigan. There it became an international exhibit open to the public for two weeks during Easter with jurors and artists’ works submitted from across the country. It ran from 1961 to 1995.
As a result of his extensive education and mission, Dr. Schroeder spoke and/or interpreted in seven languages: Japanese, German, French, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. His love of international travel and sharing the gospel with others -- that began as a missionary – led him to host 34 tours for parishioners, family and friends. Locations included the Middle East, Far East, China, Germany, the British Isles, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Guatemala, Ecuador/Galapagos, Costa Rica, India, and Spain.
His life centered not only around Christ and his family, but also sports. He was an avid Michigan State University (MSU) fan and season ticket holder for football, basketball, and hockey. He and Joy were active with the MSU Space Coast Alumni in Cocoa Beach, rooting Izzo and the Spartans on in basketball from Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. He loved family reunions in Myrtle Beach, Michigan, Nebraska and Cocoa Beach. Later in life, Roy and Joy enjoyed watching the sunsets in Cocoa Beach and sleeping with the sound of ocean waves beating against the beach.
Roy was preceded in death by his parents, daughter Christine Schroeder, two sisters (Lenore Stevens, Lois Stachel), brother (Robert Schroeder), two brothers-in-law (Walt Stachel, Dr. Erich E. Helge), and one sister-in-law (Donna Helge).
Roy leaves behind his wife, Joy, and five children and spouses: Paul (Ruth), Stephanie C. (Brad) Emerick, Deborah (Thomas Frase) Schroeder-Saulnier, Suzanne (Michael) Kulka, and John (Katherine) -- brother Philip (Sharon) Schroeder, sister-in-law Barbara (Robert) Schroeder; thirteen grandchildren – Aaron Schroeder, Luke Schroeder, Jessica (Jeff) Post, Rebecca (Nathan) Robison, Jennifer Stanley, Victoria Clemons, Tiffany (Aaron) Kinloch, Brittany Saulnier, Kyle Kulka, Christian Kulka, Michael Eriksen, Ryan Schroeder, Katelyn Schroeder; nine great-grandchildren and beloved nieces and nephews.
A funeral service for the family will be held on Saturday, January 30, at Ascension Lutheran Church 2780 Haslett Road, East Lansing MI. We will begin with a viewing at 10:00 a.m. and service at 11:00 a.m.
We are also “live streaming” the service, beginning at 11:00 a.m. Please join us on YouTube by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/-3ttbUkCMOU
The family will receive guests Friday, January 29 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at the church.
Due to the pandemic, the family is also planning a Celebration of the Life of Dr. Roy Schroeder at a later date.
Contributions may be made in Pastor Schroeder’s memory to:
- Ascension Lutheran Church … www.ascensioneastlansing.org … Ascension is a place you come to be forgiven - a place to find healing for your soul - a place that will encourage you to be the human God created you to be.
- Bread for the World … www.bread.org … Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. By changing policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we provide help and opportunity at home and far beyond where we live.
- Global Mission Fund … https://www.lcms.org/givenow ... Global Mission Fund shares Jesus and Christian values with others through the work and service of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
- LWML … www.lwml.org … The Lutheran Women's Missionary League is the official women's auxiliary of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
Condolences and memories may be shared at www.greastlansing.org