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Superintendent of Orphanage and Mundelein Seminary Procurator

CHICAGO (February 11, 2013) – Rev. Richard F. Schroeder, a retired priest and former administrator of two major institutions of the Archdiocese of Chicago, died Friday, February 8, at the age of 92.  Fr. Schroeder was a resident of St. Joseph Nursing Home in Kenosha, WI at the time of his death.

Fr. Schroeder was born in Chicago on March 3, 1920.  He graduated from St. Francis Xavier elementary school in northwest Chicago, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.  He was ordained in 1945 by Auxiliary Bishop Bernard Sheil.

For the next 17 years, Fr. Schroeder was the assistant superintendent of Angel Guardian Orphanage.  During his term he also served as the institution’s purchasing agent and property administrator.  Established in 1865, Angel Guardian Orphanage was one of the largest residential child care homes in Chicago that changed to a “cottage system” model in 1916. During his tenure there, Fr. Schroeder was known for creating a family atmosphere and for treating the residents like individuals instead of numbers. He also served as athletic director for the residents in both the elementary and high school.

In 1974, following a trend by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in favor of home placement, the orphanage ended its program of child care and in 1975 the Misericordia Home for Special Children took over the site, subsequently renamed Misericordia Home North.

From 1962 to 1967, Fr. Schroeder served as assistant pastor of St. Bridget Parish on Archer Avenue in Chicago.  The parish was closed in 1990.

Beginning in 1967 and ending with his retirement from active ministry in 1990, Fr. Schroeder was the procurator at Mundelein Seminary, performing the duties of treasurer and manager of facilities maintenance.  Msgr. John Canary, Vicar General for the Archdiocese, who worked with Fr. Schroeder at the seminary in the years between 1975 and 1990, said of him, “He possessed the qualities of German practicality and organization, and he was hard working.”  Msgr. Canary noted that Fr. Schroeder lived on the seminary campus and was available on weekends and during any and all emergencies.  “It seemed,” he said, “that Fr. Schroeder never took a vacation”. The work he did at Mundelein is now done by a Director of Finance and a separate Director of Facilities.

For 13 years, between 1977 and 1990, he was a part-time member of the Clergy Personnel Board.  After his retirement in 1991 until shortly before his death, Fr. Schroeder served as a senior priest helping out at St. John the Baptist Parish in Johnsburg.

Visitation for Fr. Schroeder will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, February 11, at Kristan          
Funeral Home, 219 West Maple Avenue in Mundelein, and from 10 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, February 12, at St. John the Baptist Church, 2302 Church Street in Johnsburg.

Most Rev. Raymond Goedert, Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Schroeder on Thursday, February 14, at 10:30 a.m. in Immaculate Conception Chapel at Mundelein Seminary, 1000 East Maple Avenue in Mundelein. Msgr. Canary will be the homilist.

Interment will be at St. Mary of the Lake Cemetery in Mundelein.    Fr. Schroeder is survived by his brother Rev. George Schroeder, his sisters Rosemary Serapin, Anne (John) Stubing, Dolores “Lorry” (Donald) Tasch, 16 nieces and nephews and many great nieces and nephews.

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