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Fredlein Joseph Schroeder, Jr. born August 7, 1944 in Seguin, TX, went to be with the Lord on October 30, 2022 in Round Rock, TX at the age of 78.
Fredlein (Fred) lived a very full life. He was a third generation German American and the middle of three children. Growing up in a small town, Fred was able to ride his bike to school and then to his dad’s business after school, where he worked sweeping and cleaning the warehouse. While in elementary school, Fred became very active in the Boy Scouts and eventually attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He started his musical training with piano lessons. His first piano teachers were nuns who would rap his knuckles with a ruler when he made a mistake. Fred’s mom supervised his piano practice by sitting next to the piano and darning socks and mending clothes. For his first piano recital, Fred played a piece in the key of C, but there was a leaky flower vase on the piano and middle C did not work, so there were several “moments of silence” during his recital. After hearing his sister’s school band concert, Fred wanted to play in the band. In 7th grade, he joined his school band and started playing the cornet. His band director inspired him so much Fred knew from this early age he wanted to be a band director. When Fred started high school, he asked his father for a trumpet. His dad said he would have to earn half the money first and then he would co-sign a note for the remainder. Fred worked hard sacking groceries at a local store and working on his dad’s farm. When he earned enough money, he bought a Mt. Vernon Bach trumpet. While in high school, Fred was vice president of the band, student conductor, and president of Future Teachers Association. When he attended Band Day at the University of Texas, UT was playing Texas Tech and Fred fell in love with the Texas Tech Band.
In 1962, Fred left Seguin for Lubbock, Texas, to attend Texas Tech. While earning his bachelors and his masters degrees in music education, Fred was very active with the Texas Tech Red Raider Band. He became vice president of the band and student conductor his senior year. While working on his master’s degree, Fred started his teaching career in Lubbock, where he taught band and orchestra. In his leisure time, Fred sang with the Plainsmen barbershop chorus. His teaching career was interrupted when a letter of greeting arrived from Uncle Sam. Fred joined the U. S. Army but never left Texas. As he finished his masters degree he left for basic training at Ft. Bliss in El Paso and then joined the 4th Army Band in San Antonio.
After completing his tour of duty in 1971, Fred took a band directing job in Houston’s Spring ISD. Being young, single, and full of energy, Fred would arrive at the band hall about 6:00 a.m. and wouldn’t leave until 9:00 p.m. every day. He tried to squeeze as much teaching as he could into each school day. He had a saying that all of his students memorized: “Being on time is being late, being early is being on time.” When the tardy bell rang, everyone was expected to be in their seats with their books in their lockers, their horns ready to play, and their music on their stands. In 1976 this band was picked as the Texas CC Middle School State Honor Band.
In 1980, Fred took a leave of absence from teaching to became co-owner of R&S Music Stores in New Braunfels and Seguin. In 1981, Fred was asked to apply as band director at Wood Middle School in San Antonio’s NEISD. Realizing his first love was teaching middle school age students, he applied and was hired as head band director. While at Wood Middle School, Fred broke one of his “cardinal rules” – never date anyone affiliated with work. He started dating a band parent his second year there, Susan Wood Bierden, whom he married the next year. Fred was forty years old when he finally married and he gained a ready-made family with stepdaughter Stephanie. Fred continued teaching in NEISD until his retirement in 1998. During his teaching career, Fred’s bands earned consistent sweepstakes awards, along with many best-in-class awards at various contests in Texas and Louisiana. Fred served as guest clinician throughout Texas and Louisiana and presented clinics at the TBA Convention. His awards included Phi Beta Mu Texas Young Bandmaster, TMEA Leadership and Achievement Award, Honorary Life Member of PTA, and Outstanding Director at Alamo Tournament of Bands. He served as region middle school band chairman for Region 19 and Region 12 and was secretary/treasurer for Region 12. Fred’s professional memberships included TBA, Phi Beta Mu, TMEA, ASBDA, NBA, and TMAA. In 2010 Fred was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame.
Fred often said Susan was a driving force that made him think about “life after teaching”. So, in the 1980’s, Fred took up woodworking as a hobby and became an accomplished woodworker making gifts for family and friends, and building custom cabinets for his homes. After retirement, Fred worked with Habitat for Humanity every week, played with the San Antonio Municipal Band, sang with the San Antonio Liederkranz and took his first trip to New England to view the beautiful fall foliage. After Susan’s retirement, they sold their home and started traveling the country in their motorhome visiting all of the lower forty-eight states and the three maritime provinces of Canada. They visited most of the U.S. National Parks and U.S. National Monuments, as well as, every museum they could find that delt with woodworking or trains. During these travels, Fred continued to work for Habitat for Humanity building houses in Wyoming, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, and Texas. After traveling for five years, they settled down in Round Rock where they bought five acres with an old ranch house. They started doing “Habitat for Fred and Susan” as they totally rebuilt the house, the barns and turned the ruff looking pastures into a show place. In addition to their two cats who traveled the country with them, they acquired a horse, two goats, a dog and two barn cats. Fred started directing again, but this time he was directing the 9:30 a.m. choir at St. William Catholic Church. He also became active in the St. Vincent DePaul Society where he helped needy families in the Round Rock area. In July 2021, it was time for another change, so Fred and Susan sold their farm and moved to a Retirement Community in Round Rock. This became Fred’s last home.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Fredlein and Marie Grace Schroeder. He is survived by his beloved wife of 38 years, Susan Wood Schroeder; a stepdaughter, Stephanie Bierden Viltz of San Antonio, TX; a sister, Julie Schroeder Pearson and her husband, Neal, of Oregon City, Oregon; a brother, Paul Serger Schroeder and his wife, Dianne of Georgetown, TX; two nephews: Mark Pearson of Portland, Oregon and Robin Scott Schroeder of San Antonio, TX; and two nieces: Kimberly Pearson Anderson of Oregon, and Kourtney Elizabeth Schroeder, of Houston, TX. He is also survived by a family he and his wife had taken under their wings, Rocio Castillo, her husband Jorge and their 5 children all of Round Rock, TX.
A Funeral Mass was held Friday, November 11, 2022 at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas. A Committal Service will be held on Friday, May 19, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. at San Geronimo Cemetery in Seguin, Texas.
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