Stephen R. Schroeder, 80, died suddenly on October 15, 2017, while cruising the Mississippi River. He was born on October 28, 1936, in Leipsic, Ohio, the son of Leo and Gertrude (Scheckelhoff) Schroeder. He received his BA in Philosophy from the Pontifical College Josephinum, his MA in Psychology from the University of Toledo, and his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. He married Carolyn Stineman on December 26, 1963, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served his country in the United States Army National Guard from 1959-1965.
Steve was a professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1968-1985), the Director of the Nisonger Center at the University of Ohio (1985-1990), and the Director of the Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas from 1990 until he retired in 2002. After retirement, he served from 2002-2004 as the Director of The Prince Salmon Research Center for Disabilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Science and compassion were interlocked inextricably in Steve’s research and advocacy to help people with different abilities. As a scientist, one of his many contributions was to develop assessment and treatment procedures for eliminating life-threatening self-injurious behaviors of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He was also deeply concerned about the use of psychotropic medications with this population and carried out extensive research in this area. As an advocate, he helped create community-based homes and co-founded the non-profit Annie Sullivan Enterprises, Inc. to help people with severe behavioral and developmental disabilities and their families. This organization continues to serve families and provides legal guardianship for those who need the greatest amount of support.
Steve is recognized for his leadership and research both nationally and internationally. He served as Editor for a number of leading journals focusing on intellectual and other developmental disabilities, published numerous articles and books, worked with colleagues in East Germany to study and share innovative intervention programs, and provided on-going consultation to the Ann Sullivan Center in Lima, Peru.
Steve was a warm, loving and compassionate person who was devoted to his family and friends. He had high standards for himself and others with his faith and values guiding his life’s actions and interactions. He will be missed as a husband, father, grandfather, friend, mentor, colleague and advocate. He cherished life, his faith, intellectual pursuits, working on the farm, music, reading, traveling and celebrating the successes of others.
His parents, three brothers, and one sister preceded Steve in death. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, his two sons, Mark (Angel) of High Point, North Carolina, Matthew (Carolina) of Caracas, Venezuela, his five grandchildren, Zoe, Mary, Evan, Ian, Stefania, one step-grandson, Saddler, two sisters, Genevieve and Lou Ann, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, October 23, 2017, at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Lawrence, Kansas.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Center Ann Sullivan International, or Corpus Christi Catholic Church and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.