Elaine Meyer Schroeder ’57
Elaine was nominated by her four friends and classmates, Sue Saracini Jochens, Kaye Koller Castello, Rosemary Phelan and Barbara Reiner Lane, as well as Ursuline theology teacher Mrs. Joni Mullen.
Elaine had a joyful four-year experience at Ursuline Academy despite the untimely death of her father as a junior. Mother Calista who taught civics mistakenly called her Amy, a nickname her friends still use to this day. She was a wonderful student, a natural athlete and distinguished herself in basketball, bringing home many victories for UA. She was the CBC representative in 1957 and represented the Ursuline student body well through her poise, ready laugh, wholesome good looks and sweetness.
Elaine easily shares the story that she would not have been able to attend Ursuline Academy without a scholarship. She was so grateful to attend Ursuline and at the time; she probably didn’t know how much of an impact Serviam would have in her everyday life.
Elaine has served her family 24 hours a day, seven days a week in her private life where she lived out Christian ideals and values of Ursuline Academy.
Elaine is the mother of five children–four sons and a daughter. Her youngest son, Bobby, is her call to serve each and every day. In 1973, when Bobby was only three-years-old, he was hit by a motorcycle in front of their house while running after a ball. At his bedside she sat, praying and helping the nurses. Doctors advised the family to take Bobby off life support. Ironically her UA classmate, Barbara Tournour, was a nurse at the hospital and encouraged the family to give Bobby every chance to survive. Elaine stayed every night to make sure he wasn’t taken off life support and only left his side for First Friday Mass or to check on the other children. He survived and, after many months in a coma, he came home with only the use of his right arm. Their family life quickly adjusted to a new normal and Elaine stepped up to her call of Serviam as a mother and continues to do so to this day loving him and tending to his care with joy and grace. Never complaining, her peaceful demeanor continues to be his rock throughout his life and through many challenges in their family.
While taking care of Bobby’s special needs, Elaine was always a nurturing mother and had the support of many family and friends. When her husband became ill, Elaine returned to the workforce and became the sole breadwinner and caregiver for the family. After 26 years at the Hetimann Architectural Firm, she retired as Office Administrator. Elaine’s mother, Rose, had always been by her side helping Bobby and the family and she was able to help her as she grew older. Her husband Bill would regain his health and was able to help the family financially, until he became ill again and Elaine was his caregiver until his death.
Bobby went on to graduate from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a standing ovation. Earlier this year, Bobby received a lift for easier transfers from his wheelchair–which was very welcome by Elaine who had been lifting Bobby for 40 years, physically serving his daily needs to dress and do his daily activities.
Bobby wrote a book that was published this past January titled Wipe Away the Tear because his mom would wipe away his tears when he could not. He dedicated the last chapter to his mother and many others to tribute to their kind acts of service. In his book he writes, “I wipe away the tears and keep on living because I’m not a quitter.” The book is available on Amazon. Elaine and Bobby live in O’Fallon now and when other family members experience serious illnesses, Elaine is always their number-one cheerleader. Elaine does find time to enjoy her grandchildren, golf, bowling and traveling with the great class of 1957. Elaine is thrilled to join her classmates in celebrating 60 years since graduating from Ursuline Academy–not only at school but in Las Vegas as well.
Elaine is a dear role model and inspiration for many. She is an example of St. Theresa of Calcutta’s wise words, “Do small things with great love.” Ursuline Academy is proud to call her our 2017 Distinguished Alumna for her dedication to God’s will and Serviam with joy, kindness and love.