21 Things You Might Not Know About Me: Edna Schroeder, Age 101
When Edna Schroeder and her family moved to Burnett County in 1949, they were the county’s first black family. Despite many challenges, they remained and persevered. Edna and her husband raised their family and foster children. She served the community in many ways and was honored as Grand Marshall of the Webster Fourth of July Parade in 2016, Webster’s Centennial year.
1. I will be 102 this year on August 31.
2. I was born in 1916 in Leighton, Alabama and raised in Waukegan, Illinois.
3. I went to two elementary schools in Waukegan: McAlester and Jackson, and attended Waukegan High School.
4. When I was 11 years old, my father died, and I starting working part-time cleaning homes.
5. When I was in my early 20s, I went fishing for the first time, and I loved it. I loved to fish.
6. I've been married twice and raised five children: Alfred, Barbara, Louise, William, and Phillip, four of whom attended Webster High School. I lost two of my sons, William and Alfred, to cancer.
7. I was married to William Jackson for 35 years. He was a machinist who made molds for airplane parts at a plant in Racine, Wis., during WWII. Later he worked at a foundry in Duluth. It was a dangerous job. He would come home with holes burned in his pants from where the molten metal splashed. I took my children out of school to show them where their father worked and what he made.
8. We moved to Blaine Township, Burnett County, in 1949. When William and I were looking for places to live, we visited this area where his brother worked for the railroad The fish were biting like crazy. I said, This is where I want to live!”
9. We were the first African American family in Burnett County. We endured prejudice and discrimination. School bus drivers wouldn't pick up our children. People tried to “get rid of us – get us to move away.” I told them “I'll be here long after you're gone.”
10. As a foster mother of four, I was featured in Negro Families in Rural Wisconsin, a 1959 publication of the Governor's Commission on Human Rights.
11. From 1960-1962, I was the only woman school bus driver in the Webster School District. I drove my own station wagon. I picked up students from the Pansy School and drove them to Danbury where they caught the bus to Webster. In addition during the 1960s, I worked for every business in Danbury in some capacity.
12. I've played pool in a league and pitched horseshoes.
13. After William died in 1970, I moved to Webster and worked at Swedberg Funeral Home where I met and later married Lowell Schroder.
14. I was a community volunteer for more than 40 years. I was active in the Webster Lioness, the Grantsburg American Legion Auxiliary, and a member of the Zion Lutheran Church in Markville.
15. From 1980-1993, I was the Webster nutrition site manager. I served on the Aging Department's advisory committee for six years.
16. In 1983, I and my family were featured in a series of articles in the Milwaukee Journal about blacks in rural Wisconsin.
17. I am a cancer survivor.
18. In 1989, I retired after 27 years serving with the Burnett County Elderly and Disabled Transportation Program. I was the first volunteer, drove 106,937 miles and put 400,00 miles on two engines of my favorite car, a 1979 Ford LTD.
19. In 1992, I was selected as one of the 10 Most Admired Senior Citizens in Wisconsin. I was voted Webster citizen of the year in 1999. In 2003, I was named the Aging Program's Volunteer of the Year.
20. In 2016, I was honored to be selected as the Grand Marshall for Webster's July 4th parade.
21. When something wonderful happens to me, I'm excited, but just down to earth.
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