John "Jack" Michael Schrooten

November 4, 1998January 5, 2014

“With eyes that smiled and stole your heart away”

John Michael Schrooten, known to all who loved and cared for him as “Jack”, died peacefully in the arms of his mother on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at the Ryan House, with family and friends at his side. Jack was born in St. Louis, Missouri to parents Mark Henry Schrooten (b. Fairmont, Minnesota) and Ann Frances (Rochford) Schrooten (b. Phoenix, Arizona).

Jack left behind his devoted parents, Mark and Ann; his adoring siblings, Hilary, Mary and Eric; maternal grandfather, Richard Rochford; paternal grandmother, LaRayne Schrooten, maternal aunts and uncles, Cecelia Sturgeon, Richard and Karen Rochford, Joan and Vernon Speshock, Maureen and Jim Musselman, John and Julie Rochford; paternal uncles and aunts, Donald Nelson, Craig Nelson, David and Lois Schrooten, Paul and Karen Schrooten, Ann Schrooten and Dawn Wieczorek; maternal great-aunt and uncle, Carol and Wayne Simpkins; 23 cousins and countless friends. Jack was greeted at the gates of heaven by his paternal grandfather, John Henry Schrooten, his maternal grandmother, Mary Cecelia Rochford and his maternal great-grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Bensley.

Despite being born with a rare form of congenital muscular dystrophy that stole so much from him, Jack radiated love every day of his life. Our beautiful son, who could not purposefully move his body; who could not sustain his breathing without the assistance of a machine; who never enjoyed the experience of eating food; and who never spoke the words his mind so clearly held, woke up every morning with a smile on his face and eyes that sparkled with the anticipation of a new day. Jack faced the hardships of this life with unprecedented joy and grace and he challenged all of us to do the same.

It took a village to care for Jack and while it’s impossible to list all the people who helped give Jack the best quality of life possible, we owe tremendous gratitude to the nurses and doctors at Missouri Baptist Medical Center who first cared for Jack after he was born; the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and staff in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital where Jack spent the majority of the first year of his life; the team of physicians at Washington University/St Louis Children’s Hospital; our home health nurses who loved Jack like their own, especially, Peggy, Holly, Jean, Kathy, Kristi, and Angie; the pediatric palliative care/hospice team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Hospice of the Valley, and the many occupational, physical and speech therapists who worked with Jack throughout his life. We are incredibly thankful for the organizations that serve children with special health care needs and have been personally touched by Room for Joy ( and Ryan House (

Jack will be missed beyond measure by all who knew and loved him, but we take great comfort in knowing he is now at peace and safe in the arms of our heavenly Father. He fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith.

Until we meet again sweet Jack, we will continue to push ONWARD sustained by your indomitable spirit and unconditional love.

Donations in Jack’s memory can be made to The Willow Tree Foundation, a tax-exempt organization founded by Jack’s mom, Ann, and inspired by Jack. P.O. Box 13145, Chandler, AZ 84248 or


  • Memorial Service Saturday, January 18, 2014

John "Jack" Michael Schrooten

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Jasmine Gorsuch

January 17, 2014

It was a joy taking care of Jack the time that I did. He was very blessed to have such a loving family. It always brightened my day to see him smiling.

Crystal Leon

January 15, 2014

Mark, Ann and Family,

Reading your blog and learning of your "Life with Jack" has inspired me on many occasions to keep moving "Onward". Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your world, and helping Tracheostomy Moms like myself realize, we aren't the only ones out here living such a unique life.

Blessings to you all, and may Jack rest peacefully.

Ed Kramer

January 13, 2014

Mark, Ann and Family,
I am sorry for your loss, and have consistently kept your family in my prayers during this difficult time. God has a wonderful plan for us all, and he blessed the two of you with 4 beautiful children, one of them being Jack, who is now with OUR Father in heaven. I have no doubt he is being loved, by those who have passed before us and our Lord, with a love that is beyond what we will ever experience in this life. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Holly Cottor

January 10, 2014

Dear Schrooten Family,
We are so, so sad to learn about Jack's death. Thank you for sharing Jack and his life with so many and for the difference you have made for many others.
With love and care,
The Cottor Family

Claudia Maltz

January 10, 2014

Ann and family thinking of you and sending prayers of peace. Ann, thank you for sharing Jack and your experiences with our tracheostomy family. xoxo

Stephanie Jones

January 10, 2014

Jack was an enthusiastic student who always had a smile and a hello for me. He was fascinated by the weather and would excitedly tell me immediately if it was raining or storming outside. He was a jokester and one of his favorite tricks on me was to tell me to take off his socks then tell me to put on his socks. This joke was always followed by his wonderful smile, as to say "ha, ha, I got ya". He loved to read stories and sing songs and in the words of one of our favorite goodbye songs "Goodbye, goodbye, good friend, goodbye. For now it's time to go..." I will miss you, Jack.

Kathy Koval

January 10, 2014

I honestly don't have the words.Ann I know you know how much Jack inspired us daily with his strength ,courage, determination, and love.we will miss Jack dearly.sending love,hugs and prayers to you and your family

Jeanne Galvin

January 10, 2014

Ann, Mark and Family,

I am so sorry to learn of Jack's passing. What a wonderful spirit. May God rest his soul and bring each of you peace. No one truly understands the blessings our special children bring to our lives. You all have earned your wings.

Jeanne Galvin

Kim Thomas

January 9, 2014

Oh Ann, I just saw Jack's obituary. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet, sweet boy. He has a very special place in heaven for he was such a sweet soul. Like so many of our special kids, he definitely taught us the meaning of life and how to live life with gratitude and love. My family's thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Much love ang hugs, Kim - Jacob's Mom from the trach board.

AnnMarie Theriault

January 9, 2014

God bless your sweet soul... fly with the angels Jack.

AnnMarie McGovern
Natick, Massachusetts