Richard James Schroeder
January 12, 1928 – March 23, 2018
A memorial visitation for Mr. James "Jim" Schroeder, age 90 of Madison, formerly of Mentor will be held on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at Gattozzi and Son Funeral Home, 12524 Chillicothe Rd., Chesterland, OH 44026 from 2-5 p.m.. He died March 23, 2018 at his home in Madison. He was preceded in death by his dear wife Betty of 51 years in March of 2012. Jim was born January 12, 1928 in Kirtland Hills. He was the father of Donna Schroeder (deceased), Phillip (Mary Jo), Richard (Diane), Russell (Peggy), Lois (Carl) Girbino, and Laurie (Richard) Campitelli. Jim was also the stepfather of Elaine (Jim) Wetzel and Randy (Bonnie) Jost. He was a grandfather of thirteen and great grandfather of nine. Jim also leaves behind a brother Ralph (Jeanne) and sister Carol (Jim) Zofchak .
Mr. Schroeder’s life was destined to be agriculturally oriented. From age 1 ½ to 17 ½ he grew up on the Wildwood Estate in Mentor. His father was the estate manager and Jim became the typical farm boy learning all the typical chores. He graduated from Mentor High School in 1945 and then immediately entered Case School of Applied Sciences (Case Western Reserve), completing one semester. In February of 1946, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force (the air and airways communication branch); wherein he learned the skill of air and airways traffic controller with a secondary skill as airport traffic controller. After his discharge from the service in August of 1949, he went to work at the G. K. Klyn Rose Nursery in Mentor.
It was in 1953, when he moved back to the Wildwood Estate as the then current owners, (Mr. and Mrs. Robert Collacott), provided him with the opportunity to manage the property and start a nursery on the estate grounds. It was thus in July of 1953 that Mentor Rose Growers, Inc. was born into existence. Within a few short years of growing roses, Jim made the decision to shift production into a broad line of ornamental plant materials, which would be produced above ground in containers. By so doing, the nursery became the second such operation in Ohio to use that method of production. Besides being in the nursery business Mr. Schroeder was becoming fully involved within many other aspects of Horticultural (agricultural) endeavors. He served on the Lake County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and was active in the Lake County Nursery Assoc.; wherein he became president in 1966-1967. From the mid 1960’s thru the next 30 years, he became involved within the Ohio Nursery Assoc. while serving on various committees and by being a chairman of many. His first service on the Board of Directors of the O.N.A. was in 1967 and 1968; again in 1970 as Vice President, becoming President in 1971 and continuing on the board in 1972. In addition, during those years of being involved he was on the planning committee, which instituted the horticultural programs for Mentor High School and soon thereafter was appointed to the planning commission, which was to formulate a program that would establish the Agricultural Tech Institute (ATI) at Wooster, Ohio. After service as a Director in the Mentor Chamber of Commerce, He became President in 1973. It was also in 1973 that his nursery needing more land to expand, purchased 46 ½ acres in Madison, and by 1978 had closed out the Mentor location, with complete production now at the new location. In December of 1977, the nursery was reincorporated as Agora Gardens Inc.
In 1993, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Nursery Industry and related activities, the Ohio Nursery association presented Jim with their “Distinguished Contribution Award”. By the mid 1990’s Jim was becoming less involved in those many activities of the nursery industry; however he was again elected to serve of the O.N.L.A. Board of Directors for the years 1996-1997, which gave him a total of seven years in that position.
In January of 2001, he sold his nursery (he became sole owner in 1982), and then retired to just enjoy his remaining years with the great love for his wife Betty, their children and grandchildren, his passion for reading and above all-he no longer needed to –“follow an agenda”. May he now “Rest in Peace”.
- Memorial Visitation Saturday, March 31, 2018
Richard James Schroeder
March 27, 2018
Jim’s devotion to his wife and church were always part of his conversation and life. Both he and my spouse Dick Pruden liked to share high school sports memories. We both considered Jim among those we highly respected. Both are sorely missed and are among the honorable citizens of our time. May the perpetual light shine upon them, may they Rest In Peace. Amen