Gordon Oscar Schroeder, 85, beloved husband of Judy, passed away on October 12, 2020 surrounded by loved ones at his home in Baker City. He will most be remembered for his generosity, love and dedication to his family and the Catholic Church. Family and friends are invited to a recitation of the rosary on Friday, October 23, 2020 ~ 6 p.m. at the St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Baker City. A Funeral Mass of Resurrection will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020 ~10:00 a.m. at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Baker City. Friends are invited to join the family immediately following the service, at the church.
Gordon was born on November 4, 1934 in Jefferson County, Wisconsin to Rose and Oscar Schroeder. The middle child of three, he was raised in Fort Atkinson, where he attended Catholic schools at Jefferson County Union. Gordon’s mother was a homemaker and his father was an electrician. In 1952, at age 18, Gordon enlisted in the Navy where he studied naval diesel training from Great Lakes, IL. When it came time to draw ships, he drew the USS Kyne (DE 744) Destroyer Escort out of New York. He served four years in the Korean War and finished his tour of duty in 1956; by that time Gordon had been promoted to First Class Engineman. He did well, scored high on his tests and qualified for officer training, but decided to hang up his dog tags for civilian life. Gordon headed west on his motorcycle with two buddies from his home town and eventually settled in Northern California where he used his military mechanic training to work for British Motors, an exotic sports car dealership in San Jose, CA. Being a sports car enthusiast, Gordon bought his first Porsche at twenty-five and joined the Continental Sports Car Club of Northern California where he met like-minded friends that road rallied with him to places like the Napa Valley wine country; and also car races at the Sonoma Raceway.
In 1968, Gordon moved to Eugene, OR and like his father Oscar, had ambition to be a cowboy. He bought land and his first two horses, Ginger and Sheba. In 1969, he met Judith Lee Heater Fox in Creswell on a blind date and after one pizza knew that he had met the love of his life. They married in 1970, they shared seven kids and a passion for country living.
In 1972 Gordon and Judy left the Willamette Valley for Eastern Oregon and with two horses, two milk cows and two dogs bought their first ranch in Mount Vernon on the banks of the John Day river. In 1979, Gordon and Judy purchased a larger ranch in Unity, Oregon where they raised cattle and their kids; all graduates of Burnt River High School. Gordon served as President of the School Board from 1980 to 1984. It was during this time, that Gordon and Judy also became founding members of Country Natural Beef; along with other forward-thinking progressive ranchers who cared about responsible grazing practices and helping to leave the land better then they found it. In 1994, Gordon was selected to cover farm journal, Beef Today and the first run copy still sits proudly framed on his desk. With shared values for environmental sustainability and producing quality beef, Gordon was proud of his contribution and honorary membership in the Country Natural Beef family of ranchers for 12 years. In 1992, Gordon retired from Unity ranching but couldn’t quite give up his cows. Gordon & Judy moved to Baker City where he enjoyed his third and final career as a flatbed dealer-installer.
Gordon was gifted in his ability to build and improve things and because of his aptitude for mechanics he could pretty much fix anything, including the major remodels of three homes. Gordon treasured his gun collection and even made some of his own. His favorite stories were of elk hunting with his three boys. During his 80th birthday weekend, Gordon shot a five-point bull. After his kids were raised Gordon and Judy spent their retirement years fishing, innertubing and camping with their kids, grandkids and great grandkids. Gordon was an avid reader, enjoyed western movies and always kept his passion for NASCAR racing. Gordon and Judy were always travelling to far off places including Australia, and taking cruises to Alaska and Mexico but their real joy was traveling to be with their grandkids and attending for as many events as weather would permit. Gordon and Judy celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in January 2020.
Gordon Schroeder was a man with immense determination and true grit who loved being a cowboy. He had a quick wit and a ready sense of humor which made him more than enjoyable to be around. Gordon’s faith was unwavering and his deep rooted belief in the practices of Catholic social teaching were his guiding principles. He worked hard every day; refusing to give up his chores even when he could barely walk in his final days. He instilled a tremendous work ethic in his children, but his enduring legacy is his love of family.
Gordon was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother Thomas.
He is survived by his wife Judy Schroeder of Baker City; his seven children Kelly Fox, Michael Schroeder, Robin Fox Lavala, Nicki Schroeder Norton, Terri Fox Berthelsen, Monique Schroeder Devin and Tony Fox; his sixteen grandchildren and his fourteen great grandchildren; his younger brother Ronald.
For those who would like to make a donation in memory of Gordon Schroeder, the family suggests either the Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church or the Alzheimer’s Association through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Services PO Box 543 Halfway, Oregon 97834. Online condolences can be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com
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