August 29, 2017
Story by Brandon Steinert
A life spent in pursuit of what is right and good despite personal sacrifice is a rarity, and is a life to be celebrated and remembered.
The late Jerry Schrader embodied that existence as a veterinarian caring for animals and as an advocate for his community. He played a key role in founding Barton Community College and was one of the first to serve on its Board of Trustees and eventually taught some science classes.
He even wielded a shovel during the college’s groundbreaking ceremony in 1967, but that wasn’t his first time on the hill.
The land had been a source of sustenance for him and his family as farmland for many years before it was given to the cause of opening a college. When he pushed a spade into that familiar soil, Schrader set in motion a series of events that would impact the lives of tens of thousands of individuals in Kansas and beyond, but he might not have known the extent to which it would affect his own and those closest to him.
Schrader’s wife, Yvonne, still works at Barton as a custodian in the Classroom building, and has worked in nearly every building on campus. The ground that once sustained his livelihood persists in sustaining hers.
“Who would’ve thought I would be out here for 26 years and associated with the college this way?” she said. “I’m proud to be a part of something he helped create.”
Yvonne said he loved recalling and sharing famous quotes and did his best to live life in service to others, believing that human beings should wake every day with something in mind that will benefit mankind or the community.
“He would say it didn’t matter about your intelligence, how talented you were or how much money you had,” she said. “More important to him was how you treat animals. I learned a lot from him; he would tell me to always be tender with the young people, that is the college students, compassionate with old people, sympathetic to those who were striving and tolerant to those who were weak. He said someday you, and everybody else, will experience all those things in life.”