March 4, 2024

Grant County Herald

Community news from the prairie to the lakes

Elizabeth Ann Schroeder

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Elizabeth Ann Schroeder (Liz) passed away on her favorite day of the year – Christmas Eve Day. She was born April 2, 1930, in Wild Rose, ND as the third child of four and only girl to Martin & Ethel (Sims) Rygh. She loved saying she was born a wild rose!

Her family moved twice to follow her dad’s career as Superintendent of Schools to Starkweather, ND and finally to Roseau, MN where she spent most of her childhood, graduating in 1947. She loved Roseau and was active in everything, even making the front page of the Minneapolis Tribune as “Roseau’s cute cheerleader” when her basketball team made it to the state tournament.

She left Roseau to attend St Olaf College in Northfield and accomplished her dream of making the St Olaf Choir. It was at St Olaf that she met a returned Navy pilot, Harold Fjoslien, while they both toured with the St Olaf College Choir. She graduated from St Olaf with a music & English degree, and they married in June of 1951, in Roseau before moving to Elbow Lake.

Liz originally taught music at Elbow Lake and Barrett until her first daughter was born in 1955, followed by a second daughter in 1957. Tragedy struck December 13, 1961, when her husband Harold was killed in an airplane accident, along with two friends, while on a hunting trip to Monterey, Mexico. Liz was a widow at 31 years. 

When both girls were in school by 1963, she went back to teaching English in Elbow Lake.  She always said as challenging as it was to be alone raising two young girls, she found another love – teaching. She had the chance to have a career she truly loved. She became known as “the Shakespeare teacher.”

In 1981, Henry (Hank) Schroeder became more than a friend and the much-loved owner of Schroeder’s Department Store in Elbow Lake, and they married July 26, 1981, and had 29 beautiful years together. After retirement, they traveled the world and had many winters in Scottsdale and summers at Eagle Lake.

Her dear Hank passed away April 16, 2010, but he was with her every day until her passing.  They loved Elbow Lake and all the wonderful friends and activities. Liz was active in many things, most notably her United Lutheran Church, where she directed children’s choir, sang in choir, was an accompanist, and served on council. She gave her kids and grandkids her love for God in their lives.

Liz outlived all her siblings and wives (Marvin and Norma Rygh, Richard and Luverne Rygh, Roger and Merrily Rygh). She was also preceded in death by her parents, Martin and Ethel Rygh, and parents in-law, Henry and Bernice (Thronson) Fjoslien, and her sister-in-law and husband, Lillian (Fjoslien) and Sheb Vollmers.

She is survived by her daughter Tamara and her children Lisa (Michael) and her 2 daughters, and Jase (Caroline); her daughter Lisa (Dennis) and her children Elizabeth (Drew) and 3 sons and Kirsten.

She is also survived by Hank’s son and daughter-in law, Jon and Dana Schroeder and their 3 children – Erin (Scott) and 2 children, Carl, and Helen (Sam) and son. 

She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Linda Fjoslien (Kevin) and many cherished nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. 

Liz’s last couple of years changed after breaking her hip. The hip healed, and it meant having caregivers who became dear family to all of us. They were truly angels and made it possible to finish her life at home. In her last days, when she was too tired to say much, she answered all who told her they loved her, “I love you more.” She was the most loving mother and grandmother her family could have. She made growing up without a father “normal” as she filled the role of both. She often said she’d had the best life (in spite of losing two husbands and raising two children by herself). Her positive attitude lives on in all of us.

“We love you more.”

A Memorial Service was held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 29, 2023, at United Lutheran Church, Elbow Lake with Pastor Jean Ohman officiating. 

Internment at a later date in Union Cemetery, Elbow Lake.

Arrangements by Erickson-Smith Funeral Home of Elbow Lake.

Memorials are preferred to United Lutheran Church or Union Cemetery.

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