Thomas Edward Schroeder – The Footless Fisherman.
Thomas Edward Schroeder was born July 18, 1959, to Gordon R. and Ruth M. Schroeder in Worth, Ill. Tom was born with spina bifida, which caused paralysis from the waist down, so he led a challenging life. In 1963, he learned to walk with braces and crutches through the Easter Seal Center and became the Easter Seal Poster Child on billboards across America saying, "Hello world, I think I'm going to make it."
Tom's dad helped instill in him a great love of fishing from an early age. This love for fishing and his huge dream to become a commercial fisherman led him to the Florida Keys. It was there that he completed a 54-hour course and a rigorous physical test performed by the U.S. Coast Guard in order to obtain the official status of "Captain Thomas Schroeder." He started a small fishing company called Footless Fishing and Chum. The name played on the fact that he had become a double amputee and also portrayed his wonderful sense of humor. His company produced the best chum in Florida that customers still talk about.
Along with Tom's jovial spirit, he was very generous, and always wanted to help people. It was his mom that gave him the love for others and the deep encouragement never to give up. Mom passed on her strong faith in the Lord and that no matter what happened in his life, God had a reason for it.
Tom's earthly struggles ended when the Lord called him home to be with Him in Heaven Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, at the age of 54.
He is survived by his mother, Ruth Myrtle Schroeder; his sister, Debra Lin Roberson (Dennis); and his two brothers, Timothy John Schroeder (Barbara) and Tedd Douglas Schroeder (Sandra); along with nine nieces and nephews; 11 grand-nieces and nephews; and 20 cousins.
He was preceded in death by his father, Gordon Robert Schroeder.
He will be proudly remembered by his family and friends as "Captain Footless."
If anyone cares to give a donation, please give in the name of Thomas Schroeder to:
Easter Seals Disability Services, 830 S. Addison Ave., Villa Park, IL 60181
Hultgren Funeral Home,304 N Main St Wheaton, IL 60187,630-668-0027,hultgrenfh.com.