A carpenter, Schroeder in Des Moines is being celebrated for sending 33 strangers to college with his life savings for 67 years of his career.
Schroeder who was born in 1919, was a carpenter for 67 years in the same business at Des Moines and decided to use his $3 million in savings to start a scholarship which has so far funded 33 strangers to college.
When he died in 2005, he had amassed almost $3 million in savings. Schroeder had owned two pairs of jeans, one for work and one for church, his friend Steve Nielsen, a lawyer, told KCCI. He never married and had no living descendants.
Before his death, Schroeder walked into Nielsen’s office and told him he wanted to start a scholarship. He hadn’t had the chance to go to college but wanted others to be able to get an education.
Nielsen described Schroeder as a “blue-collar, lunch-pail kind of guy.” Since his death in 2005, that money has been doled out to 33 Iowans.
“Dale’s Kids” met for dinner on Saturday to catch up on each other’s lives and to honor the man who made their dreams possible. They sat around the old carpenter’s lunch pail to share updates on their lives. Many are now doctors, teachers and therapists.
During the dinner to honor, Des Moines, the “Dale’s Kids” who had their college educations funded by a man they never met, talked about the carpenter who helped their dreams come true.
Conard, whose dream of becoming a therapist has been financed by the fund, is the last person to receive one of Schroeder’s scholarships; after putting 33 students through school, his fund is finally tapped out.
“For a man that would never meet me to give me basically a full ride to college, that’s incredible. That doesn’t happen,” she said.
Schroeder’s legacy lives on as Dale’s Kids are making their mark on the world.
“All we ask is that you pay it forward,” Nielsen said. “You can remember him, and you can emulate him.”