Arlene E. Schrader, 91, a lifelong resident of Saint Joseph County, Indiana, passed away on January 18, 2022, at the Center for Hospice Care in Mishawaka, IN, surrounded by her loving family. She is survived by her sister, June Nowacki; her children, David (Pamela) Schrader and Cynthia (Rob) Wojtkowski; grandchildren, Sarah (David) Wilkinson, Jacqueline (Nicholas) Busch, Christopher (Kari) James, John Schrader, and Lauren (fiancé Braxton Freet) Wojtkowski; and her great-grandchildren, Juniper Mae James, Luke Wilkinson, Ben Wilkinson and Sam Wilkinson. Arlene loved her role as aunt to 20 nephews and nieces—19 of whom survive.
Arlene married her best friend and high school sweetheart, Raymond, on June 11, 1950. Side by side in almost everything they did, the love and joy they shared was an inspiration to everyone throughout the nearly 60 years they were married. Arlene’s heart was broken when Ray passed away in 2010. She was also preceded in death by her parents, Derk and Violet Grimmius, as well as her brother, Donald Grimmius.
Arlene was a member of Epworth Memorial United Methodist Church for 71 years. She had a deep abiding Christian faith and a servant’s heart. She ardently believed that we are to live out our faith as the hands and feet of Christ. This servant’s heart led her to fulfill many roles at Epworth as an adult and children’s Sunday School teacher, Kid’s Club facilitator, and via charity work through the United Methodist Women organization. She helped direct the church’s thrift shop that provided clothing and household items to those in need and led many charitable fundraisers for the church, including directing the Mitten Tree Program, which provided winter gloves and hats for needy school children. Her philanthropic work extended to the community as a volunteer at the Safe House for Battered Women and worked alongside her husband supporting the Saint Vincent DePaul Food Pantry.
Arlene had a playful personality which belied a profound inner world of sensitivity and caring. She believed that each person should be a part of the community and was always looking for paths to include new neighbors, church members and those disenfranchised from society. Arlene said that her most memorable experiences were volunteering with Ray at the 7th International Special Olympics at the University of Notre Dame in 1987. Later, the Rev. John Wagner asked her to take part in a community outreach project led by the renowned Dutch priest and theologian, Henri Nouwen. This focus group explored ways the community could embrace, respect, and integrate the handicapped and developmentally disabled into meaningful relationships. Arlene said she agreed with “Henri” that our love of God can never be separated from our love for people, especially those in need.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30am on Saturday, January 22, 2022, at Grace United Methodist Church, 3012 S. Twyckenham Drive, South Bend, IN, with the Reverend Stacee Fischer Gehring presiding. Graveside services and burial will follow at Bremen Cemetery in Bremen, IN. Visitation will take place on Friday, January 21st from 5:00-7:00pm at Palmer Funeral Home—Hickey Chapel, 17131 Cleveland Road, South Bend, IN, as well as from 9:30-10:30am on Saturday at the church prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Arlene may be donated to Saint Vincent DePaul Food Pantry, 520 Crescent Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.
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