Susan Barbara Schroeder, 49

Susan Barbara Schroeder entered into eternal life and everlasting peace on Friday, Dec. 4, 2009.

Susan was born in West Bend on March 5, 1960, to William and Barbara (nee Stangl) Schroeder and was a 1978 graduate of West Bend East High School. A car accident on Aug. 13, 1978 caused severe head injuries which resulted in paralysis to most of her body, severe speech impairment, significant loss of vision and a host of other physical problems. Consequently, Susan’s life path took her to numerous hospitals in Milwaukee, Madison and West Bend. Susan had many caregivers and doctors over the past 31 years while living in Madison and West Bend. Through all of the struggles caused by her disabilities, Susan maintained a love of life and love for her family and friends. But most of all, her love for her Lord Jesus Christ has been an inspiration to everyone who has been a part of her life.

In 1990, Susan developed the ability to become a watercolor artist, and the story of her artistic journey was featured in a number of news-paper articles in Madison and West Bend. Her art has been on display at St. Somewhere’s Coffee Shop in West Bend as well as several coffee shops and art galleries in Madison, including a display at the UW Hospital, a prestigious honor for any artist. For years, her work was developed and marketed by loving professionals from Channels, Neighborhood Connections and Dane County Human Services, all from Madison. Susan loved music, TV, listening to books on tape and, of course, she loved to paint. But most of all she loved people. Her love for people and her ever-present sense of humor and sharp wit will forever be what people remember most about Susan.

About 2 1/2 years ago, she moved from Madison back to West Bend to be closer to her family. We all loved having her here to be more a part of our lives. She became a part of the Threshold program which she enjoyed very much and had many wonderful caring friends there. We all strived as her family to learn how to help her have as independent of a lifestyle as was possible for her.

As the words of Revelation 21:4 were being read over Susan, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. For the old order of things has passed away," her heavenly Father then reached down and took Susan home to be with him for eternity.

Susan is survived by her parents William C. Schroeder of West Bend, her mother and stepfather Barbara (Sylvester) Mancl of West Bend, brother Robert (Gail) of West Bend, sisters Mary Jo (Kevin) Barrett of West Bend, Sharon (Rodney) Hatch of Lodi, Diane Stark of Port Washington. Susan is also survived by nieces and nephews Matthew, Brian (Mindy), Daniel and Steven Schroder, Joshua (Aimee) and Jason Barrett, Amy Jo (Billy) Cook John and Faith Hatch, Jenna, Sarah and Samantha Stark, seven great nephews and nieces, many relatives and friends.

She is preceded in death by her grandparents Frederick (Molly) Schroeder and Joseph (Marie) Stangl.

A funeral service will be held at noon on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, at the Phillip Funeral Home Chapel. Interment to follow service at Washington County Memorial Park. Visitation will be at the funeral home on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. until time of service at noon. Memorials are appreciated to the Threshold of West Bend.

The family would like to thank Neighborhood Connections, Dane County Human Services and Channels of Madison. We would like to thank Hospice Advantage who provided the best care we could have ever asked for during the final days of her life. We would like to thank Bridges of West Bend whose entire staff went well beyond our expectations of loving care and compassion and Mary Deering of Care Wisconsin. We would like to thank the Threshold which gave Susan a reason to get out of bed every morning with the wide variety of activities, the friends and the fun. Though Susan lived a life filled with pain and difficulty, she also lived a life filled with love. We will miss her for the rest of our lives. So long we waited, so many times we prayed for your suffering to subside. Now that day had finally arrived and our hearts will never completely mend from the loss we feel inside.

The Phillip Funeral Home of West Bend is assisting the family.