Jim was born on Dec. 14, 1943, to Norman and Dorothy (Curl) Schroeder and was raised in Pharr, Texas. He was preceded in death by his father in 1985 and his mother in 1998.
He attended schools in Pharr and McAllen and in 1962, graduated from PSJA High School. He played football for the PSJA Bears, and in 1961, the team had a perfect season. They won ten straight games, outscoring their opponents by 330 points to win district, and made it to the quarterfinals. From 1961-1964, the Bears won district three times, made it to quarterfinals twice, and made it to state once (1963-64). He was always proud to be a Bear and cherished his teammates and the many memories made.
Jim attended Texas A&I University in Kingsville, where he was a brother of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, Sigma Rho Chapter. He graduated in 1967 with a BBA degree in Management. While in college, he met the love of his life, Jann Whitlock, from Mercedes, whom he married June 1, 1965, at First United Methodist Church in Pharr. When they married, he told Jann, “I promise we will have an exciting life.” He certainly made good on his promise, and they celebrated 48 wonderful and exciting years together.
During the summers of his high school and college years, Jim worked for Mission Paving Company, the business his father Norman E. Schroeder worked for since 1952, and later, bought in 1969. His father managed the company until his retirement in 1983. Jim became the general manager in 1978 and President and CEO in 1983. In 2011, Mission Paving Company, Inc. was recognized as a 35-year active business member of the Mission Chamber of Commerce, and this year celebrated its 64th successful year in business.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Mission, Jim served as a director and was a Paul Harris Fellow Recipient. Paul Harris Fellow recognition is presented to a member in appreciation for a substantial contribution to Rotary’s humanitarian and educational programs. Rotarians often designate a Paul Harris Fellow to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of the Rotary Foundation.
He served as Director of NBC Bank of Mission and Director of the Rio Grande Valley Santa Gertrudis Cattle Association. From 1998 to 2004, he was a director of the Mission Economic Development Association. He was a supporter of the Mission Historical Museum, the Wounded Warrior Project, Comfort House, American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, RGV Food Bank, and Mission Baccalaureate.
In September of 2012, Jim was honored by the Mission Historical Museum by being inducted to the Mission Historical Museum Wall of Fame. Every year, the museum honors a group of individuals who have made a lasting contribution to the Mission community. The honorees have either worked or lived in Mission for 30 or more years and have shown leadership in public service, business, government, and other areas that have made a positive impact on Mission’s history. He was very proud to have been included in such a fine group of people.
In October of 2012, he was named “Mr. Mission” for his outstanding community service.
One of the community projects of which he was most proud was his “Shipping for Soldiers Program,” which Mission Paving Company initiated after 9/11. Over 5,000 care packages were sent to soldiers fighting the War on Terrorism. Through the years, many letters, personal thank you’s, and mementos were given to Jim by the soldiers that received the packages. These tokens of appreciation were some of Jim’s most prized memories and possessions. He was a patriotic man who never wavered in his support for our troops and veterans. Jim’s other favorite project was the Annual Mission Classic Car Show. It began in 2003, and has grown into one of the largest and most successful Classic Car Shows in the Rio Grande Valley. It draws participants and crowds from all over the state of Texas and Mexico. He felt very privileged to help represent and promote the City of Mission with such a positive, family oriented event.
Jim’s hobbies were many and varied. He loved collecting, buying, and selling antiques, and his knowledge of items from every era was extensive. He was always on the hunt for the next great piece of history. He especially loved classic cars and clocks. His love of collecting filled his life with fun and adventure. He and Jann spent many hours at J2 ranch, where they raised Santa Gertrudis cattle for more than 30 years. Another love was raising and training Labrador Retrievers, and you rarely saw Jim without one of them by his side.
Jim is survived by his wife, Jann Elaine Whitlock Schroeder, of Mission, Texas; daughter, Mindy Celene Schroeder of Mission, Texas; daughter, Christina Ann Baese; son-in-law, Cale Baese; and granddaughter, Cyann Elaine Baese, all of Kyle, Texas; sister, Norma Jean Gossett, of Austin, Texas; and many, many cousins.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, at Ric Brown Family Funeral Home in Mission. Church services are scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, at First United Methodist Church of Mission at 1101 Doherty Avenue in Mission. Interment will follow at Valley Memorial Gardens.
Donations can be made to The First United Methodist Church of Mission (1101 Doherty Avenue, 78572), The Comfort House (617 Dallas Avenue, McAllen, Texas, 78501), or The Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org).
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.