John J. “Big John” Schroeder III

March 29, 1945 ‒ September 28, 2021

Marion, Ohio
Formerly of Norwalk, Ohio

John Schroeder III, age 76, has gone to meet his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on September 28, 2021.

On March 29, 1945, he was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of the late John and Celia (Rajacic) Schroeder II. As a family, they moved to Norwalk, Ohio, where with the encouragement of his basketball coach, he began playing the sport he would love for the rest of his life. His hard work and dedication led him to become the Captain of the Ohio University basketball, drafted by the Seattle Supersonics, and also to play in Europe.

After his playing career was over, John returned to the United States and immediately began coaching. He was passionate about training young men to be dedicated and disciplined, not only in the game, but also in life. His coaching career spanned 50 years. Another passion was his mentoring of young men in their faith walk with the Lord. He led Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddles for many years.

After retirement, John and his wife, Cheryl, purchased a condo on Lake Huron in Michigan, where they spent their summers. He was the “pool guy” at the Shores in Michigan. He often said “what a blessing it is to enjoy the beautiful seashores of Lake Huron and Mackinaw Island.”

He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Cheryl, of 53 years; a son, Joe, and daughter-in-law, Andréa; two granddaughters: Sophia and Celia; a sister, Carol (Don) Wait; and several nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be held at a later date in Mackinaw City, Michigan.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Grand Prairie Baptist Church and Dayspring Wesleyan Church, and they may be sent to the care of the funeral home.

Snyder Funeral Homes of Marion are honored to serve John’s family and your condolences may be expressed to them by visiting

  • In 1983 I began a career in education at Ridgedale High School. In the “basement” was my Ag facility. In the neighboring classroom was the OWA program with John… a powerful teacher and mentor to kids. As I look back after almost 4 decades, I see John as one of my early professional mentors, having had the privilege to work side-by-side with him each day. He was a leader in the most fundamental of definitions; he lead by example. He was a gentle giant who spoke softly and at the same time commanded undeniable respect. John was also a strict disciplinarian to a group that consisted mostly of boys who were in his program to do academic catch-up and prepare for entry into the workforce… and I would occasionally hear him raise his voice! When he did speak up, the whole lower level of the school went silent. I do not think I can remember a single day when he was not smiling or laughing. John Schroeder stands as one of the greatest educators that I ever had the privilege to work with and I know anyone who was touched by his magnificent personality misses him.
    Brad Moffitt
    Ridgedale Ag, 1983-1993

  • You made the greatest impact on my life. You were my all time favorite teacher.. You will be greatly missed..

  • We extend our deepest sympathy In the loss of John. It has been an honor to become closely acquainted with John over the last twelve years or so as he mentored Ryan Rayburn after a tragic car accident and TBI. We found a mutual interest in Ryan and often joined in prayer as Ryan hit some very tough spots in his recovery! Lauren & I found John to be very matter of fact, honest, positive & to the point. His devotion to Jesus was evident without a word spoken! We are so thankful that Ryan stayed in contact with John through many ups & downs. John served as Ryan’s mentor as he finished high school, was the best man at his wedding and remained a close friend and confidante until the end of his life’s journey! We are all better because we knew him and Ryan’s life of service to others was most definitely shaped by John mentorship. Words can in no way express the impact John and his wife Cheryl have made as they travel life’s journey. I pray that those he touched will continue where John left off in representing Christ.

  • John was a wonderful teacher, and mentor. He made each and ever student feel important, no matter what they were going through. He taught each of his students to be respectful and how to work hard for the things you wanted in life.. I had the privilege of having him as a teacher at ridge dale . I am so sorry for his families loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you!

  • John and I are so sorry for your loss!! He was such a great mentor, teacher and most of all a wonderful Christian man to be an example for all of us at one time or another! Love and prayers for you all…till we meet in Heaven!

  • We had 2 Tina’s in OWA s
    And I was into tasmanian devil so he started calling me taz to tell us apart. Mr. Schroeder was a big influence in me making it through high school. He was an awesome teacher and will be greatly missed.

  • John was truly a God fearing man. He was a great example to his students and his peers in education. I loved having the privilege of seeing this fine man every day I went to teach. Cheryl, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Don Coldwell

  • Absolutely one of the best teachers ever and best people ever, he helped so many of us lost kids when others had givin up on us, and he spent countless hours of his own time to mentor and guide us knuckle heads, and that was no easy feet, trust me he had his hands full, lol, but regardless he never got discouraged and never gave up on any of us, he truly cared and would do whatever it took to keep us on track and teach us honor, respect, to work hard, and to do your absolute best at every thing you did, this world is a lesser place without him in it, prayers to all his family and friends, thank you Mr Schroeder for all you did for all of us wayward kids, I’m honored to have known you and learned from you, you were a great man who will be greatly missed

  • I had the honor of having John as a teacher and later as a colleague and friend. He was more than excellent in each role. He was a great example of how to be a Christian teacher and impact students for the Lord. My effort pales in comparison to John. I loved his passion and his sense of humor. I could always count on him for great advice about teaching and coaching; his door was always open. My thoughts and prayers are with Cheryl and Joe that the Lord would wrap His arms around them and give them peace and comfort.

  • John I’m going to miss you buddy. All of our “talks” about basketball, all of our Wendy’s lunches every other week and our friendship. God Bless

  • Mr Schroeder you will be missed. You were the best mentor, anyone could ask for. So many young people looked up to you. I will always remember our Sundays at church together( snacks and all) all the advise you provided me. My prayers and thoughts to all lad you lay Mr Schroeder to rest. May God grant Cheryl and Joe (family) the comfort and peace they need at this time.

  • So sorry to hear of John’s passing. He was an excellent teacher and a warm, compassionate human being. I was privileged to call him my colleague. My deepest condolences to his family.

  • Words aren’t possibly enough to attempt to try and convey The love and kindness Mr. Schroeder had for his kids,,,and we were all his kids and he really took good care of us. Mr. Schroeder looked out for us and protected us,,,the other teachers were not even allowed to discipline us unless they checked with Mr. Schroeder first or they would have to answer to him personally,,,he cared,,,Mr. Schroeder took the worst class Ridgedale had ever seen in it’s history and he helped pulled us out of our juvenile delinquency into adulthood manhood/womanhood and made us good citizens and a functioning part of society.Mr. Schroeder taught us all that we were all special each and everyone of us because God don’t make no junk,,, one his favorite sayings.In Mr. Schroeder‘s classroom we had prayer we learned about the Lord he taught us all to have a good moral compass one that has guided us all through life and still continues to do so to this very day. Mr. Schroeder was and always will be one of the greatest human beings God ever put on this earth he truly made a difference and touched everyone he ever met in a very positive special kind of way and he truly cared about people especially his kids. We were all very fortunate to have known him. Rest in peace Mr. Schroeder God bless

  • What a guy my number one favorite teacher made school alot better We would listen to I believe I can fly every Mourning every time I hear that song I think of u I always remember that little red car u would squeeze into and expect me to get in when we would go fishing rip mr shroeder

  • I’m saddened to learn of coach John Schroeder’s passing. I first met him when he became head basketball coach at Ridgedale High School, and I covered his teams from time to time as sports editor of The Marion Star. And after I left that business I often saw him on the bench as an assistant coach at Ridgedale, Elgin and probably some others when I attended local basketball contests. They couldn’t keep this guy off the court! I was told by several coaches around the county that coach Schroeder was an outstanding defensive coach, and a firm believer in the teaching of basketball fundamentals. He contributed to the success of many local prep ballclubs over the years. And it was no secret around the county that coach Schroeder was a strong person of faith. I don’t recall ever hearing the coach talk about it, but his love of Christ and his fellow “neighbors” in this life was evident in his demeanor. And I’m also aware he was quite active in local chapters of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His life was a reflection of the love of God. Big John will certainly be missed by the many whose lives he touched as a teacher, coach and friend.

  • Mr.Schroeder you will be so missed. I can’t put into word how much you meant to me. How you shaped my life. When others gave up on us you were there. OWA was such a blessing to be your student. You seen things in us that we didn’t see.

  • John and I were friends for over 50 years; playing basketball and enjoying high school activities at Norwalk High School formed the foundation of our friendship.
    John was a wonderful person with a compassionate heart that he shared with everyone. Several of our classmates had the opportunity to be with him and Cheryl at a class reunion this past summer. Many people have benefited greatly from the influence John had on their lives.

    Terry Albright
    NHS Class of 1963

  • My family lived next door to Johnny growing up in Norwalk Ohio. We loved him and his family and he was a great role model to the. 9 Mushett kids and the whole neighborhood!

  • Cheryl and family, please accept heartfelt condolences from the Mushett family. As my sister Michelle shared, Johnny was a great friend and role model for my brothers and sisters as we grew up next door in Norwalk, Ohio. John was close to our father who put up his first basketball hoop in his back yard. We were thrilled when Johnny Married his soulmate Cheryl who also became a dear family friend. The world lost a wonderful and special man, a difference maker who will be truly missed.

  • Mr. Schroeder was my owa teacher at ridgedale. He was a wonderful man that helped us learn right from wrong. He taught us that trust an teamwork were very important. Every day in class, he would play the eagles as encouragment. He made us memorize poems, trying to burn the words of wisdom in our minds. We would play trust games, do taxes, he taught us morals, helped us with interviews. Best of all, he was a great listener, and a great guide. He taught me that i was not alone, he guided me to the right path and was there when i took my first steps. I will always remember him as a hero for thats what he was for me. I will continue to pray for his family, my deepest condolences.

  • Cheryl, so sorry for you and your family loss. I didn’t know your husband but I do know you through Romans 1:12. It is a delight seeing how much you truly love Jesus and after reading the above condolences, I can tell John did too.

    It sounds like John was a wonderful man who used his many spiritual gifts (discernment, evangelism, exhortation, faith,giving, leadership, mercy, serving, teaching and wisdom) that God gave him to help others.

    John is now reaping his reward by being a good and faithful servant of the Lord.


  • Dear Cheryl and Family–
    What a great loss for you, your family and the community.
    Our sincere sympathy. The tributes cited here are a great testament to his life and the person he was and the mark he has left on many. God bless you as you work thru the grieving process. Thinking of you and sending up prayers now and in the days to come. Hugs.

  • So sorry for your loss of John. His death brought back memories of our small time together growing up in Norwalk and playing a lot of summer basketball together on the outside courts in and around our city. I went to St. Paul during our years and between the flyers and the truckers we made a great summer team. John, Bob Middaugh, Steve Schumm, George Potts and some others played games against the best from Sandusky, Bellevue, Tiffin, Huron, etc. I especially remember our trips to Lakeside and we had to pay 50 cents for each person in the car to get in. It was hard for us to shove John and two others in the trunk of the car but we did it. A memory I will never forget. You have my prayers for your loss but I will never forget those days. Sincerely, Mike Ebert class of 1960 from Norwalk St. Paul.

  • John was a wonderful and very important addition to the Norwalk High School Class of 1963. Never will he be forgotten. Blessings to his family. Carrol Coon

  • John worked at Elgin Junior High as an aide. He was GREAT. I knew him as a coach. We never discussed basketball at EJHS because he concentrated on the students he was working with at the time. I never realized how good John was as a basketball player until I was at OU attending a MAC game and read about John at OU. The amazing fact about John was how humble he was. John was truly one of a kind. GOD’s kind.

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