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Schroeder, William (1927–2012)

Proper Title

William "Bill" Schroeder fonds

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

90cm of textual records

Biographical Sketch

William (“Bill”) Schroeder, teacher and minister, was born on April 8, 1927, at Pigeon Lake near St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba, to Wilhelm W. Schroeder (31 July 1894–10 March 1975) and Sara Doerksen (6 November 1896–21 February 1973), 1925 immigrants from Ukraine, Russia.

William grew up on a farm in Rosengard, near Steinbach, Manitoba, and was baptized upon confession of faith in Jesus in 1944 at age 17, joining the Steinbach Mennonite Brethren Church. He completed his elementary and high school in Rosengard and Steinbach and was awarded the Governor General’s medal at graduation.

After high-school, William continued with post-secondary studies and eventually obtained degrees from the University of Manitoba (BA, BEd, MEd), Mennonite Brethren Bible College (BTh) in Winnipeg. William taught school for over 40 years, including assignments at five locations in southern Manitoba, three-and-a-half years as a missionary in Paraguay (1955–1958), and the last eleven (1978–1989) at Winkler Bible Institute (Winkler, Manitoba).

William married Hildegard Enns (1928–2019) on July 8, 1951; they raised five children: David R. (b. 2 May 1953), Ruth H. (b. 13 March 1955), William J. (b. 30 July 1956), Sandra N. (b. 6 April 1960), and Judith L. (b. 26 April 1964).

Alongside teaching, William was much involved in church and denominational conference work. He was ordained as a minister of gospel in 1963 and served as pastor at Domain (1963–1967) and Horndean (1983) Mennonite Brethren churches, assistant pastor at Winkler Mennonite Brethren church (1969–1989), and moderator and acting pastor at St. Boniface Mennonite Brethren Church in Winnipeg (1990–1991). He continued to take courses for enrichment during his career (e.g., Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, and Luther Rice Seminary in Jacksonville, Florida).

William remained active after retirement from teaching. He spent three years as associate editor of Mennonitische Rundschau, a German-Mennonite periodical, picking up again a role he had at the beginning of his professional life—assistant literary editor to the student newspaper and yearbook at Teachers College, then known as the Manitoba Normal School (1947–1948). In retirement, he continued preaching and Bible teaching and he was regularly commissioned to translate historical documents from German to English. He taught short courses with several summer ministries in Ecuador, Nigeria, Russia, and Ukraine. His long-time hobby was researching, collecting, translating, and writing Mennonite history, especially family history, which resulted in a substantial family archive, some published articles, and a genealogy book.

William (“Bill”) Schroeder died on February 10, 2012, at the age of eighty-four.

Highly regarded by his students, William was known for his gentleness, quick wit, and sharp intellect, a man of integrity, sincerity, and order. In 1980, the students of the Winkler Bible Institute named him “teacher of the year.”

More details concerning the life and ministry of William Schroeder can be found in the following works that he authored: “In Search of Wilhelm Schroeder I,” Mennonite Historian 19/2 (June 1993): 1, 6–7; “My Inter-Mennonite Christian Heritage,” Mennonite Historian 30/2 (June 2004): 1–2, 7; and A Genealogical History of Wilhelm Schroeder (1761–1827) and Helena Reimer (1788–1829) and their descendants (Winnipeg, 2005).

Custodial History

In 2013, William’s wife, Hilda Schroeder, donated to the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg, books and personal papers from the library of William Schroeder. Sandra Schroeder and her husband, Marlowe Rempel, delivered the materials to the Centre on July 30, 2013. Then, following the passing of Hilda on May 12, 2019, Sandra brought the remaining personal papers from William's library.

Scope and Content

The William Schroeder fonds consists of 14 small binders of sermon manuscripts/notes; course materials (syllabi, exams, and lecture notes) for 15 courses that he taught at the Winkler Bible Institute; correspondence, notes, and translations pertaining to his genealogical research for the Schroeder family; and miscellaneous documents related to his professional life as a teacher, historian, genealogist, and minister of the gospel. The fonds documents well the scope of William’s large and lasting contribution within the life of the Mennonite Brethren Church.


  • Title based on contents of fonds.
  • Accession numbers: 2013-17; 2019-04.
  • Location: Volume Nos. 1380, 1508–1509.
  • Finding aid consists of a description and a file list.
  • Description created by Jon Isaak, October 2013, and updated August 2019.
  • No restrictions to access.
  • Language: English and German.
  • Related materials: Personal Papers of father, Wilhelm W. Schroeder (Vol. 1049), and Winkler Bible Institute fonds.

File List

Volume 1380

1.   Obituary from Winnipeg Free Press and Memorial Service. February 14, 2012. -- 2012.
2.   BTh diploma from Mennonite Brethren Bible College, Winnipeg. -- 1955.
3.   Essay on the historical background of the churches in Winkler. -- 1970.
4.   Sermon and lesson notes. Gnadenthal and Eigenhof. -- 1949–1953.
5.   Argus (Feb and Mar 1948). Student publication. Manitoba Normal School. -- 1948.
6.   Normal Lights. 1947–1948 Manitoba Normal School Yearbook. -- 1948.
7a. 1948-2004 The Years Between. 56th Reunion book. Manitoba Normal School. -- 2004.
7b. Gospel Light Hour. Radio broadcast manuscripts. -- 1969, 1978.
8.   Winkler Bible Institute Class of 1980 photograph. Teacher of the Year. -- 1980.
9.   OT Prophets. WBI course syllabus, lecture notes, and examination. -- 1982.
10.  Isaiah. WBI course syllabus, lecture notes, and examination. -- 1982–1989.
11.  Minor Prophets. MBBC notes. WBI course syllabus and notes. -- 1955, [198-].
12.  Psalms. MBBC notes. Professor J.H. Quiring. -- 1954.
13.  Life of Christ. WBI Examination and interim test. -- 1978, 1982.
14.  Gospel of Matthew. WBI Lecture notes. -- [1980?].
15.  Acts of the Apostles. MBBC notes. WBI course syllabus and notes. -- 1954, [198-].
16.  Romans and Galatians. MBBC notes. WBI course syllabus and notes. -- [195-], 1979–1984.
17.  I and II Corinthians. WBI course syllabus, lecture notes, and study questions. -- 1986–1987.
18.  Prison Epistles. Seminar notes. WBI course syllabus, test, and examination. -- 1958, 1978.
19.  I and II Thessalonians. WBI course syllabus, lecture notes, and tests. -- [198-].
20.  General Epistles. WBI course syllabus, lecture notes, and examination. -- 1984–1987.
21.  Biblical Prophecy. Eschatology. WBI course syllabus and lecture notes. -- [198-].
22.  Biblical Theology. MBBC notes. WBI course syllabus and lecture notes. -- 1955, 1978–1979.
23.  Systematic Theology. WBI course syllabus and lecture notes. -- 1979–1989.
24.  Mennonite History and Thought. WBI course syllabus, test, and lecture notes. -- 1988.
25.  Home Bible Studies. Outlines and notes. -- 1995–2008.
26.  Sermon notes #1. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1957–1960.
27.  Sermon notes #2. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1962–1963.
28.  Sermon notes #4. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1963–1964.
29.  Sermon notes #5. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1964–1965.
30.  Sermon notes #7. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1966.
31.  Sermon notes #10. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1967–1968.
32.  Sermon notes #16. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1977–1979.
33.  Sermon notes #17. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1980–1982.
34.  Sermon notes #18. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1982–1985.
35.  Sermon notes #19. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1985–1986.
36.  Sermon notes #20. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1986–1988.
37.  Sermon notes #21. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1989–1992.
38.  Sermon notes #22. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1993–1996.
39.  Sermon notes #23. Preaching outlines with dates and locations noted. -- 1997–2000.

Note: Sandra took Sermon notebooks #3, 9, 12, 13; Ruth took #6, 14; Bill #8, 15.

Volume 1508

9. BA, BEd, and MEd diplomas from University of Manitoba, teaching certificates, summer school coursework, and newspaper clippings announcing various appointments. -- 1948–2000.
10. Essays written for college/university credit and other presentations. -- 1955–1973.
11. MEd thesis. University of Manitoba. "The Theory of Transfer of Learning." -- 1965.
12. Notebooks containing autographs of students from each year of teaching, spanning more than 40 years. -- 1945–1989.
13. Garden Valley Collegiate (Winkler) and Morris-Macdonald Collegiate (Rosenort). Correspondence, opening ceremonies, dedication notices, and memorabilia.  -- 1962, 1967.
14. Correspondence with Mennonite Brethren mission office with regard to Paraguay teaching assignment. -- 1955–1959, 1991.
15. Correspondence and newspaper clippings related to teaching assignment in Paraguay. -- 1955–1959.
16. German radio scripts—Bible teaching—prepared for broadcast with Radio HCJB, Quito, Ecuador. -- 1980.
17. Correspondence with Mennonite Brethren conference leaders, regarding archives and church committees. -- 1961–1978.
18. Documents and papers related to ministry with the Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church. -- 1967–1980.
19. Documents and papers related to ministry with the Domain Mennonite Brethren Church. -- 1967–1977.
20. Correspondence with various government officials—both provincial and federal—and with school administrations. -- 1986–1989.
21. Documents and papers related to ministry with the St. Boniface Mennonite Brethren Church. -- 1990–1994.
22. Presentations given at Fort Garry Mennonite Brethren Church, certificates and appreciation notes from the Fort Garry congregation, and newspaper clippings related to Mennonite Studies. -- 1997–2001.
23. Documents related to trip to Europe, including the Mennonite World Conference in Amsterdam. -- 1967.
24. Documents and correspondence related to trip to Russia, Ukraine, and Germany. -- 1993.
25. Documents and correspondence related to teaching ministry trip in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. -- 1995.
26. 34-page manuscript entitled, "Rosengart in the East Reserve." -- 1998. [Note: the essay was later published as chapter 11 in Settlers of the East Reserve, edited by Adolf Ens, Ernest Braun, and Henry Fast (Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society, 2009).]
27. Collection of funeral programs. William writes: "The reason for saving so many old funeral programs: the Bible texts and marginal notes have several times been a good source of ideas for funeral sermons at short notice, when I also had to contend with emotional involvement." -- 1983–2002.
28. Collection of newspaper clippings and documents related to the Manitoba Mennonite Centennial, marking 100 years since Mennonite settlement began in Manitoba in 1874. -- 1974.
29. Correspondence and meeting minutes of the Committee struck to plan the Centennial celebrations of the Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church, a church established in 1888. -- 1983–1988.
30. Manuscript, 32 pages. "Memoirs of Uncle Henry Doerksen (1900–1980)." Originally written in German and translated by Esther Bergen. Henry is William's uncle. -- [195-?].
31. Manuscript, 19 pages. "Erinnerungen aus der alten Heimat, 1907 bis 1925." This memoir is written in German by Margaret (Peters) Hildebrandt (1921–2010). Margaret is related to William's mother. Included is correspondence between Bill and Mary Enns, daughter of Margaret Peters. -- 1978, 1996.
32. Documents and correspondence related to the Petershagen Mennonite Church restoration project (Molotschna settlement). William's brother, George Schroeder (1929–2010) with Frank and Nettie Dyck gave leadership to the project that was sponsored by several Mennonite churches and institutions. Bill's parents were married in this church in 1923. -- 1993, 1999–2004.
33. Collection of newspaper clippings, remembrances, and correspondence related to William's brother, George Schroeder (1929–2010), including obituary and funeral program. -- 2010.
34. Translation by Hilda (Enns) Schroeder (1928–2019) of her mother's memoirs, Gertrude (Fransen) Enns (1899–1976). -- 1965, 1974.
35. Speedwell Mennonite Brethren Church (Saskatchewan) papers, including copies of the Enns family immigration papers, homestead plot map, and translations of congregational meeting minutes and church register (1926–1948) by William Schroeder.  -- 2003.
36. Research files on Gerhard H. Doerksen (1866–1930). Correspondence, school reports, ordination certificate, immigration papers, etc. -- 1908–1926.
37. Gerhard Doerksen's notebooks. One is on General Bible Introduction, a hand-written notebook of lectures from a course he probably took at the Pedagogical school in Halbstadt, Molotschna in the 1880s. The other is a family genealogical record of births, marriages, and deaths of his Doerksen family. -- [188-], [1925?].
38. Correspondence related to the Doerksen family, including records of food deliveries to the Doerksen family by the American Mennonite Relief organization [MCC] in 1923 and statements of travel debt owed to the CPR in 1934. All documents translated into English by William Schroeder. -- 1880–1943.
39. Journals, memoirs, and genealogical material of W.W. Schroeder (1894–1975) with translations by William Schroeder. -- 1922, 1975.

Volume 1509

1. A Genealogical History of Wilhelm Schroeder (1761–1827) and Helena Reimer (1788–1829) and their Descendants by William Schroeder. Publication. 45 pages. -- 2005.
2. Recollections and Reflections. A memoir by William Schroeder. Typescript manuscript. 140 pages. -- 1994.
3. Journals of Sara Doerksen Schroeder (1896–1973) with translation and commentary by William Schroeder. -- 1919–1924, 1995.
4. Obituary, correspondence, funeral program documents for Sara Doerksen Schroeder (1896–1973). -- 1973.
5. Obituary, correspondence, funeral program documents for Wilhelm W. Schroeder (1894–1975). -- 1975.
6. Estate settlement of Wilhelm W. Schroeder (1894–1975), including old photographs and negatives. -- 1975.
7. Dad's Stories, including experiences of Wilhelm W. Schroeder during the Russian Revolution and death-bed conversations between W.W. Schroeder and his son, William Schroeder. -- 1973–1975, 2000.
8. Correspondence and genealogical data on Gerhard and Abraham Schroeder received from Erwin Wieler and Helena Goertzen. -- 2000–2007.
9. Correspondence, newspaper clippings, obituaries, writings, etc. related to William Schroeder's family. The file includes a sermon manuscript by Prof. Paul Doerksen of Canadian Mennonite University that references William. -- 1989–2012.
10. Various versions of the Schroeder family tree, ending with the version typed by Lois Loewen (b. 1959). The file also includes copies of immigration papers and correspondence related to the family's history. -- 1925–2004.

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