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Published: Thursday, 4/14/2011

Charles R. Schroeder, 1940-2011: Officer was 'legend' in enforcing traffic laws

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Charles R. Schroeder, a retired Toledo police officer known for the huge volume of traffic tickets he wrote, died Friday of a subarachnoid hemorrhage in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. He was 70.

Mr. Schroeder's career as a police officer spanned 33 years, most of them spent in the traffic bureau, where he issued as many as 400 citations a month.

"He was a minor legend in the police department," his son Jeff said.

But his career consisted of more than grabbing traffic violators. He also served as sergeant-at-arms at Toledo City Council meetings.

One of his most memorable assignments came in 1980, when Mr. Schroeder was assigned to escort Vice President Walter Mondale during a campaign visit. He met Mr. Mondale at Toledo Express Airport, accompanied his motorcade to its various stops, then saw it back to the airport, where he posed for an official White House photo.

He was recognized in 1991 with the police department's Professional Service Award.

"He loved the work," his son said.

Mr. Schroeder acquired his taste for police work during his four years in the Army, serving as an MP at Fort Belvoir, Va. He also was influenced by his brother, Fred, who was 11 years older and a Toledo police officer.

After being honorably discharged, he took the civil service exam with a friend and joined the police department in 1964. His friend became a firefighter. Mr. Schroeder retired as a police officer in 1997.

Mr. Schroeder was a 1958 graduate of the former Macomber Vocational High School, where he was a varsity baseball and basketball player. He was the starting forward on the 1958 team that lost in the state tournament to Middletown High School, whose players included future basketball great Jerry Lucas.

He and his wife, Roberta, who is known by family and friends as "Bobbie," were married for 45 years.

Mr. Schroeder was a sports fan who was especially interested in the Detroit Tigers and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. At Regina Coeli School, he coached his sons' baseball and basketball teams and the girls' basketball team and served as president of the school's athletic boosters. He also enjoyed driving his sons to the school in a police car. For many years, he performed security duties at the parish's annual festival.

After he retired, he took a job as a greeter at the Walmart on Central Avenue in Sylvania Township and made many friends among the shoppers with his affable personality.

He was born in 1940, the younger of Elizabeth and Fred Schroeder's two sons, and grew up on North Hawley Street.

Surviving are his wife, Roberta; sons, Jeff, Scott, and Todd; brother, Fred W., and eight grandchildren.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday in Regina Coeli Church. Arrangements are by Ansberg-West Funeral Home.

The family suggests memorial tributes to Sal's Pals, 5026 West Sylvania Ave., Toledo, OH 43623, or salspals.com.


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