Ileene Louise Schroeder was born on July 30, 1929, in Sealy, Texas, to Raymond Edward and Leona Louise (nee Ottmer) Schroeder. She passed away on July 23, 2020, in Brenham, Texas. She was baptized on Oct. 2, 1929. The Schroeder family moved to Bellville, Texas, in 1930. Ileene would live there for the rest of her life.
In April of 1943, Ileene was confirmed into the congregation of St. John Lutheran Church. She continued to learn and grow in her community and church through her graduation from Bellville High School on May 28, 1946. Ileene then attended Blinn College studying office and business management, finishing in 1947.
Ileene was a faithful member of her church singing in the choir and joining the Luther League. It was at church that she met her beloved Isador Zander. They were married at St. John on Sunday, May 29, 1955.
Motherhood came to Ileene with the birth of son, Wayne Douglas in April of 1956. A second son joined the family in May of 1959 when Philip Ray was born. Ileene was a busy mother and housewife and still found time to work at several jobs in the community including: Western Auto, Craddock Hatchery, Charpiot and Dunn, Lynn Keicke Insurance, and the Austin County tax office.
Life took a joyous turn as Ileene became a grandmother in May of 1987. After the birth of granddaughter Casey, she quickly began looking forward to the addition of Jordan and Julie. While she never truly spoiled them, she taught them many lessons. Lessons such as: all Barbies must be dressed, even if she had to do it; your favorite treats were often in the freezer in Grandma’s kitchen (and most were pretty tasty while still frozen); along with Moose Tracks ice cream; the shop was full of craft supplies and mysterious things; and head scarves are required. Julie relates fond memories of getting to mash the potatoes, rolling out and cutting cookie dough along with getting read a bedtime stories.
The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus could come at any time at her house, but those two holidays had deeply religious meanings. She would make Forgotten Cookies and teach the girls about the meaning of the empty tomb.
Throughout her life, Ileene was an ALCW member, taught the Bethel Bible study and was an active member of the Mary Circle. Daughters-in-law and granddaughters were often taken along as honorary members too.
Ileene was always in the middle of a craft, crochet or sewing project. Angels, doilies and little gifts were given away to friends, family, and acquaintances. Small trinkets were even taken to Exxon Annuitant meetings. If a granddaughter liked cats, horses, ballet or some other interest, chances were very good that a gift would come along supporting that interest. Everything from hand embroidered cup towels with cats or horses, to cross stitch pictures. She loved attending ballet recitals and musicals starring a granddaughter.
When Casey, Jordan, and Julie came to visit, she would have little treasures, newspaper and magazine clippings, and other little things she thought they would like. She loved gifts they made her and would proudly show them to visitors. All three girls took note of the fact that she mailed something every day. When asked why, she answered, “So I know if the mail has run.”
Ileene loved taking the girls to the low water bridge. They would each be given some oatmeal to feed the minnows there. Casey and Julie would arrive with theirs, but Jordan flummoxed Grandma more than once. When they arrived, Jordan didn’t have any oatmeal. When Grandma wanted to know what happened to it, Jordan replied, “I ate it.” Ileene was stunned and horrified that this little munchkin would eat the raw oatmeal.
If you spent the night at her house, she tried to give you warm milk with honey before bedtime. When you left, she would say, “call me, let it ring once, then hang up and I’ll know you got home safe.”
All three girls can instantly describe a “Grandma” face. These were often followed by peals of laughter. They all also can tell you stories about the bluebonnets at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
Jordan tells it best. In first grade we spent a week learning about bluebonnets. My teacher also told us it is illegal to pick bluebonnets. That weekend we went to visit Grandma and Grandpa. I guess my mom had told my grandma I was learning about bluebonnets, because when we arrived my Grandma presented me with a beautiful, freshly picked bunch of bluebonnets. I immediately burst into tears, knowing the police would be there any minute to take Grandma to jail for picking the flowers. It took all weekend to convince me that Grandma wasn’t going to jail because you can pick bluebonnets on your own property. Many more happy memories are stored in minds and hearts of family and friends.
Ileene was preceded in death by her parents, Raymond and Leona Schroeder, brother Aaron Schroeder, sister Ruth Nell Peters, and her husband of 55 years, Isador Zander. She is survived by sons Wayne Zander and wife Jackie of Rowlett, Texas, and Philip Zander and wife Jeanne of Brenham. She is also survived by granddaughters Casey Zander of Heartland, Texas, Jordan of Rowlett and Julie of Brenham. Ileene is also survived by sisters Grace Holtkamp of Sealy, Ona Lea Pierce of Blessing, Texas, and numbers nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: WELCA Scholarship Fund, c/o St. John Lutheran Church, 520 N. Holland, Bellville, TX 77418 or the charity of your choice
Visitation was held 5-7 p.m., Monday, July 27, at the Schmidt Funeral Home in Bellville.
A Graveside Service was held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, July 28, in the 1861 Pilgrims Rest Cemetery in Bellville with Pastor Andrew Bell officiating.
Funeral arrangements under the direction of the Schmidt Funeral Home, P.O. Box 610, 12029 Hwy. 36 South, Bellville; 979-865-2424; www.schmidtfunerals.com.