June 25, 1930 ~ March 3, 2019
Darrol G. Schroeder, 88, Fargo, ND died peacefully at home on Sunday, March 3, 2019 surrounded by his loving family.
Darrol was born at home on June 25, 1930 to Robert and Julia Schroeder of Davenport, ND. He attended school in Davenport and Fargo. His parents spent the winter in the warm, dry Arizona climate for brother Paul’s health, and Darrol stayed behind with family and friends, graduating from Fargo Central in 1948. When the family returned to Davenport, Darrol would ride the train home to enjoy weekends on the family farm.
Darrol met the love of his life, Donna ‘Jean’ Nellermoe, on a ski trip with the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Ski Club. Darrol, a freshman helped carry Jean, a senior to an awaiting car after breaking her leg in two places. He pursued a degree in Animal Husbandry, was active in Theta Chi Fraternity and enlisted in the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1947. Darrol graduated from NDSU and received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Darrol and Jean were married at Olivet Lutheran Church, Fargo ND on Thursday, February 6, 1952. The newlyweds drove their Chevy convertible, loaded with all of their belongings to Spence AFB, Moultrie, GA where Darrol reported for Primary Pilot Training four days later.
Darrol completed U.S Air Force Pilot Training in 1954 at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas as well as Advanced Gunnery School at Nellis AFB, Nevada. His initial assignment was with the 388th Fighter Bomber Wing, Clovis, New Mexico. In 1955, he flew a single seat, single engine F86 (his favorite plane) across the ocean to Bitburg Air Base, Germany and in 1956 was assigned to Etain Air Base, France. In 1957, Darrol wrote a letter to his father in Davenport asking if he could come back to join the family farm and subsequently requested release from active duty. Upon return, he rejoined the North Dakota Air National Guard in March of that same year. He and Jean made their family home in Davenport.
In August of 1980 General Schroeder was appointed Assistant to the Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command. He received his second star when he was promoted to Major General on Dec. 4, 1980. The Secretary of Defense appointed him to serve on the Reserve Forces Policy Board in March of 1983. In June of 1983 General Schroeder was appointed as Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander in Chief, United States Air Forces in Europe, where as the Air National Guard Assistant, he was a member of the USAFE Staff. General Schroeder retired from the Air National Guard in June of 1987, after 39 years of military service.
From his boyhood days laying in a ditch chewing on a piece of grass watching ‘prop planes’ fly over, to his first airplane ride in the Aeronca Champ, Darrol was hooked on airplanes. Next to his family, his greatest love was flying. During his military service, General Schroeder flew more than 5000 hours in Fighter Aircraft such as the F-80, F-86, F-94, F-101, F-102 and F-4. He also checked out in the F-104, A-7, F-16 and F-15. He has been a test pilot, instructor pilot and flight examiner. He has more than 22,000 total hours and has flown over 130 different types of military and civilian aircraft. The FAA presented him with the "Master Pilot" award in 2005.
General Schroeder has received numerous military decorations and awards including the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Army Occupation Medal (Germany), the Republic of Korea Cheonsu Medal and the Combat Readiness Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
In addition to his distinguished military career, Darrol was a partner in a successful farming operation, president of Schroeder Aviation Inc., Davenport Fertilizer and Chemical Co., and an owner of Carlson Travel Agency. He was active in local civic organizations and has served on the board of directors of such organizations as US Bank of North Dakota for 45 years, Lear Siegler Management Services Corp., and Merit Care Health Systems where as Chairman he spearheaded the merger of a Not for Profit with a For Profit organization. On two occasions, General Schroeder served as the Interim Commandant of the North Dakota Veteran’s Home.
Darrol is a past member of the North Dakota State Aeronautics Commission. He served as Director of Business Development of UND Aerospace and served on the nominating committee of the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In September of 1987 Governor George Sinner presented General Schroeder with the North Dakota National Leadership Award of Excellence. He was also an inductee of the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame. General Schroeder was honored as Military Person of the year by the Fargo Chamber of Commerce. For more than 20 years, he served as co-chair of the Fargo AirSho and was a founding member of the Fargo Air Museum.
Darrol was a warm, patient and loving father and grandfather. He always set the example by being the man who did the right thing for all of the right reasons. He was a community leader, successful businessman, senior military leader and at the same time, a thoughtful and caring neighbor. He and Jean traveled the world and were happiest spending time with family and friends at their home on Pelican Lake, MN.
General Schroeder is survived by his daughter Terry Schroeder Scherling (Alexandria, VA); Grandson Nick (Robyn) Scherling; Granddaughter Britta (Shawn) Schreiner; four great grandchildren, Maverick and Addison (Addy) Scherling; Alexander (Alex) Petersen and Nora Schreiner; brother, Paul; sister-in-law, Nora (Wandell) Nellermoe; and many other loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He is preceded in death by his lovely wife, Donna Jean; his son, Mark; parents; brother, Howard; sister-in-law, Adele; and brother in law, Wandell.
Visitation & Prayer Service: Thursday, March 7, 2019 from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m., with a prayer service at 6:30 pm at Shepherd of the Prairie Moravian Church, 6151 25th St. S., Fargo, ND 58104.
Celebration of Darrol’s Life: Friday, March 8, 2019 at 3:00 p.m., Fargo Air Museum, 1609 19th Ave. N., Fargo, ND 58102. Additional Parking is available at the Fargo Dome.
Interment will be at Canaan Moravian Church at a later late.
Darrol’s family would like to extend their gratitude to the wonderful caregivers Lanette Krinsky; Payton Hester; Kari Dick, Director and the entire Touchmark staff; Hospice of the Red River Valley; and Griswold Home Care.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Fargo Air Museum, Canaan Moravian Church, or the NDSU Endowment for Improving the Quality of Life for Persons with Dementia and Alzheimer’s.