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USA Water Polo Mourns The Loss Of Hall Of Fame Inductee & Historian Charlie Schroeder

Charlie Schroeder (L) receives an honor at the 2010 Hall of Fame from Chris Dorst.
Charlie Schroeder (L) receives an honor at the 2010 Hall of Fame from Chris Dorst.
June 7, 2018

Huntington Beach, CA - June 7 - USA Water Polo mourns the loss of Hall of Fame inductee and longtime historian Charlie Schroeder. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.

Via the Schroeder Family:

Retired Lt. Col. Charles W. Schroeder, 98, of Glen Carbon, IL and formerly of Collinsville, IL, passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 2, 2018. Charlie was the son of much loved Karl and Martha (Huerstel) Schroeder. Charlie was also preceded in death by his treasured first wife, Jeanne (Stagg); sister-in-law Dorothy (Dottie) Griffin and her husband, Hewitt (Griff); brother and best friend, C. Frederic (Fred) and his wife, Barbara (Bobbie); his niece, Barbara (Babs) DeFiore; and sister-in-law, Thelma (Nuetzel) Bendel.

Charlie is survived by his beloved wife, Carol (Nuetzel), daughter, Kim and her husband, Ron Theleen of Southbury, CT and their children, Daniel and his wife Jaclyn, Steven, Jeanne and Kim; son, Charles Schroeder, of New Orleans, LA and his three children, John, Katy (Schroeder) Vincent and Meg and their children; nieces, Susan Schroeder Bethke and Jill Schroeder along with their children and grandchildren; and Cass DeFiore and his children and grandchildren.

Charlie was born at home in Bronx, New York on May 12, 1920. Charlie's prolific athletic career began in earnest when he won his first swimming medal in the 8th grade at Public School 241. Charlie attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn from 1934-1937 and was Captain of the team that were New York City High School Champions in 1937, the same year that Charlie was also the New York City High School 50 Freestyle Champion. He was elected into the New York City High School Hall of Fame in 1937. Swimming for the Flatbush Boys Club, Charlie was named to the AAU National Swim Term in 1941 for his dominating performance in the Breaststroke. Charlie attended Brooklyn College from 1942-1943, where he was an All- American and captain of the team competing against all NCAA Eastern Schools. Charlie was undefeated during those two years in the Breaststroke and Medley Relay.

Charlie's patriotic service to the country he dearly loved began when was drafted into the U.S. Army as a Private in 1943. He then qualified for Aviation Cadet training in the Army Air Corps, which was a combat arm of the Army until 1947 when the U.S. Air Force was established. Charlie became a pilot and remained on active duty training pilots during World War II until retiring from active duty in 1947. Thereafter, Charlie remained in the Air Force Reserve for 30 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

After completing his active military duty, Charlie continued his public service work when he was hired by the Brooklyn Fire Department, where he worked for 22 years as he put his own life at risk to help others. Charlie also swam for the Fire Department and he was given a job a headquarters that allowed him easier access to swimming facilities so that he could continue his outstanding competitive swimming career and also compete at a national and world level in water polo. Charlie became a member of the renowned New York Athletic Club after the war and was a leader on the NYAC Water Polo Team as a player and coach from 1947-1965 (Captain from 1949-1950). Charlie's team won the AAU Junior Indoor Water Polo National Championship in 1949. Charlie's teams won the AAU Senior Indoor Water Polo National Championships in 1949, 1952-1954 and 2 1962. In addition, Charlie teams also won the AAU Senior Outdoor Water Polo National Championships in 1954-1956, 1958, 1960 and 1962. Charlie was named an AAU All-American for the indoor water polo seasons in 1951 and 1954. Charlie was also an AAU All-American for the outdoor water polo seasons in 1951 and 1954-1956. Charlie was also a member of the U.S North American Water Polo Championship Teams in 1962, 1964 and 1965, and a member of the U.S. Water Polo Team that won the Mid Ocean Championship in Bermuda in 1947 and 1952.

Charlie's solidified his reputation as one of the elite water polo players in the U.S. with his participation in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1948, 1952, 1956 and 1960. Charlie was selected as an Alternate to the U.S. Water Polo Olympic Team for the 1948 Summer Olympics in London - the Games of the XIV Olympiad.

Charlie enhanced his reputation as a legend at the NYAC as he continued to play as well as serve as their Head Water Polo Coach from 1961-1965, during which time the NYAC won two national water polo championships. Charlie was also the Head Coach for the U.S. Water Polo Team at the 1961 Maccabiah Games in Israel in which 27 nations competed, coaching the team to Bronze Medal. He was also a coach on the U.S. Olympic Trials Water Polo Team in 1964.

Charlie's professional career brought him and his family to Pittsburgh, PA in 1966 when he joined Pleasant Valley Wine Company (Great Western Wines & Champagnes), serving as their Pennsylvania Sales Manager until he retired in 1983. During this time he was a leading spokesman in the state for all of their products and received various honors and awards. As Charlie continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve during this time, his love for water polo continued at both the regional and national level. Charlie was a leading ambassador of water polo, helping to organize several high school teams in Western Pennsylvania. He was Head Coach of the Upper St. Clair Water Polo team from 1966-1978, during which time six players were named the national high school team. At the national level, Charlie served on the AAU National Water Polo Committee for 19 years, the AAU Olympic Water Polo Committee for 12 years, and he was the USA Water Polo Historian and USA Water Polo Hall of Fame/Awards Committee Secretary for 25 years. Charlie was also named an Official by the U.S. Olympic Committee at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, assisting in various capacities during the water polo competitions. He performed the same functions at the U.S. Olympic Festivals from 1985-1987 and 1989-1991.

Charlie was inducted in the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1981 and the NYAC Hall of Fame in 1996.

Charlie showed by his actions what it means to be a loving grandfather, father, husband and friend. "Big Grandpa" will always be remembered for his positive attitude, love of life, faith and trust in God's plan, kind blue eyes and endearing smile for all who were near him. Charlie will also be remembered as a kind and humble giant of a person who lead by example and always had an outstretched hand for family, friends and his country. Charlie's remarkable health during his life is a testament for his love of swimming and exercise throughout his life, as well as his desire to travel and remain active as he enjoyed the company of anyone he met.

Charlie was a member of the Glen Carbon VFW Post #1299 and Glen Carbon American Legion Post. He was also a member of the St. John United Church of Christ in Collinsville, IL. Memorials may be given to the Glen Carbon VFW Post 1299 and condolences may be expressed at Charlie's family will always hold dear to their hearts the many handwritten letters, mementos shared, and words of love and encouragement that he graciously offered during his life. In honor and memory of Charlie's legacy, remember to write your own handwritten notes to those you love.

Friends may call at Sunset Hill Funeral Home, 50 Fountain Drive, Glen Carbon, IL, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, 2018. A funeral service will follow the visitation at 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will be at a future date at Arlington National Cemetery.




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