Hometown

Schroeder leaves a lasting legacy at A&M and Lockhart

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By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

Bill Schroeder, one of a trio of Lockhart players on the famous Texas A&M football squad known as “The Junction Boys,” passed away on June 15. He was 89.

All three Lockhart men on the 1952 Texas A&M team — Schroeder, Norbert “Dutch” Ohlendorf, and Dee Powell – are now deceased.

William H. “Bill” Schroeder passed away in San Antonio after living in Lockhart much of his life. He was born in 1934 to William H. Schroeder Sr. and Margaret Schreiber Schroeder, and graduated from Lockhart High School in 1952.

After receiving a scholarship from Texas A&M, Schroeder and other Aggies played for Head Coach Ray George until a new coach arrived. George’s last two seasons at College Station resulted in losing seasons — 3-6-1 in 1952 and 4-5-1 1953.

Paul William “Bear” Bryant was hired as the new coach, and in August 1954 the Aggies departed College Station with almost 100 players on two buses for a training camp in Junction. It would return after 10 practices in what was described as “hell” by some players. Only 35 players returned on just one half-empty bus. Each player that returned is listed on the last page of Jim Dent’s book “The Junction Boys” as “The Survivors.”

A&M went just 1-9 in 1954, but would go 7-2-1 in 1955, 9-0-1 in 1956, and 8-3 in 1957 before Bryant left to coach for his alma mater at Alabama. Bryant, who would win six national championships at Alabama, said the 1954 Texas A&M team was his favorite.

Bryant passed away in 1983. Schroeder attended his tough coach’s funeral.

“He liked Coach Bryant,” said Schroeder’s longtime Lockhart neighbor, Brad Westmoreland. “Bryant just weeded out the people that didn’t want to be a part of the program.”

Schroeder was listed as a 6-1, 200-pound senior tackle on the 1954 squad. Ohlendorf was a 6-3, 200-pound senior tackle, and Powell was a 6-1, 210-pound senior tackle.

Schroeder suffered a near catastrophic stroke while at Junction but was saved by the team trainer.

Schroeder’s end of playing football came when he suffered lingering effects from the heat stroke. He was later commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. After his military commitment was completed, he enrolled in the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence degree in 1963.

Schroeder’s first job was working for Jake Pickle’s initial campaign for Congress. While there, he met Kay, and they were married in 1965, moving back to Lockhart where he opened his law practice that he operated for 50 years. They also owned the Caldwell County Abstract Company for 39 years.

Among his numerous accolades and service was being named Lockhart’s Most Worthy Citizen in 1990 by the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce.

Schroeder is survived by his wife, Kay, of 58 years, as well as his daughter, Mari-Margaret, his son, Trey Schroeder, and three granddaughters.

Pallbearers at Friday’s 2 p.m. funeral service at the First United Methodist Church of Lockhart will be Westmoreland and Jeffry Michelson of Lockhart, Judge Chris Schneider and Lawrence Tilton from Lockhart, Winn Schroeder, Mike Canion, Patrick Squire, and Chris Dailey.

Westmoreland said he was Schroeder’s neighbor for about 35 years. In 2002, a bunch of friends gathered to watch the film, “The Junction Boys,” at Michelson’s house with Schroeder among them.

“Bill remembered quite a bit; of course, he didn’t remember some of it because he was out in some of it (with the stroke),” Westmoreland said. “We had a watch party at Jeffry’s house. After it ended, we asked him it was accurate and he said, ‘pretty much.’ He was good with the book, too.

“Bill was still practicing law here when Jim Dent did the book, and I remember Dent spending hour after hour in there to get info.”

Westmoreland said Schroeder was still a legend several decades after his playing days at A&M.

“We would tailgate at Texas A&M, and someone would come by and find out who he was, and it was like celebrity central,” Westmoreland said. “They just had to talk to him.”

A visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, at McCurdy Funeral Home in Lockhart. A graveside service will follow the funeral at Lockhart City Cemetery.

Among other Junction Boys were Gene Stallings of Paris, Texas, and the late Jack Pardee of Christoval, both became head coaches at the college and professional level.

Ohlendorf passed away on March 11, 2020. Powell died on July 12, 2021.

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