July 25, 1945 - December 16, 2021
Funeral services for Stanley Dean Schroeder will be 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at the Freedom School Auditorium with Rev. Todd Finley officiating. Interment will be in the Freedom Cemetery under the direction of Marshall Funeral Home of Alva. Stanley Dean Schroeder, son of the late Tommie Carl and Mabelle Frances (Strong) Schroeder, was born July 25, 1945, in Freedom, Oklahoma, and passed away December 16, 2021, at his home on the farm in Woods County, Oklahoma, at the age of 76 years, 4 months, and 21 days. After Stanley graduated from Freedom School, he attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University. On May 7, 1966, he was united in marriage to Sandra Jean Brown at the Sacred Heart Church in Alva. On June 16, 1966, he enlisted in the Air Force and proudly served until his honorable discharge on April 16, 1970. He farmed and ranched in Woods County all of his life, but music was his heart and soul. It was his Dad, Tom Schroeder, who placed an acoustic guitar in his son’s hands at the age of 4 and it was Bob Wills’ music he learned to play. When he was only 5 years old, he was already entertaining at the local grade schools. Two years later, at the age of 7, polio took Stan off the stage, but even that could not stop his gift of music. His parents propped up a new steel guitar on his bed and he learned to play that instrument while recuperating. Several months later, Stan was playing that steel guitar at shows and dances in a three-state region. At the young age of 8, he had his own band. The Cimarron Serenaders were frequent guests on area radio and television shows, playing with known performers Wanda Jackson and Merle Lindsey. Stanley remembers meeting another country music star during an appearance on the Jack Beasley Show on WKY television in Oklahoma City when he was 8. “Lefty Frizzell carried me out and sat me on a stool to play the steel guitar," Stanley said. "He was a guest on the show that day." Music remained a big part of Stan’s life as he grew. He didn't always play western swing, but Stan said he has carried its influence throughout his career. In high school, Stan switched from guitar to saxophone. "I never knew how to read music," he said. "I'd listen to what they were playing, and then I could play it." He taught himself to play a saxophone his sister, Betty, had brought home for school band practice. "We'd come in from the field, and I'd sit in there and play the horn instead of eat," Stan said. At the age 15 he would drive himself to Woodward to play his saxophone at the Petroleum Club. A few years later, he would be playing the saxophone so he could afford to eat. While attending college at NWOSU in Alva, he met the second love of his life, Sandy Brown. Typically, it reads the first love of your life, but we all know that in Stan’s case music was truly his first love. Stan and Sandy were married on May 7, 1966, and shortly after marrying his beautiful bride, he joined the Air Force where he served for four years. While serving, his role was in computer programming where he actually received an award for getting the highest score in the training program that had been recorded up to that date. Stan kept his music career alive, though, as he played at officers’ clubs and area dances to supplement his Air Force salary. Ironically, Stan had planned to give up music. He had not even told his new bride it was a part of his life. But then the bills came, along with opportunities to perform. His base salary was $78 a month and his rent was $80, so playing the saxophone was necessary to eat. Stan and Sandy soon began their family, Sheri was born in Georgia in 1967 and Tommy was born in 1969. It was then that Schroeder really got a taste of a musician's life. Seven nights a week on stage, in an atmosphere permeated by drugs and alcohol. It strained a young marriage and made Stan determined it was a path his children wouldn't follow. In later years, though, Stan recalled, "I didn't teach them (music) like my dad taught me. I wish I had taught them now." In 1970, Stan was honorably discharged from the Air Force and moved his young family back to his roots in Freedom, Oklahoma. After many job offers from various banks interested in his computer programming skills, he instead decided the best place for raising his family would be back in Freedom where he was born and raised. So farming and cattle ranching became his livelihood. Stan and Sandy were blessed with two more children, Randy was born in 1973 and Crystal was born in 1977. Life wasn’t always easy in farming and ranching, so Stan once again found that his musical talents could help, not only provide extra income for his family, but also continue his deep love and passion for his God-given gift. He success as a young musician continued on throughout his entire life. He helped keep Western Swing alive by playing in many bands over the years. His children grew up and loved traveling to various towns in neighboring states to watch him perform in street dances. One of the family’s favorite memories was being a part of concerts at the Schroeder Ranch. Country and Western superstars like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Paycheck, Mo Bandy, Juice Newton, Eddie Raven, and Hank Williams Jr., to name a few, performed live at the Schroeder Ranch near the Salt Plains. It drew crowds of over 5,000 which was quite impressive for a little town in Freedom with a population of 300. Stan has far too many musical successes to mention them all, but some of the highlights are that he has opened for George Jones and Ray Price, traveled to Bosnia with Eddie McElvain’s Maverick Western Swing Band where they entertained the American troops, performed at the Senior National Finals Rodeo in Amarillo, Texas, played every year at Bob Wills Day in Turkey, Texas with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. But one of his most prestigious accomplishments is that he has been inducted into the Country Music Western Swing Hall of Fame multiple times who is one of several Oklahomans to have been honored. His Hall of Fame plaque is hung alongside other well-known musicians such as Merle Haggard, Bob Wills, Hank Thompson, and Mel Tillis, not to mention Woodward’s own, Don House and Ron Hohweiler, and Higgins, Texas swing fiddle player, Frankie McWhorter, to name a few. Stan’s saxophone wasn’t always on the road… playing in local venues often time made him the happiest. He truly loved the impact his music made on others. Stan was blessed to fulfill his dreams of leading a life of adventure that all began growing up on his grandfather’s homestead beside the salt flats of the Cimarron River. He blessed so many all around the world with his God-given talent that touched so many lives. Anyone that knew Stan, knew that he was one of the good ones or one-of-a-kind. He was a treasure. He had the sweetest, kindest, biggest heart and was honored to have given anyone the shirt off his back to help anyone in need. He truly never met a stranger. Family and friends made his world go round. After 55 years of marriage, Stan and Sandy grew to enjoy each other and reconnect and rediscovered their true love for each other in the last couple of years. The last thing he said to Sandy was “I love you”. He loved his children deeply. And would do anything for them. He maybe even loved his grandkids more! He loved fishing, feeding cattle, playing games with them and watching their ball games. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by one son, Tommy Schroeder in 1996, one infant grandson, Lane in 2014, two infant granddaughters, Haven in 2016 and Ava in 2017, and one sister, Evelyn Annette in 1997. Stanley is survived by his wife, Sandy, of Freedom, two daughters, Sheri McCurry and husband, Joe, of Castle Pines, Colorado, Crystal Mills and husband, Denny, of Arcadia, Oklahoma; one son, Randy Schroeder of Woodward, Oklahoma, and five grandchildren, Cameron and Kyle McCurry and Cole, Jace, and Ella Mills. He is also survived by two sisters, Carlene Culver and husband, Ron, of Wichita, Kansas, Betty Bliss of Wichita, Kansas; one brother, Dennis Schroeder and wife, Michelle, of Freedom, Oklahoma, as well as many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends. Memorial contributions may be made through the funeral home to the Freedom Fire and Ambulance, PO Box 173, Freedom, Oklahoma 73842.
Funeral services for Stanley Dean Schroeder will be 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at the Freedom School Auditorium with Rev. Todd Finley officiating. Interment will be in the Freedom Cemetery under the direction of Marshall Funeral... View Obituary & Service Information
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