by Judy Williams
With a heavy heart, community members said a final farewell to Mark Schroeder in a memorial service held at the Unadilla Township Fire Station on Sunday, March 28. He had always considered the station his true home.
“The department became his family,” said a somber Linda Topping, Unadilla Township clerk. “He saw the department through many changes through the years with constantly new training and regulations. I truly feel that when he became sick and could no longer serve, he was so sad that he kind of gave up.”
The Unadilla Township Fire Department (UTFD) opened its doors at noon for two hours of visitation to allow the community to pay its last respects to Schroeder.
A memorial service, conducted by Pastor Dan Miller from the Gregory Community Church, followed at 2 p.m.
Many tears were shed, as Schroeder’s ashes were carried to UTFD Engine 761 for his last ride to the Plainfield Cemetery. Included in the procession were many vehicles and emergency response apparatus from Livingston and Ingham counties.
Schroeder, a lifelong resident of Unadilla Township, joined the Unadilla Township Fire Department in 1983, and he was appointed UTFD fire chief in 2001. Because of his commitment to the community, Schroeder always worked in the area, only taking jobs that would allow him to leave if there was an emergency.
Schroeder’s health problems started two years ago and forced him to retire on Feb. 1, 2020. For 37 years, he was Roster No. 9, on call in good weather and bad, in the dead of night or day, to fight fires or make lifesaving medical runs. His dedication to the community as a volunteer firefighter made the residents of Unadilla Township safer.
“Mark Schroeder dedicated his life to our fire department,” said Linda Walker, Unadilla Township supervisor. Walker continued, “I hope he knew how much we’ve appreciated his service to the community.”
The UTFD and Schroeder’s family wish to thank everyone for the prayers and support they provided Schroeder over the past two years.