LaVerne, Brian, Joy, Judy, Jaime, family and friends of Glenn Schumacher, if there is one thing that I will always remember Glenn for it is his stories – his ability to weave a tale and bring the past to life. How many times do I recall him sitting in the parsonage living room as we were celebrating some event in my children’s life, and he would be holding court – telling his stories and evoking laughter and memory: baseball, life growing up, in the service, travelling, raising his children. One theme, though, that wove itself into his stories was his life at St. Paul’s – and how could it be otherwise?
When he was only a little baby barely two weeks old, his godly parents rushed him to the font in the old St. Paul’s church. You see, they knew that the story of Glenn’s life – left to itself – would only be the sadness of sin and death. They knew that someday he would die and stand before the Judgment Seat of God and they knew that no matter how good a man he would grow up to be, he’d never be able to pass muster on that day of Judgment without the forgiveness and pardon of Jesus Christ, without His perfect righteousness placed upon him as a gift.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” That was how they lived, and so they brought their little child to Jesus and placed him in the Savior’s arms in the waters of Baptism. As old Pastor Hansen trickled the water over his head and said “ich taufe dich im Namen des Vaters und des Sohnes und des Heiligen Geistes. Amen!” Glenn’s life became changed forever. His baptismal certificate reminded him of this. There we read: “In your earliest childhood, you were baptized into the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Through your baptism you are a child of God and an heir of eternal salvation. That entire, full salvation has been given to you. Let it be your lifelong greatest care that you guard this salvation and always remain a child of God.”
Some years later, Glenn stood before this very altar and confessed His faith in the Blessed Trinity. Pastor Hennig laid his hands upon his head and prayed for him to be strengthened in that faith all his days. He read over Glenn a scripture verse: “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.” And then shortly thereafter, Glenn opened his mouth and for the first time into his body was placed the undying Body and Blood of the Son of God, for the forgiveness of all his sins and as Christ’s promise and guarantee to him that death would never be the last chapter in his story. He faithfully received that Sacrament all his days.
As he grew in years, you could find him in God’s house quite often, listening to the words and promises of Jesus. Here he learned that his story was wrapped into a greater story: he learned that he was an object of God’s love from before time began, that though he was a poor, miserable sinner, who deserved nothing but God’s temporal and eternal punishment, his Savior had died on the cross to pardon his sin and had risen from the dead to destroy his death, and had ascended to heaven to prepare a home for him that he would never lose.
Home. You know how much home and family meant to him. Here, before this very altar, he married the lovely LaVerne Schmidt in 1952, and here he and LaVerne did for you what his parents did for him: they brought you to Christ in baptism and here you were taught the faith, and you were enfolded into the Savior’s story too. They wanted above all for you to know that you have a Savior, that He has loved you, died for you, rose again for, and promises you a life that no death can take from you.
As your family grew and took wings, I think he especially came to live for those wonderful moments when he and LaVerne visited you or when you all came home – and always it seems with new members of the family. Inlaws, children, grandchildren. He brightened up so much at the thought of you all being with him. He was positively determined to go out to the farm on his 80th birthday and hoist a beer in celebration with his beloved family.
And in the last weeks that have been so hard on you all, Glenn saw the coming of the end of his earthly pilgrimage. Yes, I know that he was seeing it for years! But he knew the difference in these last weeks. And so his story folded at last completely into the Savior story. He would walk through the valley of the shadow of death. But he would not walk alone. He passed this way with the One who had loved him with an everlasting love, with the One who had come into our flesh and shed his blood to give us a life that never ends. He walked this way with the Lord who promised Glenn together with all believers in His promise that He would bring them home at last.
Borne on eagles wings, or at least the wings of the angels, Glenn closed his eyes on Saturday to this age and his soul was brought into the presence of God, and his body began its peaceful sleep awaiting the day of resurrection. As he passed through this he had but one prayer: “Give me Jesus.”
So today we do not say that Glen’s story is over. Today we say that the prologue has been finished and the real story is just beginning. What tales he will have to tell us when we join him with the saints and angels around the throne singing the praises of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – to whom be glory forever and ever! Amen.
Glenn E. Schumacher, age 80, of Alhambra, died at 11:12 a.m., on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008, at Alhambra Care Center in Alhambra. He was born on Aug. 20, 1928, in Alhambra, the son of the late Fred H. and Rika Brakhane Schumacher. He married LaVerne Esther Schmidt on June 15, 1952, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel. She survives. Along with his wife, he is survived by two daughters: Joy, and husband Robert, Hill of Perryville, Ky. and Judy, and husband Jayson, Krall of Plymoth, Wisc.; two sons: Brian, and wife Kay, Schumacher of LaCrosse, Wisc. and Jamison, and wife Jennifer, Schumacher of Quincy; 10 grandchildren: Rob, and wife Amy, Hill of Perryville, Ky., Sara, and fiancé Mason, Hill of Perryville, Ky., Erin, and husband Henry, Krall-Rotering of New Orleans, La., Zachary Krall of Grafton, Wisc., Rachel Schumacher of Eau Claire, Wisc, Hannah Schumacher of LaCrosse, Wisc., Jacob Schumacher of Quincy, Jayden Schumacher of Quincy, Zoey Schumacher of Quincy and Zayn Schumacher of Quincy; two great grandchildren: Alyssa Hill of Perryville, Ky. and Kaylee Jo Hill of Perryville, Ky.; two sisters: Doris Gusewelle of Alhambra and Melba Helmkamp of Bethalto; two brothers: Harold, and wife Marilyn, Schumacher of Lincoln City, Ore. and Fred, and wife Marg, Schumacher of Mesa, Ariz.; and a sister-in-law: Norma Schumacher of Edwardsville; and a brother-in-law and sister-in-law: Wilbur and Lillian Schmidt of Hamel. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother: Norman Schumacher; a sister: Dorothy Prante; an infant sister: Anita Schumacher; an infant daughter: Janet Schumacher; and three brothers-in-law: Norman Gusewelle, Gilbert Prante and Ralph Helmkamp. Mr. Schumacher was born in Alhambra township. He graduated from Edwardsville High School in 1947. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving from June 24, 1953 to June 30, 1961, in the Korean War and later stationed in Alaska. He was a life long farmer and heavy equipment operator for 35 years. In his younger years, he was an avid sportsman, played basketball, baseball and bowled. Most of all he loved to visit with his children and grandchildren. His memberships included St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel, the American Legion Post No. 1147, in Alhambra, the Madison County Farm Bureau, serving as past director, and former member of the Operating Engineers, Local 520 in Granite City.