Henry Schroeder was a living legend in the American Turners to the extent that the organization posthumously established a Henry Schroeder Memorial Award in his memory. The Turner organization recognized Henry Schroeder as being regarded by several generations of N.Y. Turners as the foremost influence in living their lives according to the Turner the principle of “The Sound Mind In The Sound Body.”
Henry Schroeder was born a Turner in Germany, and his mother had a set of parallel bars built in the yard for Henry to practice on just to keep him happy. When Henry came to the United States, he joined the Schenectady Turn Verein in 1930. He immediately enrolled in the Turner Normal College and graduated with honors. He then joined the Brooklyn Turners as a Turn Lehrer (leader). In 1936 Turn Lehrer Chris Wuest of the N.Y. Turn Verein retired. Henry requested the position and was appointed to the position on a trial basis. Thirty-Four years later Henry was still the N.Y. Turn Verein Turn Lehrer and had never signed a contract. Military Service: During WWII Henry served his adopted country as a 1st Sergeant and saw action in Italy in the siege of Casino, against his former countrymen. After the war he resumed his duties as Turn Lehrer at the N.Y. Turn Verein. Honors: Recipient of a 40-year American Turners Honorary Gold Membership Card; Received the American Turners Turner Key for 25 years of meritorious service, (1969). Judge: Over the years, Schroeder participated in the local Judges Association judging local, state, and regional competitions. The highlight of his judging experience occurred when he was chosen to judge at the Olympic Games, London, England, (1948). Coach/Instructer: In an American Turner Newsletter, (1971), it was written, “What Henry Schroeder could teach in an afternoon, would be useful for a lifetime.” General: Henry married Gretchen Wuest, daughter of Chris Wuest, as legend would have it, (1948). The N.Y. Turn Verein was a gymnastics powerhouse from the 1900’s to the 1940’s winning the AAU National Team Championship, (1921, ’23, ‘24, & ’27. Henry Schroeder contributed greatly to the successes of the NYTV. Henry’s most outstanding gymnast was undoubtedly Frederick Meyer who was reportedly a member of the 1932 Men’s Olympic Gymnastic Team-Silver, Los Angeles, California-USA, (1932); Team member, Berlin, Germany, (1936); however, the official USA Olympic Committee results do not confirm this. Olympic Team, member, Olympic Team, Berlin, Germany, (1936), and he was the American AAU National Champion, AA, V, & PB, (1935) and won Gold-FX, (1936).
Sources: Data and Schroeder’s life in the Turner organization plus the photo courtesy of Jerry Wright, author or Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005. Be on the lookout for his new book due to be published in 2010. Quotes and additional information courtesy of archived American Turners Newsletter, “Turner Topics” dated 11/12-1997 and the American Turners Newsletter, “TurnerTopics”, dated 1971. Meyer information obtained from public domain sources.