Schroders celebrate 50 years

Hannah Gross

Submitted photo

Frank and Lynnda are celebrating 50 years of marriage this year. They enjoy spending time together, and they’ve been able to do more of that when Frank retired in 2017.

Hannah Gross

NLJ Correspondent 


This is a year of celebration for Frank and Lynnda Schroder of Gillette because on June 21, they will be celebrating Fathers’ Day, their daughter’s 45th birthday and 50 years of marriage, all on the same day. 

Lynnda was still in high school when she first met her husband over 50 years ago. She was a waitress at the Flying V, and a mutual friend, Pam (Fulk) Wesley, introduced Lynnda to Frank, who had just returned from the Vietnam War. 

“I liked what I saw,” Frank said.

Because Vietnam soldiers weren’t “well thought of in those days,” according to Frank, most of them avoided mentioning it. But not Frank—he proudly made it known. 

“It was not love at first sight,” Lynnda said, adding that it all worked out in the end because here they are 50 years later. 

After dating for a year, Frank popped the question and they were married a month after Lynnda graduated from Newcastle High School in 1970 in the Methodist church. 

Lynnda recalled, with a laugh, their premarital counseling sessions six weeks before the ceremony. The pastor asked them what qualities they appreciated most in each other, and after taking some time to think and reflect, they answered. 

However, when he asked what qualities they disliked most about each other, Lynnda was quick to respond with “lack of self-confidence,” to which the pastor said, “That didn’t take very long.” 

“She had to be pretty tough to put up with me for 50 years,” Frank said. 

After the wedding, Frank (who had graduated from Custer High School in 1964) moved to Newcastle, where they started their family. They have two
daughters, Penny and Rosey, who was born on their fifth anniversary (which happened to be Fathers’ Day that year). Frank said that Lynnda was
also born on her parents’ fifth
anniversary, so Rosey was just continuing the tradition. 

Frank worked at Updike Brother’s Oil Co. for 23 years, and Lynnda stayed home to be a wife and mother. When her daughters were old enough to be in school, she worked as a clerk for Crum’s Department store, assistant cook at the senior center and helped out with child care. 

Later, Frank and Lynnda started their own auto-repair shop called F&L, but that only lasted a year because they decided to move to Gillette in 2002 to be closer to their grandkids. Frank was a mechanic for the bus barn and Campbell County School District before retiring on Sept. 30, 2017.

When he decided to retire, Frank said, many people warned him that it can be hard to be home all that time without getting under each other’s skin. But he wasn’t worried, he said, and he’s enjoyed the extra time together. 

“We’ve always done everything together,” Lynnda said. 

They spend their time fishing, doing puzzles and gardening. They both enjoy the great outdoors and have spent many of their years of marriage hunting together. Lynnda said they were probably one of the first husband-and-wife hunting pairs in Weston County. 

“I love to be out with them and still see them walking together and holding hands. They have taught me to love the Lord, love your family and friends, be honest and loyal,” Penny said. 

While not everything is rainbows and roses, marriage has taught them the importance of patience, communication and honesty in a relationship, and their strengths and weaknesses balance each other out, they said. Lynnda added that “religion has been a very strong point in our marriage.”

“If one of us was down, the other was up,” Frank said. “She’s my right hand.” 

Lynnda appreciates Frank’s sense of humor and fidelity and said he’s a good listener.

“He does have patience because I run a mighty short fuse sometimes,” Lynnda said.

Penny said that watching her parents has taught her what it means to love and forgive unconditionally. 

“I most admire the fact that they are always each other’s biggest champion. They love one another and even in the tough times that has shown through,” Penny said.

Penny has fond memories growing up of vacationing in the mountains, visiting relatives in South Dakota, moose hunting, sledding and playing board games. Penny said that no matter what they are doing, even if it’s nothing, she enjoys just spending time with her parents. 

One of her favorite memories with her family, she said, was going out to pick a Christmas tree every year and decorating it. They would bake and decorate sugar cookies together in the kitchen afterward, while watching Rankin/Bass TV shows in black and white. 

Rosey is now married to Seth Barbour, and they have three grown kids, Taylor, Josi and Lane. Penny, Taylor and Josi all live in Gillette, and the Schroders have enjoyed transitioning from parents to grandparents. 

“Oh, you have a whole lot more patience with your grandkids than you do your kids,” Lynnda said. 

“I really loved watching them with my niece and nephews when they were growing up and would stay with them. They got into all kinds of adventures,” Penny said. 

She recalled her fishing adventures with her father as a child, who instructed his daughters and wife to crouch down and walk quietly toward the bank, getting as close as possible without making noise. 

“The four of us looked a little goofy, but he told us it was so we didn’t scare the fish away. With the grandkids, there was none of that. They walked out laughing, telling jokes and being fairly loud.
But both times it was always joyful,” Penny said. 

In spite of the pandemic, the daughters still decided to celebrate their parents’ anniversary with a card shower. Lynnda said it’s been fun, and they’ve already seen the cards coming in.

“When facing hard times, you just have to do your best to work through whatever you are facing and not forget that doing it together is what will lead to triumph,” Penny said, noting it was something her parents demonstrated to her. 

“The good Lord has just blessed us in so many ways,” Lynnda said. 


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