August 20, 1906 - May 18, 2008
If any man serve me, let him follow me;
A Celebration of the Life of
Otto Frederick Schoerner
Windsor Park Manor
May 27, 2008 at 7:00 P.M.
Born August 20, 1906 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, to Herman and Magdalene Schoerner, he died Sunday May 18, 2008 at Windsor's Johnson Healthcare Center. He was 101.
As a young man, he worked as a confectioner in the family bakery business, but then answered God's call to be a missionary to China. After attending Moody Bible Institute, he applied to the China Inland Mission in 1931 to become a missionary and arrived in Shanghai later that year. After several months of language school he set off with five other young missionaries to the northwest Xinjiang Province, a trip across the Gobi Desert of two months and nearly 1800 miles in two Ford trucks. For six years he did pioneer work, preaching, church planting in which much travel was done by horseback. In 1938 he traveled to Shanghai to marry Katharine Dodd. At that time due to the political situation, the direct route to Shanghai was closed so he had to travel South to Kashgar and across the Himalayan Mountains into India on horseback. Then he traveled by boat from Calcutta to Shanghai. The entire journey took six months. The couple returned to China in 1940 after a furlough in the United States, and spent a summer in Lin Ming and then moved on to the community of Huangchuan in the province of Henan where he worked with the Chinese elders of the local churches. Eventually, the Schoerner family had to flee from Japanese military advance and were moved to a new station - Lanzhou in the province of Gansu. He there became the business manager of the nearby Borden Memorial Hospital. The family stayed in Gansu until 1947 when they again returned to the United States on furlough. While in the U.S., he studied at Wheaton College. In 1948, the family went back to China and the Borden Memorial Hospital. He continued to serve as business manager, and for a time, as superintendent until 1951 when growing hostility between the United States and the new Communist regime of the People's Republic of China caused the China Inland Mission to summon all of its missionaries out of the country. He settled in Chicago with his family and joined the staff of Moody Bible Institute and worked as Moody Alumni Placement Director, then the Assistant to the Director of Stewardship and also an instructor in the Moody Correspondence School. After his retirement in 1972, he again traveled around the world visiting missionaries, his parents’ home in Germany, and the Holy Land. In 1993 he moved to Windsor Park Manor in Carol Stream. He was a member of Bethany Chapel in Wheaton.
Otto’s life verse from the Bible was John 12:26: If any man serve me, let him follow me; And where I am there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.
He is survived by his children, James (Penny) Schoerner of Oak Lawn, Illinois, Anna (John) Loss of Prescott, Arizona and William Schoerner of Prescott, Arizona; granddaughters Karin Candelaria, Kathryn Schoerner of Chicago, and grandson Joel (Anne) Schoerner of Wheaton. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Katharine, sister, Elsie, brother, William; and sons Benjamin and David.