Meet…Pep and Gerry

Pep and Gerry Schroeder, married for 75 years on Saturday, January 1, 2022.

Enterprise People Profile

Erie “Pep” Schroeder remembers the day well — he had only recently returned home from the Navy ship that he had served on during World War II. It was his first time again in civilian clothes. With his bow-tie on, he ventured down to a local restaurant.
Gerry, just 17 at the time, happened to be at that little hometown restaurant in downtown Elkton, too. She was there with two friends. She liked his bow-tie.
He held the door for her and they talked for a brief moment. The rest is history.
“I’m not sure why she stuck with me for these 75 years but I think she was bound and determined to get rid of every bad habit that I had,” Pep said this past week, smiling as he spoke about their first encounter.  
“No,” replied Gerry. “It was because I was bound and determined to show my mother that I did pick the right one, because she didn’t think this was a good idea.”
She laughed as she looked lovingly at her husband. The two, when we found them, were once again sitting at the lone table in the front window of the Flandreau Bakery and Coffee Bar, like they’ve done for years. Every morning and nearly every afternoon, you could find them there. Back to how this all started…
It didn’t take long after that initial conversation that the two were married. January 1, 1947, to be exact. Pep was trying to get to Iowa to start a new life and a new job. A comrade’s father had just the position for him, it meant though that he had to move.
He was slated to leave the first of the year. On January 1, 1947, Gerry was in Sioux Falls and Pep had driven to see her.
Since the snow began flying something fierce and Pep said no one that day was going anywhere, they decided to get married and went to a Lutheran church parsonage where the ceremony was performed.
“We’ll have her 93rd birthday on the 27th of this month (Tuesday, Dec. 27). I’ve been blessed with 97 good years. And 75 years together is a gift from God.”
“He’s been very good to Mother and I,” said Pep.
Years later and after a long career with the phone company, Pep and Gerry returned home to the Elkton and Flandreau area to celebrate all the good Lord has provided them, including their children and grandkids, and retire. They lived for decades along the Big Sioux River north of town. Recently, the couple moved into Flandreau to be closer to care should they need it.
“God has a plan for me. All I’ve got to do is listen and it’ll work out okay,” said Pep.
After 75 years, reminiscing about what attracted them to each other and what’s kept their love alive, Pep said that he “just knew” and he loves everything about her. It sincerely is evident if you get a chance to see them together. For Gerry…she said at first, it was the bowtie. But she really adores Pep and how he is always helping others.
“Seventy-five years of marriage,” said Pep. “That’s a lot of years.”
“Don’t let marriage go out of style.”

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