Gilbert Leroy Schroerlucke

Date of Death: January 04, 2021

Gilbert Leroy Schroerlucke, 97, of Louisville, died at home on January 4, 2021, surrounded by family.

He was born on December 11, 1923, in Jefferson County, Kentucky, to John and Etta Schroerlucke. Gilbert grew up on a farm along with six siblings. He graduated from Valley High School in 1942, where he played football and basketball. The following year, at the age of 19, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served during World War II under General Patton in the 104th Evacuation Hospital in France and Germany, just behind the front line of the Normandy Invasion. He was awarded the Bronze Star in recognition for his “untiring devotion to duty.”

With the help of the GI Bill, Gilbert attended Kentucky Wesleyan College. There, he met and married his soulmate, Bettye Everley, in 1948, and together they raised five children. For 70 years, Bettye stood by his side, supporting Gilbert until her death in 2019.

After graduating with a seminary degree and a Master of Theology from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta in 1953, Gilbert began his 32-year career with the Louisville Conference of the United Methodist Church. During his career, he served five congregations in Louisville, Cadiz and Irvington. Gilbert was recognized for leadership in the areas of Christian adult education, urban ministry, innovation in worship and leading congregations to a broader understanding of social justice.

At his core, “Rev,” as he was later called, was a staunch advocate in many social justice movements: civil rights, LGBTQ rights, women’s equality and reproductive freedom. Gilbert was a courageous, dedicated, and faithful follower of the radical social gospel of Jesus. For Gilbert, faith and action were inseparable, rooted in Agape love.

In retirement, Gilbert and Bettye found a church home at Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church in downtown Louisville. He continued his faith in action as a Sunday school leader, a pianist, handyman, and a volunteer with the Open Door Ministry, providing daily meals for people in need.

Gilbert was a creative and fun-loving person with hobbies that included playing piano and accordion, composing hymns, woodworking, fishing, and gardening. He was also a handyman and could fix anything, or at least try. He could play a mean game of croquet, and was an avid fan of the Louisville Cardinals. He loved family get-togethers and group sing-alongs.

In 2008, Gilbert wrote a memoir, "I Did What I Could," and designated that all proceeds support the Open
Door ministries.

Gilbert touched the lives of all who knew him. His loving nature, humor and gentle strength will be missed by all.

He will be remembered by his children: Keith Schroerlucke (Sandra) of Madison, Wisconsin; Kaye McSpadden (Bruce) of Indianapolis, and in Louisville, Kathy Schroerlucke, Kim Schroerlucke (Jeanne Thompson), and Kelly Schroerlucke (Keith Lucas). He loved and cherished his 9 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bettye, one grandchild, one brother, and five sisters.