Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 30, 2004
Schiller dedicated to Knights, journalism
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Gregory Schiller, a man known as much for his keen wit as for his deep devotion to the Church, died Aug. 1 at the age of 87.
Mr. Schiller was an editor of the now-defunct Western Catholic, along with the late Msgr. Bert O'Brien, in the 1950s and '60s and served as acting editor of the Western Catholic Reporter twice in the late 1980s.
He was a long-time active member of the Knights of Columbus and lived his life to ensure God, family and service were placed well ahead of anything he might want for himself.
Fred Prather, former grand knight of St. Nicholas Council 8314, met Mr. Schiller more than 40 years ago.
"I was young, single and working in construction and I needed to find a new place to live," Prather said. "I read an ad in a newspaper looking for a young, Catholic gentleman for room and board. I met Greg and his mom and I explained I was not Catholic but I was attending Mass, poking around the edges of the Catholic Church. I told them I planned on taking the lessons to join the faith," he said.
Mr. Schiller lived with his mother until she died. He was the eldest of nine children and his father died when he was 15. He took it upon himself to find tenants to help his mother with a little bit of income every month.
"Well, I got the apartment. There was another young Catholic man living there," Prather said. "Eventually, I converted and was baptized into the Church. Greg was my sponsor for Confirmation into the faith.
"Greg was so close to his mother. He guarded her like she was the Blessed Virgin herself. He was constantly devoted to helping people."
There was a humorous side to Mr. Schiller that endeared him to whomever he met. He attended seven years at St. Joseph Seminary and was on the verge of ordination until he decided to serve in a secular manner.
He always maintained his religious beliefs, however, and he was rarely hesitant to express his opinion concerning the state of the Church, whether verbally or with the pen.
Mr. Schiller was involved at St. Andrew Parish, mainly as an usher. He was instrumental in developing St. Andrew Centre.
Lyle Lavender met Mr. Schiller as a parishioner at St. Andrew's in the mid-1960s.
"Greg, myself and a couple of other knights started working on the St. Andrew's Centre. We worked with the parish to build the seniors' complex. Greg was a great guy. He was a stalwart of the Church," Lavender said of his old friend.
Jules Lacoursiere, former supreme director of the Knights of Columbus, regarded Mr. Schiller as an intellectual who often tried to hide it. He was instrumental in keeping in mind the protocol of the Knights of Columbus.
"Greg assisted me greatly when I was state deputy of the Knights (1989-1991). He did a lot of my correspondence and kept my files up to date. He was an excellent writer, journalist and motivator," Lacoursiere said.
"Greg served as editor of the Knights' Report, adding to the dignity of the Knights, always concerned about the religious services and ceremonies.
"I feel that Greg's influence helped keep me abreast of my responsibilities as a knight."
Prather said whenever he met Mr. Schiller, the conversation easily picked up from where they had left it.
"Greg could not be helpful enough for any person," he said. "The last time I visited him was about two weeks before he died. He was still concerned if he had done enough to help people and if he had done enough to look after his family. I told him he carried a big load for a long time and very well. The Good Lord has it all marked down."