WEB EXCLUSIVE COLUMN: A look at one victim’s life

Justin Stine


William Knox Schroeder was an innocent bystander, simply walking from class to class and observing the events and protests on May 4, 1970. He was approximately 390 feet away from the Ohio National Guard when he was shot and killed.

William, or Bill as he was more commonly known, was born on July 20, 1950 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He spent the first few years of his life in a small town called Dillonvale, near Deer Park, Ohio.

In his early childhood, he became interested in fossils and artifacts. As a young boy, his family toured many museums and parks throughout the country. His favorite was Fort Ancient near Lebanon, Ohio. It was here that he found his first authentic arrowhead. This childhood hobby quickly sparked his interest in studying geology.

When Bill was 4 years old, his family moved to Lorain, Ohio. In middle school and high school, he was very active in academics, football, basketball, track, cross-country, Boy Scouts and all sorts of different bands. Soon after turning 13, Bill earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the final and most prestigious rank attainable through the Boy Scouts of America.

In high school, Bill was a member of the Future Teachers of America, the American Field Service and the National Honor Society. During his senior year, he was a teacher’s aide to one of his favorite and most inspirational high school teachers.

According to the principal of Lorain High School at the time, Bill graduated 22 out of a class of 453 students.

Bill held several jobs while growing up. When he was 16, he worked for a catering service and spent a short-lived time working at McDonald’s. He worked for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Elyria at age 17.

During the summer of 1969, he worked at the Ford Motor Assembly plant in Lorain where he was able to purchase his first car. While attending Kent State, Bill worked in a cafeteria on campus, then at McDonald’s and eventually at the International Powdered Metals Company on South Water Street.

During his senior year of high school, Bill became increasingly interested in wars and national violence. At the age of 17, Bill applied for and received an Army ROTC Scholarship.

Upon accepting the scholarship, Bill had the ensuing 10 years of his life planned out. The first four years would be spent in college, the next four on active duty, and the ninth and 10th years as a member of the Army Reserve.

Upon high school graduation, Bill first attended the Colorado School of Mines. After his first semester, the school changed their academic policies and no longer offered a major in geology. He then transferred to Kent State and changed his major to psychology.

Bill received the Academic Achievement Award from both the Colorado School of Mines and from Kent State. He also earned the Association of the United States Army Award for excellence in history.

During his two completed quarters at Kent State, Bill earned a grade point average of 3.28 and was expecting even better grades for the quarter during which the tragedy occurred.

Justin Stine is an electronic media productions major, the treasurer of the May 4 Task Force and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].