SCHILDER THOMAS J. SCHILDER (Age 85) Of McLean, Virginia, a retired contracting officer with the C.I.A. for 25 years, died on June 23, 2014 after suffering a stroke. Mr. Schilder joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1968, after spending the first 17 years of his government career with the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, VA. He retired in 1993. Mr. Schilder was born in Washington D.C. and spent the early years of his life in the Burlieth neighborhood of Northwest Washington. His father, L. Clark Schilder, was in charge of the Identification Department at the F.B.I. Mr. Schilder would recall F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover coming over to his house on 38th street for dinner or to listen to fights on the radio with his father. As a young boy, he attended Linton Hall Academy in Gainesville, Virginia. He would "tag along," in his words, with a priest at Linton Hall who loved to search the Manassas battle field for Civil War artifacts. This experience helped shape his own interest and passion for Civil War history which would last the remainder of his life. In the late 1930's Mr. Schilder's father left the F.B.I. and went to work for the Bureau of Federal Prisons. Mr. Schilder and his brother accompanied his father on an extended training assignment on Terminal Island and Alcatraz. He enjoyed reminiscing about those days as an interesting "education" as he was introduced to infamous inmate Al Capone and other notorious criminals of the era. He also enjoyed taking the ferry with his brother to San Francisco to explore life away from the island. In 1940, after his father's training assignment, the family moved to El Reno, Oklahoma, where his father was assigned as warden of the federal reformatory there. It was here that Mr. Schilder developed a love for the American West, the history of Native American Indians, and the hardships that were endured as America expanded west of the Mississippi. He loved to read books on this time in America's past in addition to his interest in the Civil War. After graduating from high school in Oklahoma, he attended college at University of Notre Dame and graduated with a degree in Sociology in 1949. After departing Notre Dame, he returned to Washington, D.C. to attend law school at Georgetown University and would spend the remainder of his life in the D.C. area. Several years after earning his law degree from Georgetown and the beginning of his Federal career with the Office of Naval Research, Mr. Schilder met the love of his life, Virginia Tindall of Hatton, Virginia (now Scottsville, Virginia). She was a teacher when they met and later became principal of Walter Reed Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia. They were married in 1960. Mr. Schilder left the Office of Naval Research in 1968 and began his career as a Contracting Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. He was extremely proud of his agency career, particularly his support to C.I.A. Science and Technology Directorate. His awards include the Career Intelligence Medal. Mr. Schilder loved spending time at his second home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, with his family and friends and lamenting over the current state of his beloved Fighting Irish football team. He has passed on his love of history and the beauty of the beach to his son and grandchildren. Survivors his wife of 53 years, Virginia, his son Thomas Jr., (Dorothy), and his grandchildren Virginia Lee and Thomas Schilder III. Burial was private at request of the family. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Civil War Preservation Trust, 1140 Professional Ct., Hagerstown, MD 21740. Thacker Brothers Scottsville Funeral Home handled arrangements. Family and friends may share memories and photos at www.thackerbrothers.com
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Published in The Washington Post on June 26, 2014