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Dorothy M. Schrader

Dorothy M. Schrader Obituary
Dorothy Marie Schrader, Burke, Va., passed away Tuesday evening at Fairfax Hospital after a remarkable life.

She was born in West Brunswick Township, July 22, 1938. She was the seventh generation descendant of Johan Jacob Shreter who arrived in Philadelphia, America in October 1752 on the ship Forest out of Hamburg, Germany. Her parents were Robert Louis Schrader, a farmer and truck driver, and Florence May Yeich, a housewife. She was the third of her parents' four children, having an older sister, Marguerite, and an older brother, Floyd, as well as a younger brother, Gerald.

She was a very responsible child. When her father died prematurely in March 1946 (at the age of 38) and her widowed mother had to seek employment to support four children, it was Dorothy, not yet 8, rather than her two older siblings, who was put in charge of her toddler brother. For the next several years, it was her duty to pick him up at the baby sitter after school and take care of him until her mother got home from her job. She was also his baby sitter and companion every summer. It was she who taught him to play baseball and shared with him her love of board games, quiz games, pinochle and baseball. Throughout her life she was a fervent supporter of the New York Yankees.

Dorothy was a dutiful child and saw the distress her mother was in once widowed. Dorothy vowed never to cause her mother any worries. She remained a loving and generous daughter throughout her mother's life, driving home to Auburn monthly to maintain their relationship.

As she grew up, she became an accomplished pianist and violinist and sang in both the junior and senior choirs of her family's church, Zion's Reformed Church, Orwigsburg.

She graduated from Auburn High School in 1956, a member of a graduating class with only 13 students. Dorothy was an outstanding athlete as exemplified at both her high school and at USC. On the USC girls basketball team, she averaged 48 points per game.

She was admitted to the University of Southern California and moved on her own to the west coast. Having no scholarship, and with a mother who never earned more than a pittance above the minimum wage, she paid for her education by working at two jobs during the school year: as an au pair for a family and selling advertising for the Los Angeles Times.

Despite those demands on her time, she was the recipient of the Emma Bovard Award, bestowed annually on the female graduating senior with the highest accumulative grade point average. She graduated summa cum laude in 1960 and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

She then attended Harvard Law School where she was a classmate of future Attorney General Janet Reno. Dorothy graduated with her J.D. in 1963.

It was while at Harvard Law that her interest in pursuing a career in opera blossomed. As a law student, Dorothy overcame her fear of performing as a soloist. After starting her employment as an attorney with the Library of Congress Copyright Office, she began taking voice lessons, first at George Washington University and later in New York City. In New York she was a private student of the great operatic contralto Karin Branzell, who had starred with the Metropolitan Opera Company from 1924 to 1944 and thereafter taught voice at the Juilliard School. Dorothy was encouraged by Branzell, who recognized that her student had one of the great contralto voices in the world.

Sadly, her mentor died suddenly before Dorothy's voice studies were concluded. After two frustrating years with a new voice teacher, Dorothy decided to attempt a career change. Despite having no letters of introduction to the European opera directors, she quit her job at the Copyright Office in August 1976 and moved to Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Her professional singing experience in Europe was in the role of Tevye's wife, Golde, in a production of "Fiddler on the Roof."

After 2 1/2 years, she returned to America and her employment with the Library of Congress.

Dorothy had a distinguished career with the Library of Congress, working there from 1963-1976 and 1979-2000. She was recognized throughout the world as a leading expert in United States and International copyright law. Her supervisory position brought many joys - one of them being world travel. During her tenure as General Counsel of the Copyright Office, she represented the U.S. in numerous international copyright conferences, including the negotiations to join various International Copyright Conventions. This position required her to make numerous trips to Zurich, Geneva, Rome, Paris, Brussels, Peking and Moscow. Upon her return she was a guest speaker at various ABA conventions held in London, Las Vegas, Acapulco and Rio de Janeiro. She would brief copyright attorneys in the private sector about the recent developments in the international negotiations. She also testified as an expert witness on copyright law in a trial in Bangkok, Thailand.

She was a member of the Bars of the District of Columbia, the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. From 1973 to 1975, she served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. She was the author of several scholarly articles on U.S. copyright law and international copyright. She served as General Counsel of the Copyright Office, Library of Congress from 1974-1976 and again from 1979-1995. From l995 until her retirement in 2000 she worked in the Library's Federal Research Division where she would write legal papers informing congressmen/women and senators on issues pending before Congress.

In 2000 she retired from a job she still loved due to her increasing disability which obliged her to use canes during the last several years of employment. Her retirement allowed her more time for the other interests in her life: reading historical romance novels, listening to operas, watching tennis, old movies, college football and cheering for the NY Yankees.

She was a devoted member of the St. George's United Methodist Church, Burke, Va., where she enjoyed working with the children's musical groups and Bible classes. She was a generous donor to many charities, donating as much as 30 percent of her income.

Unfortunately, Dorothy was bedridden for the last 12 years of her life. In May she was hospitalized and her physicians were unable to prevent the progress of the infection, which eventually reached her heart and killed her.

Never married, she is survived by a brother, Gerald Schrader; nephews, Carl Reber and Steven Schrader; nieces, Dawn Brensinger, Marcia Lindenmuth, Laura Stephan and Cindy Toto; grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

She will be deeply missed by her friends and family.

Dorothy will be interred at Zion's Red Church, Orwigsburg, next to her beloved mother at 11 a.m. Monday. Public is welcome. Hamilton Funeral Home Inc., Orwigsburg, is assisting with arrangements.

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Published in Republican & Herald on Aug. 9, 2014
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