Independence - Al Jay Schrik 9/20/51 – 6/21/21
The Schrik Family lost our loving brother, Al Jay Schrik, this week. He was a man of Faith, an artist, an athlete, a teacher – but most of all, he was the kindest soul you would ever meet.
Al was born in Independence, the fifth of nine children, and he displayed the typical, attention-grabbing behavior of a middle child. He was the kid with a bowl on his head at the kitchen table, or the one sporting a tutu as he did a dance for family movies. To say he was ornery and mischievous would be an understatement, belying the easy-going and loving man he would later become. Early on, he displayed his artistic talents, as he was excellent at drawing.
Al was a gifted athlete and loved to work out with weights and to run. He led the 8th grade Jaycee Football League in scoring as a running back. He lettered in Football, Wrestling, and Track at Van Horn High School, and was a member of a record-setting mile-relay team that stood for many years. Al went to SW Missouri State University where he lettered in Cross-Country, posting the 4th best time on their home course. He majored in Physical Education, and while doing a term paper on kinesiology he worked with Larry Young, two-time Olympic bronze medalist in the 50k racewalk. After just two months of training, Al was ranked nationally in the 50k racewalk. One of his most prized possessions was the USA warm-ups he received for representing the US in a USA vs Canada dual meet. He once competed in a 24-hour Ultra Marathon and completed 75-miles racewalking.
Right out of college, Al entered the Marine Corps boot camp, with the intention of continuing on to Officer Candidate School. But after boot camp, he decided that the military life was not meant for him, and he went to work at the Corn Products Refinery in Fairfax, where he worked for about 10 years. He put aside his athletic endeavors at this time and immersed himself in the RLDS Church. Al never did anything halfway, and he soon became a deacon in his church and a volunteer with Outreach International. He bought a modest house right across the street from his church.
At around 30, Al changed careers and became an insurance agent with Farmers Insurance, putting in the same perseverance and hard work that he put into everything else.
Al never married, but experienced love at an early age with his high school sweetheart, Bernadette. He had a large and diverse set of friends and many, like Jim and Laura, were with him to the very end. He was also active in church singles groups and had quite the reputation as a ladies' man.
Al loved to travel and although he visited far-away places like Hawaii, Mexico, Key West, the Grand Canyon, Colorado, and both Disney World and Disneyland, the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, held a special place in his heart.
Before he turned 40, Al had the first of his devastating strokes. It left his left arm useless, he could only walk short distances with the aid of a cane, and he could no longer work. He could still use his right arm, though, and he threw himself into oil painting, often emulating his favorite artist, Van Gogh. He was a very good artist and quite prolific. His paintings hang on the walls of many of his friends and family members. He was also a voracious reader and knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects. He loved being outside and often hung out at Hill Park on nice sunny days.
Later, Al moved into our mother's house and they became great companions for many years. He was a creature of habit and would make her pancakes for breakfast every Saturday morning and frozen pizza on Tuesdays for dinner. He fed the many cats that lived there and the possums that visited. His close friend, Tod, rented an apartment next door, and it was quite the hub for a group of friends for watching sports and playing poker.
The tranquility ended abruptly when Al had another stroke at 63. This one took the wind out of his sails and put him in a nursing home. Our mom eventually joined him in the same home, and we would always see them together in the lunchroom when we came to visit. Al accepted his life challenges with grace and good humor. He relished the simple pleasures of life to the very end, and he never lost his strong faith in God. This week, he claims the place of honor reserved for him in Paradise.
Al was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Betty, and siblings, Denny and Jan. He leaves behind sisters Suzanne, Dianne, Marianne and Lisa, and brothers Tom and David. He also leaves behind eleven nieces and nephews and eight grand nieces and nephews who will miss their fun-loving Uncle Al.
The family wishes to thank Maywood Terrace Living Center and Three Rivers Hospice for their loving care of Al. A memorial service will take place in the future.
Published by The Examiner from Jul. 30 to Jul. 31, 2021.