Activist, teacher and Access Press writer Clarence Schadegg of Richfield died of esophageal cancer April 16, at the age of 61.
Schadegg, who was blind, taught classes in subjects including creative writing and independent living skills at a variety of area institutions for more than 30 years. He taught at Metropolitan State University and Minneapolis Public Schools. He also was a guest lecturer at Augsburg College.
His own academic studies were in adult education, with an emphasis on aging and disability. Schadegg was a 1972 graduate of Minneapolis’ DeLaSalle High School. He held an undergraduate degree in anthropology from St. Cloud State University and had pursued graduate studies. He never stopped learning and teaching, and considered himself to be a lifelong learner.
Schadegg was a gifted writer and had written for Access Press since 2005. “Clarence enjoyed every part of writing, the research, the interview, the writing itself and the fact checking,” said Tim Benjamin, executive director of Access Press. He wrote about topics ranging from travel for the blind to blogging on the many roles service animals can play. He also worked as a book editor and enjoyed poetry.
Schadegg also loved gardening and spent many hours throughout the summer tending his home’s landscaping, his flowering plants and his vegetables.
Four years of service on the Minneapolis Arts Commission and more than 20 years’ service at Wesley United Methodist Church were among Schadegg’ s many community activities. He was involved with the Mississippi Valley Poets and Writers Society and was active in Toastmasters. He loved to play beepball, and played in state and national tournaments. He enjoyed sharing his many talents with others and was generous in making sure others received recognition and encouragement for their work and play.
In 2013 he nominated his longtime friends and colleagues Cal Appleby and the late Vern Bloom and Wayne Moldenhauer for the Access Press Charlie Smith Award, for outstanding service to Minnesota’s disability community. Schadegg was proud when his friends won the award and was there to introduce and celebrate with Appleby and the audience.
Schadegg said his biggest accomplishment was being baptized with the spirit of God and Jesus and to live closely to the teachings of the Bible. One of his many passionate campaigns was to allow everyone full and active participation in church activities, and to ensure that all people, with any or any disability, were provided with full accommodations to participate in worship services.
Nancy, his wife, life partner, and biggest supporter, survives him; as do his sister and brothers, nieces and nephews, his dog guide Cruiser and many friends. Services have been held.