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The Second Generation of Schad

James Ross “J.R.” Schad – President

James Ross “J.R.” Schad was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1922.  He grew up hunting and fishing with his father, Schad founder, Phillip, and developed a love of the outdoors that would last his lifetime. J.R. attended and graduated from Mackenzie High School on Detroit’s west side.Three portraits of James Ross "J.R" Schad, the second president of Schad Refractory

Shortly after graduation, J.R. enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where his upbringing as an outdoorsman paid off and he achieved the status of “Expert Marksman”. Before long he was deployed to the Pacific Front of World War II where he served courageously in many of the war’s island conflicts.

Upon his return from the Pacific, he reunited with a young woman, who he had kept in touch with during his deployment.  Mary Louise Callahan, literally the girl next door, and J.R. were married and they had two daughters, Mary and Barbara.

While he was settling back home in Detroit, getting married, and starting a young family, he began working for his father at Schad.  Still a young company, J.R. started as a “jack of all trades.”  He worked as a laborer, a bricklayer, a warehouseman, an estimator, and anywhere else where something needed to be accomplished. As his responsibilities and the company grew, he shifted into more of a leadership role in the organization.  When his father passed away in 1957, he purchased the company from his mother, Lillian, and became the company’s second president.

Under J.R.’s leadership, the company continued to grow and transitioned from primarily performing work related to setting and maintaining boilers to taking on larger projects in more diverse industries. The company added sales and management staff, expanded its facilities and resources, and took on large projects in the iron, steel, cement, heat treating, energy, and petrochemical industries.

Through his leadership and a robust Midwestern United States manufacturing industry, J.R. positioned Schad for prosperity while ensuring the company that bears his name would have a strong reputation for quality service and responsiveness long after he was gone.

J.R. served as President at Schad until 1983. Later in his life, J.R. stayed involved in the company, while focusing on his family, including his four grandchildren, and continuing his hobbies. His love for the outdoors and traveling took him on fishing trips from the Arctic Circle to Mexico.  He and Mary traveled often. They spent considerable time on Florida’s Gulf Coast. He was always proud to be a Marine and reconnected with many fellow veterans throughout his lifetime.

J.R. passed away in 1987 and is still remembered by friends, family, former employees, and business associates for his positive attitude, generosity, and love of life. He was a true member and contributor to “The Greatest Generation.”

In honor of Schad’s 75th Anniversary, the organization would like to acknowledge the dedication James Ross Schad exhibited to his country, family, and company throughout his lifetime.