Bob passed away on May 31, 2022, after a brief but fiercely fought battle with cancer. He was 83 years old.
Bob was born in Hays, Kansas, on Christmas Day 1938. He was the first-born son of Gerard Joseph Schreiner and Marjorie Eleanor Schreiner. He is survived by Beth, his beloved wife of 56 years: children Robert, Laura, and Julia; daughter-in-law, Diane, and son-in-law, Brian; grandchildren Colton, Emily, Katherine, Kristen, Andrew, Zachary, and Tyson; sisters Patricia, Barbara, and Carol; brother-in-law, Wendy, and sister-in-law Marilyn; and many other members of a big, loving, loud, and boisterous family that now misses him dearly. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Donald.
By any measure, Bob lived an extraordinary life. Growing up in Hays, Bob worked on his parents’ farm and later at the motel that they briefly owned. Bob also worked for his father’s small construction company, where he learned expert masonry and carpentry skills. Always an athlete, Bob played football, basketball, and baseball for his high school, St. Joseph’s Military Academy, and basketball and baseball in college at Benedictine College. Baseball was always his first love. In his youth, he played for the Hays Larks for several years and then he signed with the Milwaukee Braves organization and briefly played in their minor league farm system. As a teenager, he studied for the priesthood for two years at the seminary in Victoria, Kansas, but his love of sports caused him to give up that calling. After retirement, he enjoyed many years as a member of the Northern Virginia Senior Softball league, serving a term as president.
After graduating from Fort Hays State University, he applied to work at the Central Intelligence Agency. While he waited several months for his background investigation to be completed, Bob worked as a bricklayer in Arlington– helping build multiple buildings. Because of his aptitude with languages, the Agency initially hired Bob as a linguist, teaching him Polish from scratch. Soon, however, Bob moved over to the office where he would spend the rest of his career – the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). He served overseas in Austria, England, and Thailand. He completed a course of study at the National War College in Washington, DC. He finished his career serving as Director of FBIS for 5 years. Upon his retirement in February 1996, after 33 years of government service, he was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.
Bob and Beth continued to travel extensively in their retirement years, visiting dozens of countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Bob’s final official tally of different countries to which he had traveled was 105. As Bob often said, “Not bad for a farm boy from Kansas.”
Bob wrote and published two books. The first book, Portrait of a Kansas Family – The Schreiners of Hays, was a meticulously researched history of his own family’s history and genealogy. His second book, From Kansas to Kenya – an Uncommon Road for Wine Lovers, was a memoir of his international travels, focusing on the many wine regions of the world to which he had traveled in his lifetime. He also kept detailed, witty journals of his many travels, and those journals are now treasured family mementos.
A lifelong sports fan, Bob was an ardent supporter of his beloved Boston Red Sox, although he found room in his heart to also cheer for local teams, the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles. Similarly, a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, Bob also cheered for the Washington Redskins – and whoever happened to be playing against the Dallas Cowboys.
Bob was fiercely devoted to his family – both immediate and extended. After the passing of his own parents, he adeptly took on the role of family patriarch. He kept in contact with siblings, in-laws, cousins, second-cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren – no matter how far-flung the family had become. Clearly, his favorite role was that of grandfather, and he took obvious joy in watching his grandchildren grow and mature.
A memorial service will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Hays on Friday, 29 July, at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (www.lls.org).