Walter Schoenke, the first commissioner of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC), passed away on Monday. The conference would like to pass along condolences to his family and friends and thank him for his service to the conference and to our country.
Schoenke served as the first commissioner of the SLIAC, serving in that role from its inception in 1989 until 1993. He was a key figure in uniting the original six members of the conference and quickly bringing in two additional members one year later. Schoenke was inducted into the SLIAC Hall of Fame in 1994.
Schoenke not only served the SLIAC but other area sports organizations; serving as an athletic board member at Maryville University, the Chaminade athletic board of Hawaii, and helped found the Maui Classic with Norm Stewart, University of Missouri basketball coach. In 1993, Schoenke was voted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. In addition, he served as basketball coach at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.
Schoenke valiantly served the United States through two wars, surviving the Pearl Harbor attack and then serving in the Korean War. Schoenke was born in Hawaii and moved to Minnesota in 1942. After enrolling at the University of Minnesota, Schoenke was called into action for the Korean War and enlisted in the Air Force. Upon discharge, he re-enrolled at Minnesota and graduated in 1958. After graduation, Schoenke held an English teaching position at a high school in Minnesota, where he additionally coached both football and basketball. In 1969, Schoenke found his way to St. Louis, when he took a position with Monsanto Company, where he worked for 20 years.
Visitation will be held at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, located at 12345 Manchester Rd. in Des Peres on Thursday, January 14 from 4-8 p.m. Funeral service will be held at church on Friday, January 15 at 10 a.m. followed by a private burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul's Lutheran School or the Early Childhood Center.