History of WU Troy Theater Restoration


Henry S. Schrader was born October 18, 1909 in Wheeling, West Virginia and spent the majority of his life living and working in the Upper Ohio Valley. Before retiring in 1988, he practiced law for 54 as a founding partner of the firm Schrader, Stamp, Byrd, Companion and Gurley. His death occurred on August 8, 1996 at the age of 87. During his lifetime, Schrader was generous with his time and money and, after his death, his bequests benefited several local organizations and made him one of the leading philanthropists in Wheeling's history.

Mr. Schrader received his early education in Wheeling public schools and enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school. After infantry school at Fort Benning, Georgia, he went to Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Upon leaving the military, he remained a member of the Fort Henry Chapter of the Reserve Officers Association and served as president of the organization.

When his military career ended, Schrader attended West Virginia University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1931 and his law degree in 1934. After receipt of his Doctor of Jurisprudence, he completed additional coursework at New York University and Harvard Law School. He was admitted to the West Virginia Bar and began practicing law in 1934. Shortly after beginning his practice, he returned to the military and served during World War II. At the end of World War II, he returned to his law practice in Wheeling.

Schrader was a member of the American Bar Association, the West Virginia State Bar and the Ohio County Bar Association (where he also served as president). Schrader served his community as president of several public service organizations including Oglebay Institute, the Rotary Club of Wheeling, and the Altenheim House. He was also a member of other local organizations including the Epworth Park Trustees, the Fort Henry Club, the Blue Pencil Club, and several Wheeling commissions.

A devout Episcopalian, Schrader was a member of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, where he served as a trustee and vestryman. He also served as a trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. Upon his death, he left nearly a half million dollars to the trustees of St. Matthews.

Schrader's bequest to the Oglebay Institute is the largest single gift the Institute ever received during its history to date. The bulk of the bequest was used to finance construction of the Schrader Environmental Education Center at Oglebay Park which was built using recycled products and environmentally sensitive building processes and materials. Additional funds from Schrader's bequest were used for the conversion of the Stifel Fine Arts Center's garageinto a state-of-the-art dance and art studio, and for the purchase of equipment for Towngate Theater. The remainder of the bequest was added to Oglebay Institute's endowment fund for maintenance of existing programs and facilities and the development of new programs.

Two West Virginia universities benefited from Schrader's dedication to his community and his state. After Schrader's death, his law partners established a memorial scholarship fund at the West Virginia University's College of Law. Schrader bequeathed $250,000 to the West Virginia University Foundation. Schrader also donated over a million dollars for the restoration of the Troy Theater in Swint Hall at Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU).  Schrader's generous contribution allowed the theater to be completely renovated and created the first permanent home for performing arts on the WJU campus.

WJU President Emeritus Thomas Acker once noted, "Henry Stifel Schrader was a model attorney and friend who was universally revered for his quiet wisdom, deep Christian faith and resolute integrity. He loved deeply the Episcopal Church, his friends, world travel and his chosen profession of law. In every endeavor, he excelled in service and loyalty."

Information compiled from:

  • Oglebay Institute Website (www.oionline.com)
  • Wheeling Chamber of Commerce Website (www.wheelingchamber.com)
  • "Wheeling Hall of Fames Induction Ceremony, September 20, 1998" by the Wheeling Hall of Fame Board
  • The Wheeling Intelligencer, August 9, 1996
  • Wheeling Jesuit University Chronicle, Spring 1998
  • The Wheeling News Register, August 9, 1996