Michigan state Rep. Andrea Schroeder, a pioneering majority whip who worked tirelessly across party lines, died Friday after a years-long battle with a rare form of stomach cancer. She was 57.
Schroeder (R-Oakland County) — a former school teacher and mom of three who was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2018 — was remembered by colleagues as an empathetic public servant with a passion for helping people in her district, according to The Detroit Free Press.
“Even in the worst days of her illness, Andrea Schroeder was a tireless and selfless friend who always put the needs of others before her own,” Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare County) said Friday in a press release.
“When we were all worried about her health and her comfort, she was more concerned about helping the people she represented who [she] had called into the office, finding out what was going on in each of our lives, sharing the latest news about her children, working with the close staff for whom she cared so much, and helping everyone around her succeed with their own personal priorities,” he said.
“That’s who she was as a person right from the start, and that is exactly how I will remember her,” he said.
The small-business-boosting lawmaker, who was also the sister of legendary Post scribe Jeane Macintosh, found out she had the aggressive stomach cancer known as linitis plastica in August 2018, shortly after her first statehouse victory.
She made a private recording 20 minutes after talking to her doctor, as the reality of the diagnosis set in, according to the paper.
“I have cancer,” she said in the recording. “I have a very rare form of stomach cancer, and it’s gonna kill me.”
The next year, she told outlet, “It was never a secret, but it was private. There’s a difference.”
She added, “A lot of being a cancer patient is seeing how hard it is on the people that want to help you. And you shoulder the responsibility for making them feel OK. And with the campaigning and everything else, I was just like, ‘I just don’t want to take on that responsibility — particularly because … it was a poor prognosis.’ “
Before she was elected to the state legislature, Schroeder served on the Independence Township Board of Trustees and on her school district’s Parent-Teacher Association. As a kid, she went to Farmington Public Schools and later earned a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education from Miami University.
On Friday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expressed condolences to Schroeder’s loved ones, saying she will be remembered for her relentless dedication to her district.
Schroeder is survived by her husband, Mark, and her children Grace, Andrea and Luke.