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1932 Rev. Paul 2023

Paul Schrading

August 23, 1932 — December 31, 2023


Rev. Paul E. Schrading, ordained United Methodist pastor, campus minister, church administrator, and life-long world traveler died on Sunday, December 31, 2023.   He was 91.


Paul was born on August 23, 1932, to Alberta Irene Miser Schrading and John Peter Schrading.   He was born during the depression, his dad a steel mill worker.   Early life was frugal, living in the second floor of his grandparents house in Homestead with his parents and two older brothers: John Schrading and Charles Schrading


In high school, he was active in drama productions. He even worked briefly professionally with a childrens theater group.   With his 6-foot, 5-inch stature, he was type cast in the production of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and went by the moniker Slim”.  He graduated Munhall High School in 1950 as salutatorian and worked summer jobs in the Homestead Steel Works.


He went on to study at and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954 with honors elected to Phi Beta Kappa, majoring in Speech and Philosophy.   He was the first in his family to graduate from college.  He was active in the Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Young Mens Christian Association (YMCA), an ecumenical and inter-racial Christian organization. His Senior Thesis was on the preparation of sermons by highly regarded preachers – which later served him as he became a dynamic and animated preacher.   His early career direction was formed by a 6-week YMCA/YWCA training where he went to Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  He found his calling to the ministry and set his course toward seminary and ordination. While still in college, he was a leader of the National YMCA. He attended a YMCA/YWCA conference in Kansas and met his first bride, Barbara Jean Roberts, a professors daughter, from Lexington, Kentucky.  When I met Barbara, I knew it was right.  We were on the same faith journey, we were compatible in our social backgrounds, political and theological view.   I knew from the beginning she was special.”   Their courtship continued while they both studied at Yale Divinity School after college.  They were married in 1958.


It was at Yale Divinity School in 1954 where he solidified his commitments to scholastic theology, campus ministry, and pastoral care.  He graduated with a bachelors in divinity and was ordained in 1958. 


The young couples desire to know the world and engage with an active and practical faith drove them to take up Pauls first appointment as Chaplain for International Students at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.   There he engaged with students from all over the world, many of those students were active in the decolonization of the British Empire.  That experience proved formative personally and politically.  They forged lifelong friends spanning across the globe: India, South Africa, Germany, and, of course, Scotland.  Barbara gave birth to their first son while in Edinburgh, Walter Alan Schrading, in 1960. There the young family traveled widely and loved hiking in the Highlands.


His Bishop called him back to Pittsburgh later that year, where he was appointed director of the Wesley Foundation in Pittsburgh, the United Methodist Churchs campus ministry arm at local universities.  In 1962 he arranged for a group of students to attend a Christian Conference to hear a dynamic young African American pastor who was active in the non-violent civil rights struggle, Rev. Jim Lawson of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.  He learned much about the non-violent struggle for civil rights from Rev. Lawson and was inspired to join the effort.  It was in Pittsburgh that year that Paul and Barbara welcomed their second son – Roger Mark Schrading, born on Jan 24, 1962


Always a scholar, Paul read voraciously.   He was well read in numerous areas of interest including world religions, theology, history of the church, politics, and international affairs.   In 1966 he returned to school at Princeton Theological Seminary and was awarded his master’s in theology.   That year, his youngest son, Eric Paul Schrading was born on June 18, 1966. 


The young family moved to the NY area where Paul served as General Secretary of the University of Christian Movement during the tumultuous end of the 1960s. There he continued organizing for civil rights and against the Vietnam War.  When the student movement moved in a secular and anti-hierarchical direction, he was called back to Pittsburgh to lead the University and City Ministries (UACM), which engaged with campus and urban ministry.   Here Paul would live for the remainder of his life.


The UACM was connected to an ecumenical church affiliated with the United Methodist Church, the Community of Reconciliation (COR).  The COR was a coalition of racially diverse churches that joined to form a true reconciliation of one worship community. This became the church home for his family and the community formed the supportive environment that encouraged his middle son Roger as he travelled to El Salvador during the midst of the civil war in 1985 to stand with the suffering of refugees.  As part of his legacy, all of his sons chose careers in service.


Pauls speaking abilities, organizing skills, and the diplomatic engagement with groups on different sides of issues were noted by the church leadership.   From 1977 to 1982 he led the United Methodist Church Union, an organization that supports numerous charitable groups in Western Pennsylvania including areas of low-income housing for the elderly, childrens education, and food security.   From 1982 – 1990 he served as Council Director for the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Church. After his long service to the United Methodist Church, he was elevated to District Superintendent for the Pittsburgh District where he served from 1990 to 1996.   In this position he was a pastor to the pastors” elevating many of them by his example.  One of them noted: Paul was such a great influence in my faith journey and in the journey of this Annual Conference.  He has left us with so many gifts in his legacy of faithfulness”. Paul retired from the ministry in 1996 but stayed on as Assistant to Bishop George Bashore for a few years after retirement.  He was always a powerful and dynamic speaker and was a cherished guest minister preaching throughout the Western PA Conference.


He was also called upon to care for his wife Barbara during those years when she developed cancer.  He cared for her tenderly during her illness and in her final months with a debilitating and painful disease.   She died in 1997.  The loss of Barbara was devastating for Paul, yet he continued his life of service and care for the family he now led alone.   His love and care were again called for as he cared for his older brother John until his death in 2017. 


Throughout his life he loved to plan trips and travel.   He has ventured to every continent except Antarctica including an extended stay at a Christian Mission in Panama, India for various missions, and Africa for a World Conference of the United Methodist Church and tourism.  He also loved to just tour and knew most corners of Western Europe.   He returned many times to his beloved Scotland and visited friends he made from all over the world. 


Paul found love again and married Carolynn Jean McGogney in 1999, a high school choir director and music teacher and active member of First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh.  The couple began frequent trips nationally and internationally -- the detailed planning of which Paul loved.  He became a stepfather and step grandfather to Carolynns children.  Their love grew and the couple spent many years traveling, enjoying family reunions, gathering with friends, and attending symphony.  Paul also served to officiate all his childrens and many of his grandchildrens, niece’s and nephew’s marriages. As Pauls health declined, Carolynn returned the love and care that he so tirelessly gave to others.  Together they shared some of the happiest days with the softening wisdom of age and in companionship with one another.


Paul is survived by his wife, Carolynn; his three sons; Walter Schrading, MD - a professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Roger Schrading – Public Defender, Philadelphia, PA, and Eric Schrading – Field Supervisor U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in New Jersey; eight grandchildren – Justin Marc, J. Nicolas, and Cat Marie (Walter), Sarah Elizabeth and Lilah Jean (Roger), and Casey Phillip, Jessica Bailey, and Morganne Ashley (Eric); and one great grandchild – Ayla Jean (Justin).  He is also survived by Carolynns children; Jeannie Schott, Marsha McGogney, and Tim McGogney; and three grandchildren; Kevin Schott, Luke Schott, and Josephine Kibombo.


Visitation will be held at First United Methodist Church Pittsburgh, 5401 Centre Avenue, Shadyside, PA 15232, from 3pm-6pm on Friday, January 5, 2024. A memorial service will be held at the same location on Saturday, January 6, at 2pm. 


In lieu of flowers please consider donations in memoriam to: First United Methodist Church Pittsburgh, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), or the Pittsburgh Symphony

To send flowers to the family in memory of Paul Schrading, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, January 5, 2024

3:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh

5401 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, January 6, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh

5401 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

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