Resident Spotlight: Henry Schulte

June 29, 2023 by Morningside Ministries

Meet Henry Schulte, a strong supporter of Morningside who is a resident at our Menger Springs community in Boerne, TX and is one of the community’s founding members. Henry has been at Morningside at Menger Springs for almost 11 years. Before retiring, he worked 50+ years as an ordained pastor and served as a bishop for a term in the Lutheran church before coming to St. John Lutheran Church in Boerne in 1994. Though Henry preferred being a pastor with a small congregation rather than being a bishop, the city of Boerne continued to grow.

After serving his congregation for a year, then-Mayor Patrick Heath asked Pastor Henry if he would serve on an ad hoc task force for setting up a retirement center in Boerne. Morningside Ministries became an option, but the Board initially declined because Boerne was just starting to grow. After three years, AT&T and Southwestern Bell came to San Antonio, bringing along their executives and their families, many of whom chose Boerne as a place to call home. The task force approached the Morningside Board again and was approved for the retirement center and property in Boerne. Henry served on the Board of Directors for developing the Menger Springs community, which was built in the early 2000s. He has also served in various roles in the Menger Springs Executive Committee, including President, Vice President, and Secretary.

Originally from Crawford, TX, Henry was the youngest in his family with three older sisters. He grew up on a farm where he helped his family pick cotton, chop Johnson grass, load hay bales, and work a tractor, which he learned to drive at 10 years old. “I had my first glimpse of heaven picking cotton with a big sack and strap on my shoulder alongside my three sisters and our dad,” reminisces Henry, “and lying down on my sack of cotton on the shady side of the trailer.” He attended Crawford High School, where he met his wife Frances Brown. They became high school sweethearts, and after they graduated high school in 1954, they married a year later. Henry worked in his father-in-law’s grocery store, which to him provided the most meaningful education for his future work in serving the public. He also vividly remembers that while restocking the shelves putting out a jar of Welch’s grape jelly, it came to him that he would become a Lutheran pastor. This would mean uprooting his family’s life in Crawford, but his wife told him, “If you think that that is what the Lord is calling you to do, then that is what you should do.”

Hauling all their belongings to Seguin in a cattle trailer, Henry and Frances subsequently moved from the Crawford area to the city of Seguin, TX, where he could attend Texas Lutheran. At the time of their move, their son David, was just nine months old. Henry spent eight years in religious study at Texas Lutheran, while Frances worked as a lab technician. During college, Henry says he came to understand the grace of God, which changed his life.

After completing his studies at Texas Lutheran, Henry and his young family moved to Columbus, OH, where he attended four years of seminary school at Capitol University. They later moved to Grosse Pointe, MI, for Henry’s internship, and where his daughter Dana was born, and then to Shelby, TX, to Henry’s first church where he served two parishes in Shelby and Fayetteville for four years. He was later called to serve as Senior Pastor Designate at Highland Park Lutheran in San Antonio, where he stayed for a decade until he was summoned to Austin to serve as Assistant to the Bishop, supervising 200 congregations in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana as district director of personnel.

While on a vacation in Hunt, TX, Henry and his family were introduced to and fell in love with the Hill Country. When Zion Lutheran in Kerrville became available, Henry requested his relocation there, to which the bishop reluctantly agreed. Henry served his congregation in Kerrville for seven years. At a Senate assembly, Henry was elected bishop and then served for four years in San Antonio before coming to Boerne to serve as pastor at St. John Lutheran and then to retire. Henry and Frances actually lived at Menger Springs for two years before he officially retired. He and Frances were married for 64 years and 10 months and lived at Morningside at Menger Springs for seven years before her death in 2019. Henry also recently attended his last sister’s funeral, so he is the only remaining member of his family besides his children and grandchildren. His son David ended up following in his father’s footsteps in becoming a Lutheran pastor, recently retiring as a senior pastor at Zion Lutheran in Helotes, and lives just five miles from Henry at Menger Springs in a nearby neighborhood. Henry’s daughter Dana also is fairly close by in Dripping Springs, where she manages a dental office.

At Morningside at Menger Springs, Henry maintains a busy schedule playing cards, Texas 42, regular and double hand-and-foot canasta, and Bingo, among other activities, which take place every day. “Except for Friday!” says Henry. “That’s my day off.” As a retired pastor, he occasionally holds worship service, hymn sings, and devotionals at Morningside. He also makes time for his best friend and companion, Mavis Anderson. Henry says, “Life is a gift that we get to open each day. Sometimes it’s not, but it’s always a gift. What we do with it, is up to us.”