Schiedel, Paul Richard “Dick” (1932-2010)

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Richard Schiedel. Family photo

Paul Richard "Dick" Schiedel: farmer, entrepreneur and philanthropist; born 10 June 1932 in Bridgeport, Ontario, Canada to Ivan (3 February 1903-27 September 1974) and Ellen (Hallman) Schiedel (7 April 1902-18 May 1957). He had one older brother, Cameron and a step-sister, Fern, after Ivan married Adeline Snyder in 1959 (9 September 1923-26 February 2006). Richard married Shirley Brodhaecker (1932- ), daughter of Harry (1905-1983) and Ethel (Fried) Brodhaecker (1909-1974), on 14 May 1955 in Roseville, Ontario. They had two sons and two daughters. Richard suffered critical injuries in a head-on car collision on 30 May 2010 and died 3 July 2010 in Hamilton General Hospital. The funeral was held 8 July at Preston (Hagey) Mennonite Church, where Richard had been an active member since his baptism there in 1945. Interment followed in the Hagey Cemetery.

Richard Schiedel grew up on the Ivan E. Schiedel & Sons farm on Maple Grove Road near Cambridge. He took over the farm in 1958, beginning with a large scale hog operation, then prize-winning Guernsey cows, then switching to cash cropping 3,000 hectares with Cameron from 1970 to 1975. An avid reader, always eager to try new ideas, Richard was the first in the area to use a grain combine, diesel tractor, forage harvester, to produce square bales and use liquid nitrogen on his corn fields, the latter now common worldwide. In 1975 he switched operations again and began growing sod, delivering the first rolls from the back of his truck two years later. Compact Sod grew to become Greenhorizons Group of Farms based at the Maple Grove farm and spread over more than 1,600 hectares across southern Ontario. With hundreds of employees, it became the largest such operation in the province. Richard’s other ventures include Black Garden Soil which later outpaced sod sales, Maple Grove Leasing (landscaping equipment), a mobile storage operation and a Hamilton golf course. Richard retired in 1989. He belonged to the National Sod Growers Association and was a long-time board member for Turfgrass Producers International (president 1993-1994).

Financial success led to philanthropy for Richard, benefiting his church and church-related organizations like Mennonite Central Committee and Laurelville Mennonite Church Center in Pennsylvania (Canadian board member 1972-1983). His formal education ended at grade eight but his keen interest in lifelong learning and history was reflected in generous support for Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, Conrad Grebel University College, where a Mennonite Archives of Ontario processing room is dedicated to Richard and Shirley, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA board member 1982-1989) and the Detweiler Meetinghouse in Roseville. As a founding director of the Meetinghouse in 1989, president 1989-2003 and vice-president until his death, he invested much time, expertise and money to restore the old stone building, a project dear to his heart. Another strong interest of his was the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario (board member 2001-2010) and its Waterloo chapter (vice-president 2001-2004).

Richard and Shirley Schiedel became world travelers, often connecting with international MEDA projects and forward-thinking agricultural ventures. Other delights included his collection of miniature and regular-sized farm machines replicating every piece of farm equipment he ever used, an antique car, photography and gospel music. But he always made time for his family,

A proud descendant of Sam Bricker, one of the first Mennonite pioneers in the area, Richard never let hard work squelch his sense of humor or the mischievous glint in his eye. He was a visionary, an innovator and a kind and generous man whose Christian values permeated his life.


Davis, Brent. “Business founder dies of injuries from crash: Richard Schiedel was ‘visionary'.” Waterloo Region Record (5 July 2010).

Kinzie, Fred (Preston Mennonite Church historian). Personal email (23 February 2016).

Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mount Pleasant, PA. Telephone conversation (18 February 2016).

Mennonite Economical Development Associates office, Waterloo, Ontario. Telephone conversation (18 February 2016).

“Obituary for Richard Schiedel.” Henry Walser Funeral Home. Web. 12 May 2016.

“Richard ‘Dick’ Schiedel.” Find a Grave. Web. 12 May 2016.

Schiedel, Shirley. Interview by Ferne Burkhardt. Kitchener, Ontario. (16 February 2016).

Shantz, Ralph (Pennsylvania German Folklore Society). Telephone conversation (17 February 2016).

Steinman, Carol (Detweiler Meetinghouse Board member). Interview by Ferne Burkhardt. Kitchener, Ontario. (16 February 2016).

Steinman, Carol. Refined by Fire: The Story of Hagey/Preston Mennonite Church 1800–2000. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2000.

Author(s) Ferne Burkhardt
Date Published May 2016

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MLA style

Burkhardt, Ferne. "Schiedel, Paul Richard “Dick” (1932-2010)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2016. Web. 25 Mar 2019.,_Paul_Richard_%E2%80%9CDick%E2%80%9D_(1932-2010)&oldid=134050.

APA style

Burkhardt, Ferne. (May 2016). Schiedel, Paul Richard “Dick” (1932-2010). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 March 2019, from,_Paul_Richard_%E2%80%9CDick%E2%80%9D_(1932-2010)&oldid=134050.

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