Leroy James “Rusty” Schaper, 85, passed away Thursday afternoon, August 8, at his home in Dickinson. He was surrounded by his wife and four children, who cared for him until the end, and by other family members who loved him.

Family visitation will be from 5-6 p.m. Sunday, August 11, followed by visitation for friends from 6-8 p.m. at Crowder Funeral Home, 851 FM 517 West in Dickinson. The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the funeral home with burial to follow in Galveston Memorial Park Cemetery in Hitchcock.

Rusty was the youngest and last surviving sibling of 13 Schaper brothers and sisters who for many years operated the Schaper Dairy on the west end of Galveston Island. In 1975, Rusty purchased Texas City Feed and Supply, which the family still operates.

He is survived by Jane Angelo Schaper, his beloved wife, high school sweetheart and love of his life for over 65 years.

He is also survived by daughter Sherry L. Schaper, sons Leroy James “L.J.” Schaper, Jr. and wife Laurie, Gary G. Schaper and wife Rita and daughter Joni J. Schirmer, Kevin Schirmer, grandchildren Kelsea Vernon and husband Shaun, Andrew Schaper, Kyle Schaper and wife Caitlin, Whitney Schaper and Kailea Blankenship and husband Seth. Other survivors include Waunita Schaper, Jeanne Huggins, Lamar Angelo (Judy), Jack Angelo (Sonja) and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.

Officiating at the services Monday will be “The Right Reverend” Tom Lera (as Rusty called him), a dear family friend. Pallbearers will be Andrew Schaper, Kyle Schaper, Shaun Vernon, Seth Blankenship, Kevin Schirmer and Joe Betancourt. Honorary pallbearers will be Tommy Lera and Donald C. “Frog” Smith.

Rusty was preceded in death by his parents August H. and Elizabeth Schaper; sisters and brothers, Helen Walker (Milton), A.C. Schaper (Norma), Harold Schaper (Olga), Ethel Mae Schaper, Mabel Schultze (Henry), Louis Schaper (Marguerite), Robert Schaper (Lillian), Annabelle Swygert (Tom), Victor Schaper, Theodore “Buck” Schaper, Catherine Siefkes (Paul) and Ray Schaper (Jane).

Early Life

Rusty was born on the island at St. Mary’s Hospital on Sept. 20, 1933. He and several generations of Schapers worked in the dairy, a business founded after his grandfather, August Charles Schaper, immigrated from Hamburg, Germany, in 1872.

Rusty was the captain of the Ball High School football team, once leading the team to score three touchdowns in 90 seconds.

Rusty was a veteran of the U.S. Army and was deployed from 1953 to 1955, serving in Germany after the Second World War as a member of a guided missile battalion. Rusty continued playing football during his service in the Army until a broken leg sidelined his playing career. He was known for his navigational skills during his time overseas, where he was referred to by his fellow soldiers as a leader of men.

On March 27, 1954, he married his high school sweetheart and the mother of his four children, Jane Angelo of Knippa, Texas.

Dairy Farming & The Feed Store

Upon returning from his military deployment, Rusty first worked at the dairy. He later purchased a local business, Texas City Feed & Supply in 1975, operating the business with the support of his wife and family for over 44 years until his death. Family members continue to operate that business. The dairy closed down in 1978.

He was active in his community through involvement with the Tucker Lodge 297 Masons and coached little league baseball. He was a supporter of the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo through his affiliation with the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Rusty was a former board member of the Bank of the West, which later became Texas First Bank

Later Years

Rusty was an avid fan of Astros baseball, watching the games religiously. He was an active livestock owner and passionate rancher. He was especially fond of circus peanuts and jelly beans. He was always an advocate for small business, often refusing to patronize big-box chain stores while famously never entering a WalMart store.

In his later years (as well as his early and middle years), Rusty could always be found with his friends and family, pouring himself a Jack Daniels toddy with just a splash of water at around five o’clock. His family compound in Dickinson was known as Five O’Clock Somewhere.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Shriners Burns Children’s Hospital of Galveston, 815 Market Street, Galveston, TX 77550, or to the Ronald McDonald House of Galveston at 301 14th Street, Galveston 77550.


  1. What a Great Man!! I know he will be missed by many. He is in a better place than us now.

    Rick Abernathy
    • Ricky,

      We will miss him. Thank you for your kind words.


      Joni Schirmer
  2. Rusty was always Smiling, always Happy to see you, always asking what you were up to. What a Great Man.

    Lynn Alexander
    • Thank you for your kind words Lynn. And thank you for coming to the visitation. I know Daddy knew you were there and it brought a smile to his face.

      Thank you for your friendship.

      The Schaper family.

      Joni Schirmer
  3. How lucky we were to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. “The Greatest Generation” has lost one of it’s icons. He will be forever loved and missed.

    Bill and Jackie Chalmers
    • Thank you Bill and Jackie. You have been great friends to Mama and Daddy and I know they always enjoyed your visits.


  4. May your grief of this great loss turn to fond memories I know you all hold many in your hearts! A great man yes he was.

    Kathi Ashy
    • Yes he was Kathi. I’m sorry I didn’t get to visit with you. Our family is so grateful for your kindness and friendship.


  5. Rusty was a good man..Always willing to lend a helping hand..He will be missed by everyone who knew him.. My pray is that he is in heaven today with our God..

    Billy J Pegues
    • Thank you for your kind words MR. Pegues. He was a great father and I am blessed he picked me for his daughter.

      Warmest Regards,


      Joni Schirmer
  6. One of the nicest/sweetest/most honest people that ever walked this earth. He will be missed by a whole lot of folks. It was a privilege to have met and been around this gentleman.

    Jim and Sandy Whitney
    • Thank you for your kind words Jim and Sandy. I know he was very fond of both of you. We are all going to miss him.


  7. My husband and I met him in the late 60’s, he then recommended his brother for our family vet. Now we are are joined to his family by extension, our daughter married his nephew Matt Schaper, what am honor to be connected to one of the most respected families in Galveston county. May he join his family in a fractional Sunday dinner. God bless you Rusty. Our prayers are with you Frank & Mickie Fleming.

    Frank & Mickie Fleming
    • Frank and Mickie,

      Thank you for your kind words. I didn’t realize you had known my daddy for so long. It really is a small world. We love Johnnie and are glad she is a member of our family.

      We will miss daddy, but know he is in a better place and certainly in good company.

      Warmest Regards,


      Joni Schirmer
  8. Our thoughts & prayers to Rusty’s family during this difficult time. He was always so full of joy & fun to be around. We will always cherish our memories together. Ralph & Gale

    Ralph & Gale Seidel
    • Ralph and Gale,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such kind words about my daddy. He was such a great man and a great daddy.

      Warmest Regards,


      Joni Schirmer
  9. I’m sorry to hear of Rusty’s passing. He, the Shaper Family, and Texas City Feed have meant a lot to me and my family.

    Jack Simons
    • Jack,

      The entire Schaper family and Texas City feed thanks you for your kind words. He was a great man and a great daddy. We will all miss him.


      Joni Schirmer

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