The father of the late Terri Schindler Schiavo, Robert S. Schindler, Sr., died of heart failure on Saturday at the age of 71. He had struggled to save the life of his brain-damaged daughter in 2005, when Terri’s husband successfully sought to remove her feeding tube, causing her death.
In the wake of Terri's death, Robert, with his wife Mary, daughter Suzanne Vitadamo, and son Bobby Schindler, founded the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation in St. Petersburg, Florida. The foundation is dedicated to support other families who must fight for the rights of their disabled or otherwise vulnerable loved ones.
His son issued a statement at his father’s death saying his was “heartbroken” over the loss of his father, but added “I know at this moment he is rejoicing with my sister, Terri.”
“My dad was a man of integrity, character and compassion who was blessed with a close and loving family. He taught all three of his children to respect and value life and to love our fellow man.
“Even at the height of the battle to save my sister Terri’s life, when his patience and temperance was near exhaustion, he managed to display a gentleness of spirit. Yet it was his unfathomable strength that allowed him to shoulder up his own heartache and lead us through our darkest hour.”
“What greater legacy could a man leave behind?” the younger Schindler added.
Fr. Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life, said Schindler remains “an inspiration.”
“In spite of enduring the heartbreaking, court ordered killing of his daughter, Terry Schiavo, Bob never stopped fighting for the rights of others who were disabled or medically vulnerable. His quiet strength in the face of persecution and his compassion for those who were too weak to defend themselves will forever serve as examples of how we should show Christ's love.”
Wanda Franz, president o f National Right to Life, said his death was a “profound loss” for the pro-life movement.
“Today, our thoughts and prayers are with his loving wife, Mary and their children, Bobby and Suzanne.”
A public visitation for Schindler will be held at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Southampton, Pennsylvania on September 4 at 10 a.m. A funeral Mass will be held at noon, followed by a private burial service at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Philadelphia.