Published: Dec 02, 2012 12:06 AM
Modified: Dec 02, 2012 12:06 AM
Modern dancer, choreographer, costume designer and interior designer, Nadine Gae Schroeder passed at noon on Thanksgiving Day, surrounded by her loving family.
Born in 1917 to Emil Kirchner and Anna Simpson, Nadine excelled in ballet and at the age of 6 became a featured performer in vaudeville across the United States. As a teenager, Nadine became interested in modern dance, studying with Charles Weidman and performing with Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham and other modern dance troupes.
Nadine met her future husband, Ray Sax Schroeder, in Chicago during a series of performances. Ray was also a featured child vaudeville performer, host of the Chicago-based “Children’s Hour” radio show, and a gifted musician and singer. The two married in 1938.
After Ray joined Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians as a musician and singer-dancer, the couple moved to New York where Nadine went on to dance in Broadway musicals, including One for the Money (1939, with Gene Kelly), Two for the Show (1940, with Eve Arden and Betty Hutton), Panama Hattie (1940, with Ethel Merman), Zeigfeld Follies (1943, with Milton Berle and Liona Massey), Variety Show at the Roxy Theatre (1944), and Angel in the Wings (1948, with Grace and Paul Hartman.) Nadine was paired with noted dance partners of the period, including Peter Hamilton, Mark Breaux, and Tommy Wonder.
Nadine made dozens of appearances on early television, including The Fred Waring Show (1949-1954), The Fred Waring Christmas Show (1952), The Firestone Hour (1952), and G.E. True Theater (1954). After retiring from dance, Nadine was encouraged by her sister, Gae Foster Kelly, and her lifelong friend, fashion designer Bonnie Cashin, to pursue successful careers in choreography, costume design, and interior design.
Nadine was a devoted member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Chapel Hill, where she served as a Board Member and a Reader. She is survived by two sons, Ray Scott Schroeder of Palm Springs, CA and David Jon Schroeder of Chapel Hill, NC; daughters-in-law, Martha Jasper Schroeder and Jane Clowney Schroeder; grandsons, Andrew Schroeder of Los Angeles, CA, Jeffrey Schroeder of Carrboro, NC, and Gregory Schroeder of Crested Butte, CO; granddaughters, Brianna Schroeder of Chicago, IL, and Maxine Schroeder of Chapel Hill, NC; and a great grandson, Zachary Schroeder, aged 5 months.
A memorial celebration for local family and friends will be held from 2-3pm on December 16 at Nadine’s home in Lake Hogan Farms, Chapel Hill. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Inter-Faith Council For Social Service (IFC), 110 West Main St., Carrboro, NC 27510; and to The First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1300 MLK Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
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