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Farewell to a Dear Friend

NAMI Montana’s friend and colleague Quentin Schroeter passed gently away on Friday, June 3rd in Helena. He will be forever missed by the NAMI family in Montana.

Quentin Schroeter was born to Edward and Marjorie Schroeter in Concordia, Kansas in 1943. Quentin was the family’s second child after his brother Franklin. The family moved to Kalispell, Montana. Edward started out teaching before establishing law practice. Majorie taught piano. From parents with that background, it is not hard to see where Quentin found his love for the arts, music and humanities.

Quentin had his first psychotic break during his freshman year at the University of Chicago. It was the onset of bipolar disorder which would steep the rest of Quentin’s life with challenges but could never quench his spirit or drive. Quentin received his Bachelor of Arts from Shimer College and Masters of Arts from Claremont School of Theology. Quentin also studied at the University of London.

Quentin had a variety of vocational journeys. One of the ones he was most proud of was the development of a major archival project for the Office of Higher Education of the Claremont Graduate School. This collection is permanently housed in Claremont’s Library.

Quentin’s career culminated in his work at NAMI Montana (the National Alliance on Mental Illness for Montana). Quentin was hired by his dear friends and allies Dr. Gary and Sandra Mihelish as one of NAMI Montana’s earliest employees. Quentin worked at NAMI Montana for almost 20 years as a Peer Support and Outreach Specialist. Quentin facilitated a NAMI Connections Support Group, Peer-to-Peer Seminars, and “In Our Own Voice” Presentations. In 2011, the National NAMI organization inducted in NAMI’s Hall of Fame for his contributions to the “In Our Own Voice” program.

Quentin’s peer support work at NAMI Montana was an impetus for NAMI Montana’s peer support advocacy efforts as NAMI Montana became a key member of the coalition that developed peer support certification and passed Legislation that made Peer Support a billable service for Medicaid in Montana. Quentin testified at every major hearing on Peer Support, including the final hearing in the winter of 2019 when Quentin’s health was so fragile that he had to be assisted through the snow-packed Capital Parking lot and all the way to the hearing podium by his colleague and friend Colleen Rahn. There are now over 100 certified peer specialists in Montana. NAMI Montana will always consider those certified peer specialists as a part of Quentin’s amazing legacy.

On March 31, 2010, Michael Fitzpatrick of NAMI National announced that Quentin had been chosen to receive the 2010 Lionel Aldridge Award. This prestigious award is given annually to someone with mental illness for their courage, leadership, and service on behalf of all people who live with mental illness.

Quentin worked with Matt Kuntz, NAMI Montana’s Executive Director to compete, Mania is Simply a Streetcar Toward Desire: A Memoir of Affirmation. It was a project that mattered so much to him and to all of the NAMI Montana family.

In December of 2015, Quentin began dating the love of his life Patricia Burke. Quentin and Patricia enjoyed going to the Symphony, Opera, and Picnics together. They had a mutual interest in NAMI and were mainstays at the NAMI Conferences and Montana NAMIWalks. Patricia served as an amazing caretaker for Quentin through an array of health challenges.

Quentin is also survived by his brother Franklin Schroeter of Somers, Montana. Quentin was always so grateful for his brother’s support and guidance.

Quentin has a few videos on Youtube if you’d like to take the opportunity to remember his insights, humor, and presence. Here is his “Narrative on Psychosis.”