The Rev. Vic Schoonover, a longtime pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, made his mark in the areas of social justice and equality.
Schoonover, 79, died Tuesday at Life Care Center. He'd had multiple medical problems, said his wife, Ardi.
Her husband was developer and director of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries in Omaha. “It's the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) outreach for social justice and civil rights within the community,” she said.
In addition, she said, he was one of the developers of the community pantry system in Omaha that eventually grew into the Food Bank for the Heartland. And, she said, he helped found Together Inc. and the Indian-Chicano Health Center, the latter of which became OneWorld Community Health Centers.
Schoonover advocated for equality and justice on boards such as Omaha Coalition for the Homeless, the Dorothy Day House, the Urban League, Urban Housing Foundation, Lao Hmong Association of Nebraska, Mayor's Task Force on Police-Community Relations, School Desegregation Task Force, National Lutheran Indian Board, Project Embrace, Habitat for Humanity and others, his wife said.
“Social justice was huge for him,” she said.
Schoonover, like his father, was a Lutheran minister. He served churches in Great Bend, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., before coming to Omaha in 1969.
In 1978, Vic Schoonover became pastor of Augustana. He served there until retirement in 1995.
Schoonover graduated from Omaha North High School and is in the school's hall of fame as a Viking of Distinction.
He graduated from Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University) in Fremont, Neb. The school later gave him an honorary doctorate. He also graduated from Central Lutheran Seminary (now Lutheran School of Theology) in Chicago, and received a master's degree in education from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Schoonover was an avid woodcarver, especially of ducks, geese and fish, his wife said, exhibiting and selling his pieces at area art shows. He also helped with some notable large pieces that hang in local buildings: a carving of Christ for the entry at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Omaha and a thunderbird carving for the Chicano Awareness Center (now the Latino Center of the Midlands).
His other interests included gardening, reading and snorkeling. His wife said his 30-year love of snorkeling took him to the Caribbean, South Pacific and outside Honolulu.
Besides his wife of 37 years, Schoonover's other survivors include daughters Elisa Schoonover of Orono, Minn., Tracy Schoonover of Honolulu and noted jazz singer Karrin Allyson Schoonover of New York City; and four grandchildren.
Services will begin at 2 p.m. Jan. 10 at Augustana Church, 3647 Lafayette Ave.
Contact the writer: