Meet Terri's Family
Robert Schindler (Deceased)
Robert S. Schindler, Sr., of Gulfport, Florida, father of the late Terri Schindler Schiavo, passed away August 29, 2009 from heart failure at Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Robert fought valiantly to save the life of his brain-injured daughter Terri in the landmark right to life case that culminated in her imposed death by court-ordered starvation and thirst on March 31, 2005. After Terri's death, along with his wife Mary, daughter Suzanne (Schindler) Vitadamo and son Bobby Schindler, he founded the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation in St. Petersburg dedicated to supporting other families faced with the same need to fight for the rights of their disabled or otherwise vulnerable loved ones.
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Mary Schindler was married to Robert Schindler (deceased, August 2009) in January of 1963. Their daughter, Theresa Marie Schindler, was born nearly a year later on December 3, 1963, followed closely by son Robert, "Bobby," in 1965, and daughter Suzanne in 1968. They were a typical Italian Catholic family - the children were educated in parochial elementary and high schools and the family attended Mass faithfully.
On February 25, 1990, their average life took an alarming turn - every family's worst nightmare became their reality. Terri collapsed while home alone with her husband. She was rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy - a neurological injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.
The Schindlers' battle for Terri's life began in 1998 when her husband petitioned the court to remove her nutrition and hydration, which would result in her death. They endured court hearings, legislative battles, and three separate attempts to withdraw Terri's food and fluids over the course of five years. Sadly, Terri's courageous struggle, and her family's tireless efforts to protect her, ended on March 31, 2005, when she succumbed to dehydration and starvation at the hands of a faithless judicial system and at the request of her husband.
Their valiant struggle to save the life of their daughter was played out in primetime and splashed across newspapers and magazine covers around the globe. During this time, Terri's parents taught us what it means to love unconditionally and to defend life without reserve.
Bobby Schindler is the President of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network which works to protect the lives of the medically vulnerable and disabled from the threat of euthanasia. The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network was the 2009-2010 recipient of the Gerard Health Life Prizes Award. The only son of Bob and Mary Schindler, Bobby was born and raised just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his sisters, Terri and Suzanne. After his graduation from LaSalle University with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, Bobby went on to obtain a degree in meteorology from Florida State University.
Bobby's life took a dramatic and unexpected turn in February of 1990 when his older sister, Terri, suddenly collapsed and was left with a profound brain injury. When Terri's estranged husband sought court permission to starve and dehydrate her to death, Bobby was suddenly propelled into a life he'd never imagined. He spoke in defense of his sister's life on numerous national television and radio programs including Hannity & Colmes, Larry King Live, the Oprah Winfrey Show, The Glenn Beck Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, Dateline NBC, the 700 Club, EWTN and many others.
Following Terri's tragic death on March 31, 2005, Bobby gave up his teaching job at Tampa Catholic High School and became a full-time pro-life and disability rights advocate. Today, Bobby through Terri's Life & Hope Network assists families in need of legal action to prevent their loved ones from health care rationing and food and water removal. Terri's Life & Hope Network has provided resources and support to over 1000 families and has been involved in hundreds of cases helping to protect persons who were in or potentially facing life-threatening situations. He has spoken extensively throughout the U.S. and internationally, giving a firsthand account about Terri's story which was largely misrepresented by the mainstream media. Bobby talks about the effects this case has had across America and about the tens of thousands of individuals living like Terri today.
Bobby has also been asked to testify before state legislatures in Florida, Louisiana, California and Kentucky, and has addressed Members of Parliament in Canada and Australia concerning the protection of the medically vulnerable. He and his family have also authored the book A Life That Matters (2006), regarding their decade long struggle to care for his sister Terri. Bobby also co-hosted on America's Lifeline, a weekly radio program that covered such topics as euthanasia, futile care and assisted suicide. The Schindler family continues to advocate for persons with disabilities and works tirelessly to put an end to the growing pro-death mentality that is plaguing our nation.
Suzanne Schindler is the youngest daughter of Bob and Mary Schindler. After completing high school, she moved with her family to St. Petersburg, Florida where she currently resides. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of South Florida and then worked as a stockbroker with TD Waterhouse.
Without any warning, Suzanne's life suddenly changed in February of 1990 when her sister, Terri Schiavo, suddenly collapsed and was left with a profound brain injury. When Terri‘s estranged husband sought court permission to starve and dehydrate her to death, the Schindler family began their decade long battle to protect her life. The state sanctioned starvation of their sister, Terri, was played out on the world stage in the courts, government, and media. Suzanne has spoken in defense of her sister‘s life on numerous national television and radio programs including Hannity & Colmes, the Oprah Winfrey Show, The Glenn Beck Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, Dateline NBC, the 700 Club, EWTN and many others.
Since the death of her sister, Suzanne has dedicated her life to full-time pro-life and disability rights advocacy. She works full time for the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network; an organization Terri's family began to assist families in need of vital resources to prevent their loved ones from health care rationing and food and water removal. They have provided resources and support to over 1000 families and have been directly involved in hundreds of cases helping to protect persons who are at risk of being euthanized. Between Suzanne and her brother Bobby, they have spoken in 44 states, at 29 universities, colleges, and medical schools and in 9 countries abroad which includes addressing members of Parliament in Canada and Australia. A cornerstone of Terri's Life & Hope Network is to provide education regarding what is now becoming common in our society - death by dehydration and starvation. The Schindler family also authored the book A Life That Matters (2006) which chronicles their decade long battle to care for Terri.
The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network was the 2009-2010 recipient of the Gerard Health Life Prizes Award which recognized the crucial work that this foundation is doing to protect and advocate for the most vulnerable.