Elaine Diserio Schroeder photo

Elaine Diserio Schroeder

Elaine Patricia Diserio Schroeder, an attorney and longtime arts and disabilities advocate, died of complications relating to COPD on June 20 at her home in Scarsdale.

Born in 1934 in Riverdale, the Bronx, to Irma Memmo Diserio and the Hon. Judge Matthew J. Diserio, she was the youngest of three born into a family of Italian immigrants who worked as tailors, lacemakers, and medical and legal professionals. Her father was a close aide to former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, having served on his campaigns and later as assistant secretary for weights and measures, deputy commissioner for the New York Department of Sanitation, and as a judge. LaGuardia was best man at her parents’ wedding.

Elaine Diserio had a sharp academic mind, completing high school two years early and studying French and history at the University of Notre Dame of Maryland beginning at age 14. She attended Fordham Law School at age 18, and was one of two women in the school. She and her female classmate were regularly challenged to demonstrate they were equally capable of learning and practicing law, her family said.

After law school, she joined Root Barrett Cohen Knapp & Smith, where she practiced trusts and estates law. She married Edmund Schroeder, also a lawyer, in 1961, and in 1968, they and their three children moved to Scarsdale, where she lived and continued to practice estate planning law as a sole practitioner until her death.

When her oldest child, Edmund Jr., was diagnosed with severe autism, Mrs. Schroeder became involved in safeguarding policies and procedures for people with intellectual disabilities, serving on the board and guardianship committee of the Arc of Westchester for many years.

Mrs. Schroeder was a longtime lover and supporter of the arts in New York State and beyond. Among her earlier law clients was Mrs. Lucie Rosen, the donor and founder of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah. This relationship grew into a more-than-half-century role in building Caramoor into one of the premier music centers in the country. Mrs. Schroeder then served on the board, including as chairperson, until 2020. She and her husband also supported and sponsored several young and emerging musicians. Her other board work included the Hoff-Barthelson Music School, New Alternatives for Children, the Westchester Community Foundation and the Scarsdale Foundation. She was also a member of the Scarsdale Board of Trustees, where she chaired the zoning board.

Mrs. Schroeder is survived by her husband of 61 years, Edmund, her children, Edmund Jr., Christopher (Alexandra) and Elizabeth (Jennifer), grandchildren Jack, Julia, Ben and Matthew, and loving nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and one great-grandniece.

The family requested contributions be made in Mrs. Schroeder’s name to either The Arc Westchester Foundation, 265 Saw Mill River Road, Hawthorne, NY 10532-1509 or Special Citizens Futures Unlimited, 1775 Grand Concourse, 8th Floor, Bronx, NY 10453.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.