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In Memory

Rev. Henry Schneider (Schneider) - Class Of 1939

Reverend Henry and Marian Schneider

September 28, 2012 12:00 am

REVEREND HENRY SCHNEIDER, beloved husband, father and grandfather, went to be with the Lord Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, at Bonaventure. He was 93 years old.

Henry was born Feb. 14, 1919, in McCook, Neb., to George and Barbara (Washenfelder) Schneider. He was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith. Henry graduated from McCook Senior High School and then attended Yankton College and Yankton College of Theology in South Dakota. He received his BA degree, Cum Laude in 1943 and his Bachelor of Theology Degree in 1944.

On June 11, 1944, Henry was united in marriage with Marian Nagel. His brother the Rev. Fred Schneider officiated. They were later blessed with two wonderful children, Joan and Gerald.

Henry was ordained into the Christian ministry by the Montana Association of German Background Congregational churches. Henry and Marian served churches in Colorado and Nebraska and Montana. Their first church was the Ebenezer Congregational Church in Sidney.

Through their years of ministry, they always worked together as a "team." With God's Blessing every church grew in number of members and in Spiritual strength. They were well-known for their duet singing throughout the years.

During World War II, Henry and another minister conducted Sunday afternoon worship services for German Prisoners of War in the prison camp at Sidney. They organized a men’s chorus that sang hymns in beautiful harmony. At Scottsbluff, Neb., he served on a committee that helped raise funds to build an indoor swimming pool at the YMCA. At both Sterling, Colo., and Scottsbluff, he was adviser to several Boy Scouts who were striving to attain "Eagle Scout" rank. In Billings, he served on the Board of Directors of Friendship House. He conducted worship services at four of the nursing homes.

In various committees, he served two years as moderator of the General Conference of Congregational Churches of America and four years on the Foreign Missions committee. He was chairman of the Executive Committee which helped negotiate the merger of the General Conference with the United Church of Christ.

In 1966 he was ordered by his physician to change careers. The responsibility of serving a church with almost 1,000 members with no assistant minister or secretary took a toll on his health. The Superintendant of Schools asked Henry to teach German at West High School, which he did for 15 years. At the same time he continued to serve as Interim and Guest Minister, in Congregational churches from Big Timber to the west, Colstrip to the east, and Hardin and Worden to the south. Also during this time, he received his Master's Degree in Education and Literature. He served as judge at many regional high school speech tournaments in Billings. He was contact person between the United Church Pension Boards and Ministerial Annuitants of the Montana-Northern Wyoming Conference of the UCC.

Henry and Marian loved their travels. One summer, after touring Israel, Jordan and Egypt, he compiled a slide picture presentation and wrote a commentary which was shown in West High School World History classes. Also in their years of travel, they visited all 50 states, Europe, The Far East, and took cruises to the Inland Passage and ports of Alaska, Mexico and the Panama Canal.

After retiring from teaching, Henry was active in the Yellowstone Retired Teachers Association and AARP serving in various offices and committees. He served three years as treasurer of Retired Teachers, one year as Vice-President and two years as President of AARP #231. Henry said that it was an honor and pleasure to work together with cooperative and enthusiastic members of these organizations.

Through the years, he translated, without compensation, many German letters that people received for recipients of relief packages sent to Germany and letters sent to Americans who had visited Germany. He translated documents for persons who were searching for their family "roots." Henry was a very gracious, gentlemanly, loving man who lived a true Christian life. He always had a kind word to say to those he encountered in his daily life. He thanked people in various venues for their good work, thoughtfulness, compassion and love they showed to their fellow man.

Henry enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, traveling, fishing and working in his backyard garden and orchard. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather, taking pride in and being blessed by his family and his grandchildren.

MARIAN ELIZABETH SCHNEIDER, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, went home to be with the lord and be reunited with Henry and son Gary, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, at Bonaventure. She was 89 years old.

Marian was born Dec. 25, 1922, in Norfolk, Neb., to Nickolas and Anna (Hoff) Nagel. She was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith. Marian graduated from Norfolk High School in 1940. In 1942 she entered nurses' training at St. Mary's College and Sacred Heart Hospital at Yankton, S.D.

While Henry and she were serving the church in Sidney, she worked in the hospital for several years as a full-time nurse. In addition to her nurse's duties, she was in charge of training the nurses' aides on the medical and surgical floors.

In all of the churches served, Marian served faithfully as organist and choir director. She organized women’s and children’s choirs and Ladies Aides. She served as president at the local and state levels and a one-year term as president of the Women’s Fellowship of the General Conference of the Congregational Churches of America at the national level.

During her marriage, Marian attended Scottsbluff Junior College, receiving her Nebraska Teaching Certificate. She had been a member of Delta Psi Omega in Drama and Delta Gamma Honor Society. She taught elementary school in Scottsbluff until moving to Billings. Here she attended Rocky Mountain College, receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1964. She taught for 23 years.

Marian retired from teaching in 1981. She then became active in six different organizations: 1. American University Women’s Association 2. American Business Women's Association (served as president and selected as "Woman of the Year" for her achievements in business, education, community activities and participation in ABWA 3. Retired Teachers Association (served as president) 4. AARP Chapter 231 (served as president and the chairman of the membership committee). Membership increased from 50 members to 100 members in the first year she served. Later it increased to over 200 members. 5. Local Coordinator of AARP for several years. Chairperson of the Advisory Committee at the state level 6. Senior Advisory Board for the Deaconess Hospital for 13 years. She was a member of the Deaconess Hospital Senior Life Partners Advisory Board for 20 years.

Marian loved her family, grandchildren, church, traveling, music, entertaining and Bible Study Fellowship. She was provided with a God-given gift to counsel others in need and help them find peace and comfort in their lives. Marian was known for her outgoing personality and humor.

Henry and Marian are survived by a daughter, Joan Duncan (Marvin) of Billings; a granddaughter, Jennifer Johnson (Edward) of Great Falls; grandsons Nick and Kyle Schneider of Billings; daughter-in-law Linda Nelson (Tim) of Billings; Henry’s sister, Esther Schneider of Vulcan, Alberta, Canada, and brother Edwin Schneider (Paula) of Portland, Ore.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

His son, Gary, and five brothers preceded him in death. Marian was preceded in death by her son, three sisters and one brother.

The family thanks Aspen Meadows Assisted Living staff who met their needs for two years. We thank Bonaventure Resident Care Coordinators Jaime Ness and Julie Brown and their staff for the loving care they gave Mom and Dad during their time there, especially during the last 11 months when they were bed-bound. They all became part of Mom and Dad's family. We also thank Rocky Mountain Hospice for the additional quality of life and good care given over a period of many months and for making their final days peaceful. Special thanks to RN Case Managers Kathy Major RN, her cat Magic, and Phyllis Larsen, Terese Buckley - Social Services, and Dad and Mom's CNAs Linda Gerondale and Crista Salveson, and all other Hospice staff and volunteers. Thank you to Pastor Steven Gordon, who visited folks at least once a month for four years, Pastor Ken Crouch for visitations and Pastor Carlos Ramahlo for his visitations to Mom and Dad and coming to see her every day after Dad's passing until the day the Lord called her home.

Visitations at Smith’s Downtown Funeral Chapel will be from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. The funeral service will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Pilgrim Congregational Church. There will be NO RECEPTION following the service. Interment will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Memorials are suggested to Pilgrim Congregational Church in lieu of flowers. Address, 409 S. 36th St., Billings, MT 59101.