James Michael (Jim) Schneider, age 84, of Whitelaw, died on December 30, 2022 at Aurora Bay Care in Two Rivers following a sudden heart attack that morning. He was born September 7, 1938, son of the late William and Lena (Weins) Schneider.
Jim was a 1956 graduate of Brillion High School. On July 31, 1956, he enlisted in the United States Army and served his country in the 7th Division, 707th Ordnance Battalion in Korea. He completed his overseas tour on December 20, 1957 and was honorably discharged on April 30, 1962 after having served in the US Army Corps Reserve 832nd Ordnance Battalion. Following his active duty, he purchased the family homestead west of Brillion from his father in 1959. While farming, he met the love of his life, Patricia Propson at the Brillion Coop and they were married on May 16, 1962. Pat passed away on February 12 of this year, just short of their 60th wedding anniversary.
Jim and Pat farmed together on the homestead until selling the majority of the farm to the Wisconsin DNR for a wildlife preserve in 1974. He then sought land as “high as possible” far away from the red clay swamps of Brillion in Reif Mills, Wisconsin. He and Pat farmed together until he retired from farming in 1998 and sold the farm to his son and daughter-in-law, Stu and Lucia. Jim then started a second career at Miller Implement in St. Nazianz, a job he greatly enjoyed. Earlier in his career, he supplemented farm income with winter jobs at Henry Carstens and Sons Mill, the Brillion Coop, driving milk truck for School Grove Dairy and delivering newspapers for the Lakeshore Chronicle. As a young adult, he also ran a reaper with the pea harvesting crew at the Calumet Dutch Canning Company. He also served as a town supervisor for the Town of Brillion in the late 1960’s through 1974.
When he was milking cows, he knew every cow by their name or number or both and he could tell you their entire history. When he was working at Miller Implement, he could explain every detail and every assembly note on each piece of equipment he worked on. In his garden, every row was labelled and weeded and thinned. The slightest suggestion that one of his children was low on poppyseed or horseradish, would yield quarts of either being delivered to our families. Since Mom died, he quipped about how he had so much food that he would share it with his neighbors but when he came home, he had more than he left with. He was passionate about detail, quality, and sharing life.
Jim’s passing was way too soon as he had many items remaining on his well-kept “to do” list. Over the holidays, he proclaimed that maple syrup season is only six weeks away and that he would be working on getting ready right after the first of the year. He was also sharing how all of the tractors at the farm were in good shape and that he was thinking about beginning a new tractor project next summer. He was passionate about tractors and maple syrup.
When he had time, Jim loved a good game of sheepshead. He was a strong competitor and ardent post-game analyst of every play and move. His children took great pride when on occasion they won against the master – to which he would reply – “I just had bad cards today.” He loved playing sheepshead in tournaments and participated many times in the state tournaments and placed at a highly competitive level. He had many bragging rights to table winnings at the tournaments. Over Christmas, he participated in games that his children and grandchildren devised and was always the life of the party. He was passionate about spending time with people.
Jim, our dad, our grandfather, our friend; was passionate about working hard, about playing hard, about doing things the right way, about being faithful and in those passions he exercised phenomenal patience, faith and kindness – at all times and in all ways. He always had a witty comeback, a joke or a tidbit of trivia to share.
One of his friends sent this note after his passing: “Pope Benedict, Barbara Walters and Jim all departed this earth within a day. When they got up to the pearly gates, they would not open. So, the Pope said a prayer but nothing happened. Then, Barbara interviewed St. Peter and asked who made the gates and who is responsible for maintenance but St. Peter couldn’t say. So, Jim looked over the gates [told a few jokes] and took a wrench out of his pocket from the night before and had the gates working in two minutes. St. Peter said to Jim, ‘come on in, you’re a keeper!’”
Jim is survived by his children Steven (Kaye) Schneider and Stuart (Lucia) Schneider and grandchildren Rachel, Michael, Maria and Gabriella Schneider.
He is further survived by his siblings Roger (Bette) Schneider and Mary Rose Schneider. His in-laws, Nancy Schneider, Ronald (Joanne) Propson, Vernon (Mary) Propson, and Theresa (Richard) Robach, Joseph Loderbauer and Janice Propson, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia, his siblings Jeanette (Leo) Pritzl, Clemens (Mary) Schneider, and Kenneth Schneider as well as by his in-laws Donna Mae Loderbauer, Carol Propson and Leon Propson.
A mass of Christian burial is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 5, 2023 at Holy Family Church (1100 West Ryan Street) in Brillion with Rev. James P. Neilson, O.Praem, Rev. Christian Raj, O.Praem, and Rev. Tom Pomeroy concelebrating.
Friends and family may call at St. Anne Catholic Church (202 South Packer Drive) in Francis Creek, Wisconsin from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. A parish Rosary Service will conclude the visitation at 6:00 p.m.
Visitation will continue from 9:00 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church on Thursday morning.
Military rites will be accorded by the Becker, Bloedorn, Jensen American Legion Post 126 of Brillion, and inurnment will follow the graveside service at Holy Family Parish Cemetery (W400 Hacker Drive) in Brillion.
Jim’s sons and family express their sincere gratitude to the emergency response team and hospital staff that cared for Jim last Friday morning as well as for the neighbors, friends, and family that stopped by to keep him company after Pat’s passing including what he referred to as his “Ladies Aide Meetings” at the gas station in Kellnersville.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the James and Patricia Schneider Scholarship Fund at St. Norbert College – a fund established in Jim and Pat’s memory for students from the Reedsville, Brillion and Wrightstown school districts. Jim was fond of SNC as his sons, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren graduated from SNC.
The Pielhop Wieting Funeral Homes of Brillion & Reedsville are assisting the family with funeral arrangements.