Jerry J. Schneider, age 70, of Menasha, raced his way onto Heaven’s race track on October 21, 2021, surrounded by his family and close race car friends at ThedaCare Neenah following post COVID-19 pneumonia.
Jerry was born on October 19, 1951 in Appleton, son of the late James and Mary (Thompson) Schneider. He was with Neenah High School class of 1970, and enlisted in the United States Army Reserve. Deb found Jerry on Match.com when a friend posted his profile for him. They were engaged on May 28 and married later in 2005 on October 28.
Jerry’s love for his country was demonstrated in everything he did; from flying a flag in the front yard to his red, white, and blue race car. He nobly served in the United States Army for over 20 years, both overseas and stateside. When he wasn’t wearing a racing shirt, he proudly wore his Retired Army shirts and Veteran hats. He enjoyed the camaraderie of his fellow Army Reserve friends as well as the prospect of learning and gaining more experience in his position. As a military mechanic, it didn’t matter to Jerry whether the vehicles were tracked or wheeled; there was nothing he couldn’t fix. If the machinery didn’t run, he used his knowledge, experience, and determination to successfully diagnose and repair any piece of equipment. Jerry was part of the original “Bullet Farm,” a nickname for the 395th Ordnance Company back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. That tightknit group of buddies created friendships that still exist to this day. Good times were had at Christmas parties in the Reserve Center, Summer picnics, and camping. Jerry later transferred to the 1/274/84 Training Division to finish his military career. More friendships were made and continued to this day with Jerry and Deb attending the monthly “Dine-Outs” with retired 84thmembers. Jerry truly believed in his country and dedicated his life to helping protect our freedoms. He was a true friend and patriot.
Jerry started his work career by helping his Dad, James with his Utility Construction business 1971-1975. He was then employed with Concrete Pipe Corp. 1975-1981. He later worked with the MEE and Yale Material Handling, later called Fairchild Equipment until his retirement in July of 2016. He had more than 45 years fixing forklifts. On his job application, Jerry listed his special abilities as: experienced in rebuilding engines, transmissions, differentials, and steering boxes, as well as building trailers and stock cars.
Jerry started his racing career in 1971. He helped dirt track racer Lyle Schultz for 2 years. In 1976, he built his first car, number 28, a Chevelle chassis and a Nova body and raced this for 9 years on the ¼ track Sportsman Division. In 1985, he was the Wisconsin International Raceway (WIR) Rookie of the Year in the late model ½ mile division. Deb joined Jerry in 2002 and helped Dave Stammer with the Nascar Remax Touring Series. Jerry’s most recent races were done on the ¼ mile track in the late model division at WIR and Golden Sands Speedway in Plover. This past season, he was able to score a feature win and was the highest overall finisher at the Labor Day Special at Golden Sands during his final race. Jerry enjoyed racing in this division the most, and had some of the closest friends he had in his pit crew and as his competitors.
Jerry was also instrumental in establishing the WIR Circle of Fame, after so many other tracks had this type of recognition. 3 years ago, it started with the 1st year of individuals that passed away; 2 years ago with retired drivers; and last year open to nominations; all completely funded by sponsors, racers, and friends.
When Jerry was not working on his own car, he was helping Lowell Bennett on his Slinger Car. In between racing, you could find him fishing in his retirement boat, and salmon fishing or hunting in Wittenburg with the Uttecht’s. He combined many racing and camping get-a-ways by pulling the fifth wheel and his prize Can Am Motorcycle in the toy hauler. He also enjoyed a couple of years going to Florida in February helping local racers at the New Smyrna race track, spending time with Pete Berkens in the backyard relaxing, and fixing forklifts until he entered the hospital.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Deb; their children: Chris (Heather) Amerson, Jason (Deana) Amerson, Stephani (Greg) Malliet, and Warren (Marcia) Krueger; grandchildren: TJ (Monica), Josh, Justine, Nathan (Emily), Austin, Hunter, Spencer, Ian, and Seth; great-grandchildren: Trenton, Cooper, Maddie, Liam, Gwen, Atlas, and Claire; siblings and in-laws: Mike (Cherie) Schneider, Judy Melchert; niece: MaryAnn Melchert; father-in-law and mother-in-law: Roger and Bette Schneider; other in-laws: Diane (Gary) Wickersheim, Donna (Dale) Henne, Mike (Debbie) Schneider, Roger (Dawn) Schneider, Doreen (Bob) Viking, Donna (Jerry) Springstroh, Pat Campbell, Bev (Tim) Tyson, Meta Ann (Tom) VanDenEng, Keith (Amy) Krueger, Ken (Cheryl) Krueger, Randy (Teressa) Krueger, Ami (Steve) Huss, Rich (Jan) VanDenEng, Paul (Tracie) VanDenEng; mother of some of their children: Sharon McGown; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a step-mother-in-law: Audrey Schneider, and Deb’s son, Matt Krueger.
A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 30, 2021 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Brillion. Officiating will be Father Tom Pomeroy and Deacon Greg Van Thiel. Burial will be in Holy Family Catholic Cemetery, Brillion. Military Rites will be accorded by the Becker, Bloedorn, Jensen Post #126 of Brillion. The funeral will be live streamed from the Holy Family Parish – Brillion, WI Facebook page.
Friends may call at the church on Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m. until 10:45 am.
Online condolences may be made.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the ICU staff at ThedaCare Neenah for their excellent care and compassion for Jerry and his family.
The Pielhop Wieting Funeral Homes of Brillion & Reedsville is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.