Richard C. Schneider passed away peacefully in his sleep Friday, April 25.
He was born in 1929 to immigrant German parents, Oskar and Hilda (Schuetz). He was the youngest of five siblings, Edith (Piehl), Paul, Frederick, and Lillian (Breitenwischer), all of whom preceded him in death. He and his beloved wife of 55 years, Myrna, had two children, Lora (Hagen); and Fritz, of Maryland. He is survived by both children and a granddaughter, Margaret, also of Maryland.
Dick attended public schools in Kenosha. His education was completed with a Bachelor of Arts from Milwaukee State Teachers College, a Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition, he served in the United States Army.
Following his discharge from the Army, he began his teaching career in Antigo, followed by several years in Racine. In 1962, he and his family moved to Stevens Point, where he accepted a position as assistant professor of art at Wisconsin State College (now UW-SP). He was elected to terms as Chairman of the Faculty in 1968-70.
In 1975, he began research and development of the outdoor mural on the Trainer Natural Resources Building, which houses the UW-SP College of Natural Resources. One of the several unique aspects of this project is that all of the quarter-million ceramic tiles were hand-decorated and placed by volunteers, which took several years. The mural, funded entirely by private contributions, was dedicated in 1982.
As a result of a portion of his study for his MFA, Dick became familiar with and practiced in many Native American crafts. This resulted in what was probably the first college-level studio class, in which students learned many Indian crafts. Dick also wrote and illustrated several books, including Crafts of the North American Indians and Building a Birchbark Canoe, which remain in print today.
He invented and wrote a purely fictional and whimsical book, The Minocki of the Lakeland Region, about tiny creatures of the Northwoods, the Minocki of Wisconsin, which also remains in print.
He retired from full-time teaching in 1988, but continued to teach workshops, as well as producing ceramics, including the series of commemorative breastplates, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Women,” and ceramic horns. Fulfilling a long-held wish, the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra performed a specially commissioned work for ceramic horn and chamber orchestra, “Curiosities,” in February, 2006. Retirement permitted him to devote more time at the pottery shop he and Myrna established outside Minocqua in the mid-1970s. Myrna died in 2006, but he continued his potting activities in both Minocqua and Stevens Point, and was joined in the business by his daughter, Lora, in 2001.
Dick was looking forward to a pleasant and fruitful summer in Minocqua, and had already begun planning for the 44th annual Backyard Pottery Sale at his home in Stevens Point (Mother’s Day weekend), and the annual migration north at the end of May. In memory and honor of Dick, the Backyard Sale will be held as planned.
A Celebration of Dick’s Life will be held at St Paul’s United Methodist Church in Stevens Point at 6 p.m., Sunday, May 4. A time of visitation will precede from 5 p.m. until time of service.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Schneider Family Fund at the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin, in support of the arts and education.
Online Condolences may be made at www.bostonfuneralhome.net.