John (Jack) Schneider III, 83

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:55pm

John (Jack) Schneider III, 83, died Saturday Nov. 16, 2013 at Vassar Brothers Hospital, Poughkeepsie, New York, after a brief illness. Jack was born on June 11, 1930 in Mount Kisco N.Y., to John Schneider Sr. and Helen (Ruger) Schneider. He graduated from Mt. Kisco High School in 1949. Jack served in The United States Air Force from 1951 to 1954, attaining the rank of sergeant, and was stationed at Saint Johns, Newfoundland, where he was a Radio Communications specialist. On Sept. 25, 1966, Jack married Sheila Nichols (Morrison) at Brookfield, Conn. They lived in Katonah, N.Y., for 34 years before moving to Lagrangeville in 2002, where his aviation business was established.

They also purchased a second home on Block Island in 1981 and spent much of their time there in recent years. Aviation was Jack’s lifelong passion, ever since he first flew a Piper Cub in 1947. He had flown his Beechcraft Bonanza just a few days before his death. After retiring from Schneider Air Service, he spent time in his hanger working on his Bonanza and an occasional trim job.

He was a one-man institution on Block Island where he did every kind of task at the airport, while Sheila checked in passengers at the New England Air counter. He was always ready to take off for a “fly in” or to help someone deliver or pick up an airplane... any excuse to get in the air. He was also known for his Dynamic Propeller Balancing — a method to ensure smooth flight for small airplanes. Also an accomplished musician, many will recall “The Crop Dusters,” Jack’s square dance band that toured Westchester County and Connecticut for more than 30 years. Jack was the very definition of a “youthful octogenarian” and Mr. Fix-It.

Jack was a member of the American Legion Post 36 on Block Island, American Bonanza Society, a Vice President of the Northeast Bonanza Group, Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association, Musicians Union, and felt most privileged to be a member of the Quiet Birdmen, a flying organization dating back to Lindbergh days. He had also served as a volunteer pilot for AirLifeLine, a program providing no cost air transport for people with acute medical needs and limited resources.

Survivors include his loving wife of 47 years, Sheila; sons Robert J. Schneider and wife Susan of Cooperstown, N.Y., Mark W. Nichols and wife Susan of New Fairfield, Conn., and John R. Schneider and wife Elvira of Los Angeles, Calif.; seven grandchildren, Brian, Erica and Travis Nichols, Philip Schneider, Leah Castle, Chasen and Karis Schneider, and nieces Justine and Skye. His former wife, Shirley Conklin, also survives.

John was preceded in death by a son, John Michael Schneider, and a sister, Cynthia Schneider Andersen.

Visitation will be Saturday, Nov. 23 from noon to 2 p.m. at Allen Funeral Home, 3270 Franklin Ave., Millbrook, followed by a memorial service. There will be refreshments and reminiscences at The Tailwinds Café, Sky Acres Airport, Lagrangeville, N.Y., afterward. A graveside service with interment will be held on Block Island in the spring.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Union Vale Rescue Squad, Verbank, N.Y. 12585; the Block Island Rescue Squad, Block Island, R.I. 02807; Angel Flight NE, 492 Sutton St., North Andover, Mass., 01845 or any charity of choice.

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