Ernest Schneider, Jr.
Teacher, Counselor

By Cicely Wedgeworth

Ernest J. Schneider Jr. of Bellmore, a teacher, and guidance counselor for 50 years in the Bellmore-Merrick school system, died Sept. 12, 1999 at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola after a long illness. He was 85.

"Everyone loved my father," said his daughter, Patricia Schneider, of Bellmore. "He was a very caring individual, a wonderful educator and a great motivator." As a result of his long tenure as an educator, she said, her father "knew everyone" in the community. "He would go to King Kullen supermarket and he would meet three generations of his pupils."

He was born June 11, 1914, to Irene and Ernest Schneider, owners of Schneider & Son, a grocery store established by his grandparents that was the oldest business in Bellmore, Patricia Schneider said.

Schneider graduated from South Side High School in Rockville Centre, and earned his bachelor's degree at St. John's University. His first job was teaching general science and history at W.C. Mepham High School in Bellmore.

In 1941, Schneider took a leave from teaching to serve in the US. Army's medical administration corps. He had reached the rank of first lieutenant when his term of service ended in 1947.

After returning from the Army, Schneider went back to teaching and earned a master's degree in education from St. John's University on the side. After earning his degree, Schneider continued his studies at New York University. During his years in the Bellmore-Merrick school district, Schneider was a teacher, guidance counselor, and director of guidance counseling. When he retired at the age of 70, he was a guidance counselor at Brookside Junior High School in Merrick.

In addition to teaching, Schneider was a member of the Bellmore Fire Department for 63 years. As its former chief, he was an officer of the Sixth Battalion Chiefs, and was also secretary-treasurer of the Bellmore Hose Co.

Schneider was also very involved in St. Barnabas Church, where his parents were the first couple to be married. He was an usher and Eucharistic minister "a regular face at 12 o'clock mass on Sundays," until this spring, his daughter said.

Schneider was also a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and a former Grand Knight of the Bellmore Council of Knights of Columbus.

In addition to his daughter, Schneider is survived by his wife, Catherine A. Schneider.
Newsday, 9/16/99

An Open Letter

by Roger Mansell

Dear Fellow Classmates,

I received a newspaper clipping today from Muriel Kerchoff Ranzette that will sadden many. On September 12th, Mr. Ernest (Ernie) Schneider, our teacher and guidance counselor for over 50 years, passed away at the age of 85. His family owned Schneider's Market at Bellmore and Beltagh Avenues.

I remember my first day at Mepham in 1953. Arriving as a fresh scrubbed 13 year old, Mr. Schneider was to become my "temporary" home room teacher. Having been preceded by four siblings, there was no way to melt into the background. Mr. Schneider spotted me at once and, looking me square in the eye, said, "I expect you to do as well as your brothers and sisters... and you better!" A few days later, I changed home rooms but he considered me one of his own.

For some reason, he always seemed to be there if I stepped out of line. There seemed to be an alliance between the teachers and coaches that tracked my every move. By the end of my second year, I had garnered over 30 marks on Coach Gardiner's paddle. While quick to discipline, I also remember meeting him near Adel's Meat Market in Bellmore shortly after my acceptance to college. He went out of his way to shake my hand and congratulate me on the scholarship I was given. He made me feel ten feet tall.

I met him again at our 25th reunion in 1978. He was seated with a few other teachers including Ms Ramel and Ms. Nickerson. I went over to the table, stood in front of them and said, "Now, please be quiet. I want to say something." They all looked at me and continued talking . Again, I asked for quiet. No response. Finally, I said in a loud voice, "Shut up!"

Sudden silence. I looked over the five teachers and said, "I've waited 25 years to say that to a teacher... and it feels good!" Mr. Schneider immediately reached across the table, grabbed my tie and gave a knuckle sandwich to the top of my head.

"Now," he said, "THAT feels good! Mansell, you are still a kid to us and don't ever forget it!" I joined them for a drink and spent one of the most pleasant hours of the reunion. I will miss him.

For those who wish to honor him, please send a donation in his name to: St. Barnabas Outreach 2320 Bedford Ave Bellmore NY 11710

He is survived by his wife Catherine A. Schneider and daughter, Patricia Schneider, both of Bellmore.