Through the life of James Lee Schneider, we are reminded that each day is a new gift to spend with those we love. He was a beloved son, brother, and grandson, but life came full circle for James when he was blessed with the son he loved more than life itself. Life was not without times of great challenge for Jimbo, as he was known by his family, but he was filled with great resolve to get things moving in the right direction. Intelligent, inquisitive, and hardworking, he was a remarkable person even if his struggles overcame him at times. Life will never be the same without Jimbo here, but his family finds comfort in knowing that he has been welcomed into his eternal home.
The eighties were a lively decade when aerobics, the camcorder and Atari became part of our vocabulary. We watched movies like Top Gun, Karate Kid, Part II, and Back to the Future while the Huxtables, the Keatons, and the Conners changed the way we looked at the American family. Nestled within this colorful decade was the year 1986 that was filled with great joy for Francis Lee “Frank” and Kelly Jo (Viater) Schneider, Jr. as they welcomed a healthy baby boy into their hearts and home on October 18 at Milwaukee County Medical Complex in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Little Jimbo was a delight to his parents right from the start, and his parents were filled with great anticipation for the future. His father was studying mechanical engineering at Milwaukee School of Engineering when Jimbo was born, and they lived near the campus in downtown Milwaukee.
For the most part Jimbo experienced a typical childhood. He was the oldest of four children in his family, raised alongside his brother, Christopher, and his sisters, Heather and Ashley. An ideal older brother, Jimbo was always looking out for his younger siblings as he would have no part of his siblings being messed around with. He was inquisitive and curious, always asking questions, and he also had the most fun-loving, giggly personality, and his smile would absolutely bring happiness to any situation.
Life was always a bustle of activity in the Schneider home. Jimbo was a fan of professional wrestling and loved wrestling with his father. He would stand on the back of the couch while declaring, “Top rope,” and jump off as though it were the top rope of the wrestling ring. The family moved several times while Jimbo was growing up, but they eventually settled in Germantown, Wisconsin.
Jimbo was a student at Amy Belle Elementary School as well as Kennedy Middle School. He continued his pursuit of wrestling through middle school, earning numerous medals and trophies. By the time he was a student at Germantown High School, Jim was no longer able to wrestle due to his asthma. He was a social butterfly whose ever-present smile was contagious to those around him. Jim was the life of the party wherever he went, yet steered clear of drama of any kind. He was also a loyal friend who highly valued his friendships. Jim was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in or to stick up for the underdog as he was all about being a peacemaker. Things came very easy to him, although he didn’t apply himself as fully to his studies as he could have.
Family was of the utmost importance to Jim, or Boo-Boo as his little cousins called him. He became very close to his Grandpa and Grandma Schneider as he spent a good amount of time with them. Jim also enjoyed hanging with his siblings. He liked kidding around with his family as he was known to tease his dad about being late, and having small muscles. His sister, Ashley, was also the recipient of his fun-loving teasing as he often quoted lines from movies. Jim made priceless memories with his entire family when they went to Casper, Wyoming, to hunt antelope when Jim was 14, and when he went deer hunting in Wisconsin with his Dad and brother.
New and exciting changes were in store for Jim when he became a father to Colton James Schneider, who is now almost four years old. Colton shares many of his father’s traits and mannerisms, and he made Jimmy so proud each and every day. The two were very close and could often be found reading books, watching movies, or gaming together. As Daddy, Jim loved being there to put Colton to bed. This past summer was a summer to remember for the entire family at the lake house on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, especially the night Jim got to spend together with all of his siblings during a meteor shower. They all smile and giggle when reminiscing about that night, while the rest of us just wonder what really happened. Jim diligently worked on teaching his son to swim while at the lake this past summer.
In his free time Jim enjoyed pursuing some of his interests. He liked playing cards, games like black jack and Texas hold ‘em. Jim also enjoyed various brain teasers. He loved playing video games, and was teaching Colton to play them as well. He enjoyed snowboarding tremendously, as evidenced by his email address, GHSSnowboarder85. It has been said that he made the best hot toasted sandwiches.
Throughout his journey Jim struggled to find his direction and didn’t always make good decisions. He got into some trouble and found himself locked up for several months. Jim emerged with a more focused attitude and a desire to get his life moving forward. He began working at the family business, FS Truck and Trailer Repair, and was becoming a lead man on second shift. Jim also enrolled in classes at UW Washington County in pursuit of an engineering degree, like his father. A drug addiction accompanied Jim for several years. During the times when he was not using he was such an extraordinary person with an amazing drive to succeed. Two weeks ago, James gave his life to Jesus, and he began attending Christian Life Church. After working all day this past Saturday with his father, and buying his father lunch, the last thing Jim said to his Dad was, “Dad, we’re going to Church tomorrow, right?”
With unending love for those who meant the most to him, James Lee Schneider made a significant impact on the hearts of those around him. He struggled at times, but he had a resilient spirit and a desire to be the best he could be. Jim’s devotion to his son was unmatched, and it was when surrounded by his family and friends that he found true happiness. He will be dearly missed while his memory is forever cherished.
James Lee Schneider died on October 14, 2013. Age 26 years. Jim’s family includes his son, Colton James Schneider; parents, Frank L. Schneider, Jr. and Kelly Schneider; siblings, Christopher, Heather, and Ashley; grandparents, Frank, Sr. and Carole Schneider and Joseph and DiAnn Viater; niece, Coralyn Grace; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, other relatives, and friends. Visitation will be held on Saturday, October 19 at Christian Life Church 2909 W Mequon Road Mequon, WI 53092 from 9:00 a.m. until time of the Funeral Service at 12:00 Noon. Arrangements provided by Suminski Family LifeStory Funeral Home, Niemann / Suminski 414-744-5156, www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com.
i am now 11