NORTH GEORGETOWN - Verna "Jean" Schneider, 82, peacefully passed into the arms of Jesus at 6:35 a.m. Friday, June 20, surrounded by her four adult children at her home in North Georgetown.
She was born Nov. 13, 1931, near Newark, Ohio, as the fourth of the first five children of the late Elwin A. and Hazel (Haas) Hawk. As a depression era baby, she spent her early childhood years between Newark and Canton, Ohio, with her Grandma Haas or Aunt Rhoda Hawk, while her parents both worked to support the growing family. They later moved to a farm in New Alexander, where she attended Bunker Hill School and graduated from Minerva High's Class of 1948 at the age of 16. She then helped care for the additional younger seven siblings that had arrived for an even dozen in the large Hawk clan.
Jean also worked for her father at Hawk Laboratories until her marriage to Donald Schneider, on July 8, 1951, in North Georgetown. They lived in the Schneider family home at Quarry Hill Farm for over 60 years of married life and were very active as members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church.
While raising her own four children, Jean was a charter member of the Lakeside Mothers Club of Ohio Child Conservation League. She spent every summer vacation with her family, tent camping while visiting much of the USA, including a seven-week camping trip to Alaska and back in 1964. In 1967, at the age of 33, Jean began classes through Kent State University while raising her own children and also starting her career as a fifth or sixth-grade teacher at the Knox and Damascus Elementary buildings in West Branch Schools. She finally graduated with the honor cum laude on her degree of bachelor of science in education (1972). At the age of 56 she earned her master's of arts in education with honors at the College of Mount Saint Joseph on the Ohio (1987) after which she continued classes for her master's plus 15 hours. Jean retired with 25 years as a very devoted teacher, having inspired and touched the lives of many hundreds of students in the West Branch School District.
One of Jean's greatest loves, beyond her family and teaching, was genealogy and travel. She was intrigued by the challenge of the search and solving the unknowns. As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and several historical and genealogy societies, she became a local expert, always willing to help others in their family research.
Jean and her husband, Don, spent most of the past 30 years and retirement traveling all 50 states and much of the world, often including research and visits with distant family relatives they had found.
Jean strongly believed and encouraged self-motivation and individual responsibility in her family and students alike. Her philosophy "Be self-sufficient in any given situation and recycle, re-use, re-make" earned her the loving title as the family's "Frugal Queen" which she found endearing.
She was preceded in death in March 2012 by her husband, Donald R. Schneider, by her parents, a brother, E.A. Hawk Jr.; and three sisters, Wanda Pandin, Frances Woolf and Bonnie Runk.
She is survived and will be sadly missed by three daughters, Verna Kay (Zane) Ziegler and Barbara (Larry) Bratton of North Georgetown; Lori Schneider of Cleveland; and one son, Fredrick (Margaret) Schneider of Piqua, Ohio. She has four grandchildren, Melinda Bratton and Bridget (Bill) Kale of North Georgetown; Ryan (Ruth) Ziegler of Lynchburg, Va.; and Scott (Darcy) Ziegler of Denver, Colo. There are nine great-grandchildren, Brandon, Bradley, Maria, Justin, Sofia, Benjamin, Briana, Julian, and Adrian.
Her surviving siblings are Jack Hawk, Jim Hawk, Chuck Hawk, Tom Hawk, Sam Hawk, Ted Hawk, and Ann (Dave) Merker, as well as numerous brothers-in law and sisters-in-law, almost 50 nieces and nephews, and well over 100 great and great-great nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 28, at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in North Georgetown officiated by Pastor Jo Dietz.
Calling hours will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, June 27, at the Stark Memorial Funeral Home in Salem and informal calling hours are Saturday, June 28, one hour before the funeral service at the church. Burial will follow at the North Georgetown Cemetery.
The family suggests donations to the Emmanuel Lutheran Church, P. O. Box 2, North Georgetown, Ohio 44665 Alliance Visiting Nurses and Hospice, 855 S. Sawburg Road, Alliance, Ohio 44601; or the Cleveland Hope Lodge (of the American Cancer Society), 11432 Mayfield Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.
Jean's obituary may be viewed and condolences sent online at www.starkmemorial.com.