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Compiled by Robin Jovanovich
Richard H. Schneider, a resident of Rye for 36 years, died on January 29, 2016 after a short illness.
Mr. Schneider (better known as “Dick”) was born in Chicago, on March 9, 1922. He grew up in the suburb of Oak Park, along with his two brothers, Herb and Donald.
In 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the European Theater of Operations. Most notably, he was stationed in a small village in Belgium throughout the duration of the Battle of the Bulge.
Once the victory in Europe was announced, Mr. Schneider was placed on a ship with other troops destined for the Pacific Theater. It was only a few hours before they reached the Panama Canal (the point of no return) when they heard that Japan had surrendered and that they would be turning around and heading to New York for the end of their service.
After the war he married Betty Renfro (also from Illinois) and returned to the Chicago area where he began work for the Walgreens drug store chain in their corporate offices. By the early 1960s he had risen to the position of Director of Public Relations for the chain.
The couple had two children – Peter in 1957 and Christopher in 1959.
In 1969, after 23 years with Walgreens, Schneider accepted a job as Senior Editor with Guideposts magazine in New York City. (Guideposts was founded and managed by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.) He and his family moved to suburban New Jersey at that point.
In 1976, the Schneiders moved to Lincoln, Va., where they oversaw the running of Chosen Books, a publisher specializing in inspirational titles. It was jointly owned by the Schneiders, John and Elizabeth Sherrill, and Catherine Marshall (widow of Dr. Peter Marshall).
In 1980 Mr. Schneider was asked to return to Guideposts as Executive Editor. It was at this point he and his wife moved to Rye. Schneider worked at Guideposts full time from 1980 up until 2005, when he retired at the age of 83.
During his years in Rye, Schneider wrote and published more than 30 books. These included both adult non-fiction and children’s titles. His large-format illustrated book on the Statue of Liberty (“Freedom’s Holy Light,” Thomas Nelson, 1985) was the first book to feature an Introduction written by a sitting President (Ronald Reagan). He also served as a co-author to several notable people, including Leon Jaworski, the Watergate prosecutor (“Crossroads,” D.C. Cook; 1981); Harold Hughes, former Governor of Iowa (“The Man from Ida Grove,” Chosen Books, 1979); and Max Cleland, former Senator and Director of Veterans Affairs (“Strong at the Broken Places,” Chosen Books, 1980).
Most notable among his children’s books is “Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect” (illustrated by Elizabeth Miles, Abingdon Press, 1988). This title has remained in print to the present day and has sold over 100,000 copies. (The Amazon reviews will bear witness to the long sales history.)
In 2002 Schneider published “TAPS: Notes from a Nation’s Heart” (William Morrow; 2002), a warm-hearted telling of how this wistful bugle cry came to be and the role it has played in our nation’s history. “Stars and Stripes Forever: The History, Stories, and Memories of Our American Flag” followed in 2003 (William Morrow).
For many years, Mr. Schneider was also a regular contributor to The Rye Record, sharing his thoughts on faith and family. When he was not in the office writing books and articles or on the road, interviewing personages such as Jimmy Stewart and Mike Wallace, Mr. Schneider enjoyed sailing his 27-foot sailboat on the Long Island Sound – he kept the Blue Belle berthed in Rye Harbor, until he sold it just before he and his wife moved to The Osborn. Each summer would find the Schneiders and their sons, daughters-in-laws, and grandchildren in the Massachusetts village of Rockport, at the tip of Cape Ann. They loved the wild, rocky shoreline there as well as the adjoining old fishing town of Gloucester. They first visited the area in 1955 (making the long trip from Chicago) and they never missed a summer visit during the intervening sixty years. Rockport will stay a fixture in the lives of their children and grandchildren for decades to come.
In 2009 the Schneiders moved from their home on Oakwood Avenue to an apartment within The Osborn senior residence.
Betty Schneider died on July 11, 2014 after a short illness.
Funeral services were held for Richard Schneider on February 2 with interment at Greenwood Cemetery. Fittingly, a bugler played “Taps” from a nearby hill as he was laid to rest.
Russell Ruth, a lifelong resident of Rye, passed away January 7, 2016 with his family by his side. He was 68.
He was born on September 7, 1947 to Ethel and Joseph Martello of Rye. At Rye High School he was on the Swim team and was an award-winning diver. He worked as a security guard at American Yacht Club.
His family said, “Russ was comical, adventurous, and highly intelligent. There was never a question that he couldn’t answer. We called him ‘Google.’ He enjoyed watching ‘Jeopardy’ and doing crossword puzzles.”
His niece, Renee Drummond, said, “Our favorite spot in Rye was the seat that was closest to the kitchen at Kelly’s. We would talk for hours about all that he knew about the world and its rich history. I saw him live life ‘his way.’ I will always remember his one-liners, Florida tan, cowboy boots, Zippo lighter, and love for animals.”
In addition to his niece, Mr. Ruth is survived by his sister, Doreen Piacitelli and her husband Billy of Rye; his nephews, Jessup Lopez of Rye and Cole Finocchio of Rye Brook; and his former wife, Emilia Tropeano.
A service was held at Graham Funeral Home January 12.
Patricia Fendler Faunce passed away due to a stroke on January 25, 2016. She was 85.
Born to Donald C. and Ruth Ryan Fendler of Rye on March 24, 1930, she grew up in Rye and attended Westbrook Junior College in Portland, Me.
She was Supervisor of Admissions at Thayer Hospital in Waterville, Me., before moving to Florida.
As a resident and member of the Indian River Club in Vero Beach, Florida, Mrs. Faunce was an avid golfer and participator in club activities. She was a Hospice volunteer, giving a helping hand whenever needed with a smile.
Bingo was her passion and she won often, and laughter was her specialty, said her family. “Pat lived her life to the fullest. She was a ‘people person.” She cherished her family, her friends, and her beloved Maltese, Cupcake.”
She is survived by her children, Dr. Thomas W. Tilton (Kris) of Geneva, Ill., MaryAnn Tilton of Vero Beach, and Donna Pirrotta (Joseph) of Wellington, Fla.; her grandchildren, Taryn and Tory Tilton, Zachary Ware, Carly Tanner, and Christopher Pirrotta; eight great-grandchildren; three bothers and two sisters. She was predeceased by her granddaughter, Lyndsay Pirrotta.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held January 29 at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Vero Beach. An internment will be held in Rye in the spring.
Online condolences may be shared at www.coxgiffordseawinds.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to VNA Hospice, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960, or to the charity of your choice.
Arthur S. Jefferson, known to friends and family as Jeff, passed away at home January 7, 2016 with his loving wife Beverley Underwood by his side. He was 91.
Born in Manhattan on June 1, 1924, to Richard and Alma Jefferson, the family moved to Rye when he was 2. After graduating from Harrison High School in 1942, he entered the accelerated course at New York State Maritime Academy. Upon graduation in 1943, he served in the Pacific Theater as a naval officer aboard USS Thuban AKA19. Following World War II, he attended Duke University on the GI Bill. He was the first member of his family to graduate college.
Mr. Jefferson’s love for the sea led him to a career in the Merchant Marine. He began with Farrell Lines, was promoted to Captain in 1956, and for the next 37 years he held command of freighters and container ships and sailed the world. Although he worked for several shipping lines, his years with Farrell were those that he held most dear. His career took him to Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Europe.
It was during his time in South Africa that he met and married his first wife, Catherine Marie Millson, known as Marie. They moved to Rye, where they raised their three children. After he retired in 1992, the Jeffersons moved to Sarasota, Florida. They were married for 37 years, until Marie’s death in 1995.
In 2000, Mr. Jefferson married Beverley Underwood. They resided in Sarasota and vacationed in New Zealand.
Mr. Jefferson was an avid carpenter and gardener and among his many hobbies was the ancient nautical art of scrimshaw. Later in life, he took up woodcarving, creating lifelike animals for his grandchildren and exquisite Nativity figures.
During his children’s high school and college years he was a dedicated fan, never missing the chance to cheer them on at their sporting events. Throughout his retirement, he was an active member of Siesta Key Chapel, which became his spiritual home.
In addition to his wife, Beverley Underwood, Mr. Jefferson is survived by his children, Karen (Tim) Carlisle of Rye, Brett (Catherine) Jefferson of Darien, and Janet Jefferson-Bailey of Jacksonville; and his grandchildren, Jack, Caley, and Paige Carlisle, Emma and Cole Bailey, and Tyler, Reese, and Isabelle Jefferson.
A memorial service was held on January 16 at Siesta Key Chapel in Sarasota, to which donations may be made (4615 Gleason Ave., Sarasota, Florida 34242).
James A. Jennings Jr. of Rye, died peacefully at home on January 24, 2016. He was 90 years old.
He was born to James and Elizabeth Kirwin Jennings on November 6, 1925 in Deal, N.J. During World War II, he served honorably as part of the 405th Infantry, United States Army, and received both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
After returning from Europe in 1945, he married his longtime sweetheart, Eleanor Krueger. They settled in New Rochelle, where they raised their three sons. Mr. Jennings graduated from Iona College and enjoyed a distinguished career in the family construction firm.
He was a devoted parishioner at The Church of the Resurrection in Rye, and a member of the Knights of Columbus, as well as the American Legion.
Mr. Jennings is survived by his sons, James A. Jennings III and his wife Pamela, and Mark E. Jennings and his wife Katherine; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Eleanor, his son Scott, his sister Betty, and his brother Frank.
A Requiem Mass was held January 29 at Church of the Resurrection, followed by internment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla.