Bertie Lee Schneider

Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kenai resident Bertie Lee (Williams) Schneider passed away peacefully Dec. 9, 2010, in Soldotna. She was 81.

Memorial services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Soldotna Church of Christ.

Mrs. Schneider was born July 7, 1929, in Mounds, Okla. She spent her young life in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas where her father had a cattle ranch and a commercial farm. Mrs. Schneider always had animals to care for, horses to ride and many pets, including 27 cats.

Mrs. Schneider graduated from Mercedes High School in 1947 and married Leslie E. Schneider July 1947. This was just after World War II and finding good work was hard in south Texas, so the newlyweds moved to Ada, Okla., then on to Long Island, N.Y. Mr. Schneider flew as a navigator on PanAm's Atlantic crossings, which left Mrs. Schneider to explore New York City in the early 1950s.

They moved back to Oklahoma to begin a family and their three children were born in Tulsa. Mr. Schneider was hired by the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City, but was quickly relocated to the new state of Alaska. Mrs. Schneider and the children joined him in Alaska in 1965. They spent two years at remote Cape Yagataga, received mail once a week, groceries once a month and kept cold winters at bay by visiting neighbors, playing cards and mahjong. The next stop was two years in Yakutat, and then finally on to Kenai in 1969.

Mrs. Schneider worked for the U.S. Postal Service office in Soldotna and Kenai until her retirement in January 1988. She worked the front desk and enjoyed talking with Peninsula residents as they came in for their mail.

In her spare time, Mrs. Schneider painted landscapes in between helping her husband build their home in Kenai and raising three children. She loved going to the movies, theatre productions and live classical music. A good performance in Homer, Kenai, Soldotna or Anchorage was never too far, only a short drive away.

She loved to tell stories of her life before World War II and what life was like for her mother's family living in Oklahoma while still a territory. Like most pioneer women in Alaska, she sewed, gardened, baked, picked berries, cooked jams and jellies, and canned fish and vegetables for her family during those early years in rural Alaska. She even tried her hand at gold panning and was a part-time rock hound and amateur archeologist.

Mrs. Schneider was a life-long member of the Church of Christ.

Her family said: "Her faith and determination has inspired many, especially as her many years of illness took its toll. Bertie was a fighter! She survived many health battles over the past three decades, but through it all, always kept her eyes on the Lord."

Mrs. Schneider is survived by her three children, Paul Schneider, Stephen Schneider, and Lori Schneider, all of Anchorage; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Arrangements were by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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