Nancy Schneider, 83, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2013. after spending Mother's Day surrounded by her loving family. She had a short illness and is now in Heaven celebrating with her husband, Bill Schneider.
Nancy is survived by her four wonderful children, Jeannie Hume, Tom Schneider, Kelly Ann Schneider and Caroline Lepore; five terrific grandchildren, Christopher Hume, Taylor Lepore, Lexi Schneider, Carlie Lepore and Julie Hume; and brother, Sam Dawson
Nancy was born in Mercy Hospital, San Diego, to Tom and Ada Marie Dawson on August 28, 1929. Nancy and her brother Sam enjoyed local activities like swimming at La Jolla Cove, visiting animals at the San Diego Zoo and making scooters out of wooden orange crates. They both graduated from San Diego High School and were always so proud to be natives, as are all of their children and grandchildren.
Nancy graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1951 as an Occupational Therapist. Her mother, Ada Marie Dawson, also attended WU and both pledged gamma Phi Beta sorority. In 1953, she met Bill Schneider on an airplane ride from San Diego to the Bay Area and they set a date the following weekend to go to the beach and collect shells. They married in San Diego in 1954. They continued their passion beachcombing and polishing rocks. This hobby became a business and in 1960 Schneider's Rocks and Minerals opened on Poway Road. The business thrived for 36 years and included many family trips cross country with a van full of kids while towing a travel trailer behind! The family would participate in gem and mineral shows across the United States. Their headstone reads, "Always an Adventure."
Nancy's family was her life's passion and she created many family traditions like carving jack-o'- lanterns, making cookies, attending church on Sunday, squeezing pomegranates into jelly and her ever popular Christmas letter! These traditions will continue with pride for all future generations. Many Sunday night dinners and family holidays included the Dawson family which included three boys and two girls. Nancy was always proud that she and her brother both resided in San Diego and saw each other on a regular basis.
Nancy inspired almost every person with whom she came in contact. It could be a baby learning to speak, a child interested in reading a book, a teenager working on a science project, a hobbyist learning a new trade, or lady friend needing a new recipe. Nancy volunteered as a Campfire Girl leader, Sunday school teacher, Poway Performing Art Center usher, and "rock lady" at many Poway schools teaching about rocks and minerals to students. Nancy loved "show and tell." She always put the needs of others before herself. She was a patient mother and never raised her voice, since Dad always filled that role! She always taught her children to live by the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Her kind demeanor, gentle spirit and twinkling eyes made her a wonderful lady.
When the four kids were finally out of the house and the rock shop became "by appointment only", Nancy and Bill began traveling to Baja California. Mulege was their favorite vacation spot. They loved desert scenery and were fascinated by the abundant shells and fossils on the seashore. In 2002, the entire family drove four cars to Baja California to experience "up close and personal" the gray whales in Scammon's Lagoon! Nancy narrated for four days via walkie talkie so all the family members would understand what we were seeing. To celebrate their 50th Anniversary, Bill took Nancy on his boat, the Tuna Cat, to Catalina Island. During their fun-filled weekend, they forgot to call their kids to let them know they had arrived and by nightfall the kids had called the Coast Guard only to find Bill and Nancy safely docked in Catalina!
Nancy and Bill's love of the ocean lead them to become "Friends of The Collection" at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. They were honored by Scripps by having shells named after each of them. They were also active members of the San Diego Shell Club.
Nancy had excellent penmanship and never misspelled a word. She had plenty of experience being a proofreader since her father owned his own print shop. She would always journal about every trip; writing her life story was another ongoing project. A decade ago she and her daughter printed a cookbook with favorite family recipes. Nancy was almost always given the position of Secretary for any volunteer position.
Gardening was another passion since she had a green thumb. Purple Iris bloomed each year at her home of 48 years in Poway. She also loved cactus and succulents because they reminded her of Baja California. While living at The Gateway senior apartment complex, Nancy and her fellow Gateway Gardeners created a succulent garden for all to enjoy.
A Celebration of Life honoring Nancy will be held at the Community Church of Poway, 13501 Community Road, Poway, California 92064, on Thursday May 30, 2013, at 2 pm. A dessert buffet/coffee bar will follow in the Fellowship Hall. All are welcome to join in remembering Nancy.
The family requests that any memorial gifts in honor of Nancy, are payable to "Community Church of Poway" where she was a member for 52 years.