Bob was born in Medford, Wisconsin, the fifth child of European immigrants, William and Martha (Ziedrich) Schneider. His family had Schneider & Sons, one of the largest dairies in the state at the time.
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The winter following his high school graduation, Bob worked at a Brewery, loading cases of beer on a train. At 39*F, the bottles would burst, soaking the crew. At the end of a cold and miserable shift, he decided he had had enough of the cold and headed west. Bob landed in Oregon as a logger and then teamed with his brother, Martin, to establish their own sawmill at Myrtle Creek on the North Umpqua River.
Enlisting in the U.S. Army, Bob served as an Air Corp supply clerk in England and took the opportunity to explore several countries. His love for the combustion engine began in his teens with the purchase of a Model A Ford for $10 and thus his lifetime connection with the automotive service industry. The first Bob's Shell Service Station was in Bend, Oregon.
In the early 60's, Bob was the single father of three young children, Lyn (Marilyn 1955), Rob (Robert M. 1956) and Lori (Gloria 1957).
Determined to make a fresh start, he took his small family and headed to Washington where he purchased 5 Corners Shell in Burien. During the winter of 1962, a bent wheel and a coupon book brought Miss Lorettamae Garber and her '62 T-Bird to the station for repairs. Little did she know that coupon would not only get her care fixed, but a husband, three kids, and a dog to boot. In return she became the best mother any kids could hope to have and gave us her family, who opened their arms and hearts to welcome all in and graft them firmly onto the Garber Family Tree. Bob also promptly re-named her Laurie. (That's where Big Laurie/Little Lori came from.)
Bob and Laurie were married at Bethel Lutheran Church in Burien on November 22, 1963. They relocated the business (Dad's reputation as a skilled and trustworthy mechanic had increased his clientele to the point they needed additional service bays) to the Normandy Park area south of Burien and had Normandy Shell until 1973. Laurie and Bob were true partners in all ways. Bob created a highly trained team of men who worked for them for years and Laurie kept the books. No one's birthday or anniversary went by unmentioned, whether it be an employee or a loyal customer. Many of those men and their families remain cherished friends to this day.
In April, they switched gears, leaving gas pumps and mechanic bays behind to head north where they opened Lobo Auto Parts, the NAPA store in Burlington, where they worked side by side until they retired in 1996. Dick Aldrich of Dick's Auto Repair was their first customer.
Bob lost his courageous battle with leukemia at his home on April 17, 2013, with his beloved wife and his heartbroken youngest at his side. Our many thanks go to the medical teams at both Skagit Valley Hospital and Hospice NW, and the First Responders of Burlington Fire District 6. We are grateful for the prayers and support of many friends, family, and neighbors. We appreciate the respect shown with the lighting of the Burlington Cross in his honor.
They traveled extensively from Alaska to Florida, usually with their beloved Norwegian Elkhounds with them. Bob loved to garden and grew enough vegetables for the neighborhood and undoubtedly cultivated the first kiwi vines in Skagit County. He took great pride in tending their home and vehicles. His 1950 Jeepster took ¡ÈBest Date Car¡É at the Moose show last year. Bob was always willing to pitch in to help friends and family when he could. He grew to love Mariner's baseball and will be remembered for his caustic wit and sharp mind. He would state with pride that he "never worked a day in his life." If you love what you do, it's never a job.
Bob was a member of both American Legion Post 91 and Elks Lodge 1604, and was a past member of the Washington Automotive Wholesalers Association.
Bob was predeceased by his parents, son Rob, son-in-law, Rick Olson, sister Helen (Norman) Wallace, brother Martin (Dutchie), brothers-in-law Ron Mack, Howard Garber and Ken Garber, and sister-in-law Helen Schneider.
Bob leaves behind the love of his life, wife Laurie of Burlington; daughters Lyn Olson and Lori Kyle, both of Mount Vernon; grandchildren Clancy Kyle of Sedro-Woolley, Missy TSg (Mike MSg) Sims-USAF McChord AFB, Aron Schneider of Seattle, and Rachel (Patrick) Havel of Anacortes; great-grandchildren, Courtney, Alexander, Eli, Preston, and Carmen; sister Ann Mack of Boulder, brother Alvin of Florida, and sister-in-law, Ardith Garber of Federal Way. Extended family includes special nephews Brian and Kirk Garber, both of Federal Way.
Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on April 27, 2013 at Hulbush Funeral Home, Burlington, followed by a reception at the Burlington Community Center, Greenleaf Avenue. Viewing will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. prior to the service.
Graveside service will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, April 29, 2013 at Burlington Cemetery.
Memorials are suggested to the Skagit Valley Humane Society, 18841 Kelleher Road, Burlington, WA 98233 or your local Fire Department.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on Apr. 23, 2013
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