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Richard F. Schneller passed away February 5, 2013 at his home in Palm Desert, CA. He was 90 years old. Schneller was born in New York City, the son of Julius and Helen Efros Schneller. His only sibling, Marjorie, died in 2007. He spent his first 13 years in Plainfield, NJ. The family moved to Essex, CT in 1935 where his parents relocated The Verplex Company, manufacturers of lampshades. Schneller graduated from Mount Hermon School and Yale University with a B.S. degree. During World War II he served with the Amphibious Forces of the U.S Navy, participating in several, major South Pacific D-day Island Invasions. His wife of 56 years, Nancy Suisman Schneller, predeceased him in 2002. He leaves his loving wife, of recent marriage, Mary Patricia (Conley) Schneller; three daughters, Deborah Pepper of Amsterdam, Holland; Dr. Juliet VanEenwyk of Olympia WA; Marie Palmer of Charlton, MA, three sons-in-law; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Following his military discharge, Schneller went into the family business, becoming President in 1952. In addition to lampshades, the company added decorative home lighting and wire merchandising display racks, as well as factory locations in Scranton, PA and Pasadena, CA. The company was bought by U.S. Industries in 1970. During his daughter's early years the family enjoyed sailing and skiing. Richard and Nancy were members of the Old Lyme Country Club, Tumble Brook Country Club and Charter Members of The Old Saybrook Racquet Club. Schneller served as Chairman of the Essex Democratic Town Committee, 1971-1978, was a member of the Essex Board of Finance, past member and chairman of the Regional District # 4 Board of Education, Trustee of the University of Connecticut, 1958-1965, and a former trustee of the Connecticut Conservation Association, Middlesex Hospital, Connecticut College, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Mount St. John's School and the Middlesex County Y.M.C.A. He served as the public member from Connecticut on the Executive Committee of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. He was the Charter President of the Essex Rotary Club and Founding Treasurer of the Essex Community Fund. Schneller also served on the Board of the Goodspeed Opera House since 1973 during which he filled terms as President and Chairman. Currently he is an Honorary Life Trustee of the Goodspeed as well as a Trustee Emeritus of Connecticut College. The former Senate Majority Leader served five terms in the Connecticut State Senate from 1975 to 1984 representing Connecticut's 20th Senatorial District. During his Senate tenure he served successively as Senate Chairman of the Legislature's State and Urban Development Committee (1975-1976), Education Committee (1977-1978), Appropriations Committee (1979-1980), and Senate Majority Leader (1981-1984).
Funeral services will be held at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 at 2 p.m. Burial will follow in the Riverview Cemetery in Essex with Full Military Honors. Memorial contributions in his name may be sent to Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, P.O. Box 438, Chester, CT 06412 and The Goodspeed Opera House, P.O. Box A, East Haddam, CT 06423. To share a memory of Dick or to leave a condolence for his family, please visit Arrangements by the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home in Centerbrook.

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Published in Hartford Courant on Feb. 7, 2013.
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10 entries
February 14, 2013
I was so sad to learn of my political mentor's passing. It's impossible to describe Dick's incredible impact on the towns of the 20th district and the entire state of Connecticut. He was terrific, but appropriately tough when necessary, on a then young state representative from East Lyme. He took me under his wing and taught me the ropes. I had the honor to also serve two terms as state senator in what I referred to as "Senator Schneller's seat." After Dick left the senate, he didn't forget me and we fortunately kept in touch. He used to take great joy in whipping me in a rousing game of tennis on a regular basis. He would then try to soften the blow to my ego by taking me out to an always enjoyable lunch. I'll miss him greatly, but will never forget how he helped me and my career. God bless him. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Mark Powers
Mark Powers
February 11, 2013
I knew him (through my parents) for over 40 years. He was kind,funny,wise and so smart. A wonderful family friend through all kinds of 'weather'. I am so sorry.
Lynda Gilman
February 9, 2013
(cont) with his daughters and their families and Mary; Thank You Dick for everything; I hope God can help your golf game.
richard sigal
February 8, 2013
I met Dick as chairman of the committee reviewing the Town and City Development Act which I had drafted;he suggested a change at hearing at which I was testifying about its public need. I replied that the change was not necessary; he disagreed and of course deferred as everyone did when Dick asserted himself. That was the start of a wonderful friendship where we challenged each other first on the tennis courts in Old Lyme and then on the golf course. Samayla and I enjoyed many dinners with Nancy and Dick and then, of course, with Mary. I really think Dick thought Mary became part of his life because Nancy inspired it. His love for Connecticut, for the O'Neils was without reservation and that spirit that new no compromise on doing good carries on with his
February 8, 2013
I met Dick when he was serving as a trustee of Connecticut College. A statesman and leader, always kind and generous, he embodied the virtues of "nobless oblige." He also told great stories. I will never forget his eulogy for Nancy. The world is poorer without him. My sincere condolences to his family.
Claire Matthews
February 8, 2013
Philip Scheffler
February 8, 2013
My thoughts are with you all. Your father contributed so much to Essex and the state for so many years. I remember as a high school student driving him to various appearances he made around CT when he was a State Senator.

Mark Bombaci
February 8, 2013
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family? Senator Schneller was a great man and a true statesman. May he rest in peace
Bill Satti and family
February 7, 2013
I knew Dick when I was a Trinity College student intern for him during the 1979-80
Legislative session. Dick was the Senate Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He was a terrific Senator and a great person. He will be missed.
Our prayers are with the Schneller family during this difficult time.
Chuck Tiernan
February 7, 2013
Your Dad was a memorable and sweet man, as well as your Mother. I had the pleasure of caring for him in the 70's(I am an RN) and stayed in contact with your parents for awhile. Seeing his name brought back the memories. I am sorry to hear they both have passed.
He always told me if I needed anything to give him a call! It sure has been many years
Anne Darling
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