Richard C. “Dick” Schneider, 84, a retired University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point art professor who designed the outdoor mural on the Trainer Natural Resources Building at UWSP, died Friday, April 25, 2014.
A celebration of his life will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Stevens Point.
Visitation will be at the church from 5 p.m. Sunday until the service.
The family requests that donations be made to the Schneider Family Fund at the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin, in support of the arts and education, at PO Box 968, Stevens Point, WI 54481.
Boston Funeral Home assisted with arrangements. Condolences may be offered online at www.bostonfuneralhome.net.
Mr. Schneider was born Oct. 14, 1929, to immigrant German parents, Oskar and Hilda (Schuetz) Schneider, the youngest of five children. He attended public schools in Kenosha.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Milwaukee State Teachers College (now UW-Milwaukee), a Master of Arts degree from UW-Madison and a Master of Fine Arts degree from UW-Milwaukee.
He served in the United States Army.
Following his discharge from the Army, he began his teaching career in Antigo, followed by several years in Racine.
He was married to Myrna Hagen March 27, 1951. She died March 25, 2006.
In 1962, he and his family moved to Stevens Point after he accepted a position as assistant professor of art at Wisconsin State College-Stevens Point (now UWSP). He was elected to terms as chairman of the Faculty Senate in 1968 and 1970.
In 1975, he began research and development of the outdoor mural on the Trainer Building, which houses the UWSP College of Natural Resources. One of the several unique aspects of this project is that all of the quarter-million ceramic tiles were hand-decorated and placed by volunteers, which took several years. The mural, funded entirely by private contributions, was dedicated in 1982.
As a result of a portion of his study for his Master of Fine Arts degree, Mr. Schneider became familiar with and practiced in many Native American crafts. This resulted in what was possibly the first college-level studio class, in which students learned many Indian crafts. He also wrote and illustrated several books, including “Crafts of the North American Indians” and “Building a Birchbark Canoe,” which remain in print today.
He wrote a purely fictional and whimsical book, “The Minocki of the Lakeland Region,” about tiny creatures of the Northwoods, the Minocki of Wisconsin, which also remains in print.
He retired from full-time teaching in 1988 but continued to teach workshops, as well as producing ceramics, including the series of commemorative breastplates, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Women,” and ceramic horns.
Fulfilling a long-held wish, the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra performed a specially commissioned work for ceramic horn and chamber orchestra, “Curiosities,” in February 2006.
Retirement permitted him to devote more time at the pottery shop he and his wife established outside Minocqua in the mid-1970s. After she died, he continued his potting activities in both Minocqua and Stevens Point, and was joined in the business by his daughter, Lora, in 2001.
He was looking forward to spending summer again in Minocqua, and had already begun planning for the 44th annual Backyard Pottery Sale at his home in Stevens Point on Mother’s Day weekend and the annual migration north at the end of May. In his memory and honor, the Backyard Sale will be held as planned.
Survivors include one daughter, Lora Hagen, Bancroft; one son, Fritz, Maryland; and one granddaughter, Margaret, Maryland.
He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Edith Piehl and Lillian Breitenwischer; and two brothers, Paul and Frederick.